Salinas, who started cutting hair on his grandma's porch at the age of 15, is one of just six barbers invited into the exclusive NBA bubble to give fresh cuts to players.
Salinas spoke to KQED News from Orlando on the day his week-long quarantine ended. Having just signed a contract, he was careful not to name anybody, including the NBA player who was responsible for getting invited into the bubble in the first place.
Below are highlights from the interview.
On the haircut that brought him here
I’ve been living in East Palo Alto all my life. I had moved to LA (last September) just because I wanted to give myself a shot and give myself more chances for opportunity. Then about a month and a half, almost two months, later I ended up cutting (the hair of) an NBA player’s brother, who I didn't know was his brother. … A couple days later, I was cutting the NBA player.
On quarantining for 7 days far from home
I’m super busy. I’m always ripping and running around here and there cutting hair all day. So I’m so used to activity and action. … To come here and being so close to getting out there and cutting hair, I feel like it was more of like a test to see if I could follow instructions, to see if I could, for one, have the patience, you know? Gotta stay down for the come up. That’s what I always say. I have to chill. I actually used the time for journaling, because I’m feeling so many emotions, and for writing music and talking to friends. ... It gave me time for myself to really reflect on the last year and how I got to where I’m at and where I would want to take it still.