NBA’s Battle Against Depression

NBA's Battle on Depression

NBA Players Dealing with Mental Health Issues

At a conference last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver raised some eyebrows by declaring that a lot of players in the NBA frequently feel isolated and anxious.

“When I meet with them, what surprises me is that they’re truly unhappy,” Silver said. “A lot of these young men are generally unhappy. We are living in a time of anxiety and I think it’s a direct result of social media.”

Silver added that it’s a generational issue not solely limited to athletes. Arguing that previous era’s had far more camaraderie, he quoted Isiah Thomas: “championships are won on the bus’; in the locker rooms.” Now, Silver pointed out, players are always wearing headphones. “They’re isolated, and they have their heads down, he concluded.”

With all of this in mind, the NBPA has taken some initiative, launching a new mental health and wellness program in May 2018 to assist players with their mental health challenges and issues. Obviously the issue does not affect all players and Silver’s comments are general, but NBA stars like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love have spoken publicly about their own battles with depression and anxiety.

DeRozan and Love’s battles with mental health issues, as well as Silver’s observations of players being unhappy, show these issues affect everyone; even those with plenty of money and fame.

Credit to Silver, recognized by many as the commissioner who is most connected to how the players in his league feel. His comments, though, have instigated some controversy.

TNT NBA analyst and former NBA All-Star, Charles Barkley spoke out fervently exclaiming: “I think that’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard Adam say. These guys are making $30-$50 million a year, stay at the best hotels, they ain’t got no problems. That’s total bogus.”

Others like Jay Williams, have criticized Barkley for his narrow-minded comments and come to the defense of the commissioner.


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