Here I sit at 5 in the morning before anyone else is even thinking about opening their eyes looking at their phones and I can’t help but take a minute to realize a few things.
When you look at the bigger picture, the NBA is facing multiple issues but it is often overlooked due to the large amounts of money made on a daily basis. Did you know the NBA made $8 billion in revenue last year according to Investopedia; valuing each franchise at an average of $1.9 million. I could go through hours and hours of research on how much money the NBA generates from their merchandise, ticket sales, and franchises. There is probably money in areas we don’t even know about.
The point is money gets in the way of a lot when it comes to seeing the bigger picture. NLJ writer Zak Cunningham wrote about “Sleep Deprivation in the NBA” and discussed the severity of stress that is put on players bodies throughout the regular season, dealing with back-to-backs, plane rides, and the constant “on the go” mentality. I wish that was the only problem these players experience, but that just isn’t the case.
Have you ever took time to realize the amount of sacrifice some players make in the league? I’m not talking about the superstar tier players; I’m talking about the ‘average’ players who are constantly worried about a job or those role players who sign one year contracts.
Guard Luke Ridnour went to four different franchises in a span of a month back in 2014. Think about the adjustments he had to make, the last minute hotel rooms, the money spent making his career work. It all adds up for those who aren’t guaranteed to have that lavish career.
The trade block is the most stressful process in the world. Just imagine that you’re told to go to Memphis right. You pack your bags, hop on a plane, get a meal, and arrive at a hotel. The next morning your suiting up for practice because you had a conversation with management the night prior and as you are five minutes out you get a call from your agent saying that the Grizzlies traded you to Indiana. Here you are almost at the training facility In Memphis, Tennessee and now you have to pack up and travel East to Indiana. Ridnour did that four times in a month; breaking down the math that’s a new team every week.
The term ‘sacrifice’ is an understatement in the NBA. At least 41/82 (50%) games are played on the road per franchise. Meaning, 50% of the time a player is on the road away from his family. Now, I don’t understand what it’s like to be in the NBA, but I understand what it means to be a father. Spending that much time away from your kids, and significant other does a number on an individual. Why do you think we see players taking games off for “personal” reasons? 9 out of 10 times those guys are taking time to stay at home with their family.
With that comes stress and anxiety. If you don’t think these are real things, then kindly exit out of this article because this isn’t for you to hear. Guys like Kevin Love, and DeMar DeRozan have publicly spoken out about these issues and they’ve paved the way for others to express their feelings.
In Kevin Love’s “Players Tribune” he talks about how he had to be subbed out of a game and when he reached the locker room he fell to his knees because he could hardly breathe. Anxiety will cripple you, make you distant, and alter your moods. Anxiety often turns into stress and it’s not something we shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Is the league soft? Some people might think that, but until you put two and two together the overall perception will be “they get paid millions of dollars so their problems don’t matter”. At face value this is exactly what the media, and the NBA thinks. They’re stuck in that mindset and it’s been known as a staple for many years.
The next time you watch your favorite player really think of them outside of basketball and be aware that they are humans just like all of us.
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