On The Ringer NBA Show live yesterday, Raja Bell criticized Paul George’s admission that he was in ‘a dark place’.
Paul George had been going through a rough patch. In 3 straight playoff games, George had shot less than 30% from the floor. In fact, before the start of Game 5 between the Clippers and the Mavs, George had the worst field goal percentage of all players in the playoffs.
George made a roaring comeback in yesterday’s game, scoring 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field. He did not miss a single field goal attempt from inside the arc. He also shot 4-of-8 from the 3-point line.
Raja Bell cricitizes Paul George’s ‘dark place’ comments
In the post-game interview with Jarred Greenberg, Paul George was asked about how he dealt with the 3 sub-par games. He replied that he was in a dark place personally and could not find his rhythm due to not being in ‘playoff mode’.
Raja Bell remarked on The Ringer NBA show live that his admission was absurd and bizarre, especially for someone on a championship contender team.
According to Bell, nobody wants to hear the second best player on a championship contender being ‘checked out’ during a first round series that they’re favoured in.
He aslo went on about how being the 2nd best player in the Clippers, Paul George needs to do better in order to keep himself motivated.
Raja Bell on Paul George admitting that he had been in a dark place mentally while in the bubble “keep that shit to yourself, nobody wants to hear that” (via @ringernba podcast)pic.twitter.com/4EjyYDQE9X https://t.co/iboeblwatB
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 26, 2020
Bell says that he’s fine with George talking to his teammates about it, or taking professional help. But his admission in public is not befitting a star player burdened with championship expectations. Bell says that despite more people wanting sports stars to be vulnerable in public, this plays only a detrimental role in recovery.
Should athletes talk about mental health issues?
For long, athletes have been asked to mask all of their insecurities in order to appear tough in front of their rivals. But as things have evolved, coaches too believe that athletes should be able to talk about their fears and be vulnerable, especially if it helps them cope with things better.
It was refreshing to see Paul George speak about his mental issues in the Bubble and how he has been trying to get over them. However, the NBA fraternity as a whole will take some time in adjusting to athletes’ mental aspects and that is fine, as expression about mental health aspects is new for a lot of people(and not just in sport).