NBA Mental Health

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We live in an age where the topic of mental health is widely discussed. NBA players are now more willing to open up about their struggles with mental health. But as fans, we make that battle with mental health more difficult for players. With social media, everyone has a platform to say whatever they want about a player. It doesn’t matter whether what they have to say is positive or negative. As a matter of fact, the more outrageous and negative you can get, the more attention will come your way on social media. Which promotes even more outrageous and negative takes. I have been guilty of this myself in the past, especially on Twitter.

As NBA fans, we can be mean spirited at times. During this past regular season, Ben Simmons revealed that he had been dealing with mental health concerns. Some people believed him. Others questioned whether he really had mental health concerns. That’s just very mean spirited. Not to mention that as fans we most likely contributed to Simmons’ mental health concerns. With the memes, jokes, and narratives about Simmons we pass around on social media. Then when Simmons decided that he wasn’t ready to suit up for Game 4 of the Nets/Celtics series, he was ridiculed even more. If a guy isn’t ready to play, he isn’t ready to play. We don’t know the extent of Simmons’ back injury or mental health.

Going back to the Nets/Celtics series, from what I’ve seen there has been a lot of talk about the Nets’ struggles in this series. But very little talk about how great the Celtics played. The reason being is that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are easy targets for fans. Am I surprised that Kevin Durant went on social media to defend himself after the playoffs? Not at all. Do I blame Kyrie Irving for giving fans the middle finger in Game 1? Nope. As a human being, you can only take so much before you have to fire back. Remember that NBA players are human beings after all. Making millions of dollars doesn’t change that.

Russell Westbrook took a lot of heat this past season. A lot of that heat came from us as fans. Lakers fans booing him at home games and fans going crazy on social media. As tough as Westbrook is, ultimately he had enough of the constant negative attention. He let us know his feelings about Lakers fans and recently he cleared all Lakers related content from his Instagram account.

We have to be better as fans. There is plenty of great basketball to talk about without tearing other players down during their struggles.

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