The moment could have prompted Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George to explain a recent shooting slump with conventional reasons.
George could have contended he took quality shots that just did not drop. He could have credited the Dallas Mavericks’ swarming defenses. He could have admitted feeling additional pressure of competing in a playoff game.
Instead, George offered the real reason and brought up a sensitive topic.
"I underestimated mental health," he said. "I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Us being locked in here, I just wasn’t there. I just checked out."
The reason for NBA players nursing various anxieties? Take your pick.
The coronavirus has killed nearly 190,000 people in the U.S. and the country’s shutdown has led to an 8.4% unemployment rate. Law enforcement officials have killed or shot numerous unarmed Black people this year, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake, leaving NBA players frustrated over whether their platform can become effective enough with addressing systemic racism.
Then look at the players’ current circumstances. They still play a game they love and earn millions of dollars. That does not eliminate the challenges. They spent nearly two months away from family until family members were permitted to enter the quarantined campus this past week. Once the resumed season started in late July, NBA teams played games every other day, leading to a compressed schedule that leaves little time for recovery, sleep or unwinding.