NBA players have it made, right? They make millions of dollars and don’t have a worry in the world, right? They can buy whatever they want. They play a kid’s game for a living and they get to travel the world. Young kids wear their jerseys and they’re idolized.
That’s all true. But there’s another side to being an NBA star.
Picture this: wake up in the morning and look on Twitter. Heaven forbid you shoot 5-for-22 the night before. A laundry list of negative tweets mentioning your Twitter handle awaits you. Good start to the day. Play that night. Get blown out. Booed. At least you’re getting a game check for $100,000, right? Everything must be peachy.
I’m not pretending to know what it’s like to be a professional athlete. Let’s get that straight. I’m also not pretending to use my degree in Psychology in a way that yields me to know what the hell I’m talking about regarding mental health. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had some riveting quotes while speaking with Bill Simmons at a panel discussion at the 13th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last week. To sum up his comments, Silver said that some players were “truly unhappy.”
People think millionaires aren’t allowed to be unhappy. People think they have it easy. Everyone would trade shoes with NBA players who make $100,000 per game over the course of an 82 game season. It’s the easy way to live.
The next time you see a player acting “erratically” or isn’t jumping at the chance to autograph your jersey, remember that professional athletes live life just like you do. Their houses are just bigger. Their cars are nicer. Depression, anxiety, self-worth, is the great equalizer. Money may buy cars and fame. But sometimes fame and wealth are just the sugar-coated cloud over which unhappiness, jealousy and anger breathes.