Paul Millsap made his instagram debut on Oct. 27, 2016. It was a full-body, first-day-of-school-esque portrait presumably snapped in his driveway before the Atlanta Hawks home opener. Sartorially speaking, there’s a lot going on: the then 31-year-old looks like he just participated in whatever the fashion equivalent to Top Chef’s Quickfire Challenge would be: Bright orange hightops, plain navy pants, and a pseudo-lumberjack flannel hoodie underneath a military pocket vest.
It was only the beginning of what anyone familiar with Millsap’s aesthetic would expect. Most of his 80 posts since have been gameday action shots, energy drink advertisements, and a few photos of his family.
Over his 14-year career, Millsap’s emotional spectrum has rivaled that of a large rock. On the court he’s been a technically precise bricklayer. Mild. Even-keeled. No-nonsense. All-business. Unsurprisingly, his social media presence reflected that public persona.
Then, right around the same time the NBA suspended its season, he learned about TikTok:
There’s been very little to smile about over the past few weeks, but our collective need to self-quarantine has created some. Millsap quite literally transforming into a dancing magician is a personal favorite. Not only is he now an active member of the TikTok experience — something that sounds completely unfathomable in and of itself — but the fact it took a mass shut in for one of the NBA’s most monotonous players to come out of his shell is kind of heartwarming.
On Sunday, Millsap sat on his couch — signature striped beanie on his head and a squirming French bulldog on his lap — and made a coin “disappear” beneath a stemless wine glass. To see Millsap pull it off is as jarring as it is joyful.
This was not the most impressive trick in the world, but for this moment in our lives it’s the absolute most perfect. In his own words, Millsap’s reason behind his left turn on social media is simple, touching, and inspirational: “Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. With a fast pace world and wanting to reach and accomplish goals sometimes we neglect to pause and just enjoy the moment. Enjoy the people and things around you. Stay safe people!”
So thank you, Millsap. And going forward, it’s this writer’s plea for you to please keep it up. The world needs unexpected blips of delight right now. This is a good start.