LOS ANGELES — Blessed with arms that telescope far beyond his 6-foot-7 frame and large hands that strike as quickly as the snakes he has adored since childhood, Robert Covington had carved out a career by being a taker.
On his way from undrafted to NBA all-defense, the forward stole passes. He ended possessions. Each deflection, each timely rotation in help defense since his arrival in the NBA in 2014 could take away confidence from opponents.
But in 2019, hurt in more ways than one after a trade from Philadelphia to Minnesota in 2018, Covington believed he was giving away too much — from energy to his family and his friends and attention to the negativity Covington says is the curse that comes with the money and the fame of professional basketball.