NBA star Rudy Gobert details how Aaron Rodgers' advice inspired him to go on darkness retreat

Rudy Gobert emulated Aaron Rodgers in doing a darkness retreat
Rudy Gobert emulated Aaron Rodgers in doing a darkness retreat

In 2023, New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers surprised sports fans by embarking on a darkness retreat at Sky Cave in Oregon. During the retreat, he completely isolated himself from the world for four days, not speaking to anyone but the keeper of the place and avoiding the use of technology.

One person who became very intrigued by this practice was French NBA center center Rudy Gobert. After being knocked out of the first round of the playoffs in his first season as a Minnesota Timberwolf last spring, he approached the multiple-time MVP about the darkness retreat and, after a short talk, booked a reservation for late May, just before France's World Cup camp began.

Speaking to ESPN about the experience on Tuesday, he said:

"It was a very powerful experience. It felt like a huge reset and also a powerful checkpoint. I had a lot of gratitude. I went back into all the things that I've experienced up to this point, and all the things that I've been through and all the great people that I have around me. I realized that I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my journey."

Comparing Aaron Rodgers' and Rudy Gobert's darkness retreats

How do these two publicized darkness retreats compare to each other?

Aaron Rodgers and Rudy Gobert spent a significant amount of time in solitude, but the period length differed for the two. The former did four days (or 96 hours), while the latter spent 64 hours, or just under three days.

While Rodgers did not explain what exactly happened at his darkness retreat, Sky Cave owner Scott Berman did offer some details to ESPN:

  • Rogers stayed in a fully-powered, partially underground 300-sq ft structure with a queen bed, bathroom, and meditative space.
  • The experience was largely self-guided, with no strict rules about remaining fully in complete darkness. If the experience eventually proved too much, Rodgers could turn on the lights in his room, walk around the surrounding forest, or leave altogether.
  • Berman checked on his guests at least once a day, in the evening, to deliver meals and engage in conversation.

Gobert's followed a similar pattern, except he would do some push-ups and squats from time to time. He also studied his room with the lights on to familiarize himself with the layout to navigate where his bed and bathroom were in the dark by feel.

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