A few days ago, All Star player for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George opened up about his struggles with mental health
The NBA playoffs are currently taking place in Orlando inside “The Bubble’ creating a sense of isolation away from family and friends and that sense of normality we have all learned to appreciate just a little bit more
In the extract below from an article published in SB Nation.com on August 26th, we get to understand more about his situation.
Paul George has spent the last week being the biggest punchline in the NBA. The Los Angeles Clippers forward was struggling immensely through the first four games of his team’s series with the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first player since 1960 to shoot under 25 percent from the field in three straight playoff games.
The jokes started to fly at George’s expense. The internet didn’t forget that he nicknamed himself “Playoff P” a few years back. The criticism was clearly getting to George. He posted corny memes to his Instagram account and disabled the comments. He said his knack wasn’t to score the ball. While the criticism over his play felt partially deserved as the series became tied at 2-2 on Luka Doncic’s immaculate buzzer-beater, some of it was starting to get ugly and personal.
The Clippers needed George to be the best version of himself in Game 5 on Tuesday night, and George delivered. He finished the night with 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field as Los Angeles skated to an impressive 154-111 victory. This was the player the Clippers were waiting for
After the game, George opened up on his struggles and how life in the bubble was impacting him. “The bubble got the best of me,” George said. “I was in a dark place.”
George continued to elaborate on how he was feeling post-game, talking about how the constant feedback loop was affecting his mental health while he couldn’t escape to the outside world in the bubble.
“I under estimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here …. I checked out.”
It wasn’t until he spoke with a professional, that he was able to move away from the darkness
George mentioned conversations he had with the team’s psychiatrist that played a role in his “energy” and “spirit” changing.
What this means for other pro athletes
When you read or hear about a professional athlete open up about their struggles, another professional athlete can draw inspiration and confidence knowing that opening up and talking is an option to consider and because the outcome was productive and positive, the athlete can see the positive effects of opening up
Other athletes opening up
Paul George wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last athlete to face mental health issues. Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are two other NBA players that have experienced issues and there are countless footballers (soccer players) that have also struggled with mental health)
If you know of an athlete or you are an athlete struggling to deal with the pressures and experiences professional sports bestow upon you, the message is clear – SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL.
Not only do you remove those negative feelings and emotions, but your performance increases almost immediately.