From Lisa Redmond @ NBC News: Is social media hurting the mental health of NBA players and making them miserable?
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sparked the debate when he voiced his concerns about the mental health of players in the league and what he sees as a direct corelation to social media is becoming of extreme importance.
"I think we live a bit in the age of anxiety," Silver said speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last week.
"I've read studies on this. I think part of it is a direct product of social media. I think those players we're talking about, when I meet with them, what strikes me is that they are truly unhappy. This is not some like, you know, show they're putting on for the media. When you have relations with a lot of players, when I'm one-on-one with a lot of these guys, I think to the outside world they see the fame, the money, all the trappings that go with it. They're the best in the world at what they do. They say, 'how is it possible, like, they can even be complaining?' I hear this on television all the time. A lot of these young men are genuinely unhappy."
Retired NBA player turned TNT analyst Charles Barley said Silver's comments were "the stupidest thing" he's ever heard the Commissioner say. “These guys are making 20, 30, 40 million dollars a year. They work six, seven months a year," he said this week. "They stay in the best hotels in the world — they ain’t got no problems. That’s total bogus."
But on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast, NBC Sports Washington analyst and former NBA player Tony Massenburg agreed with Silver's thoughts on the effects social media is having on mental health - but thinks it's not just limited to the league.
"There's no question in my mind," Massenburg said.
"I agree with him that some players are not happy. Not all, but there are some players that are not happy. And it has less to do with the NBA than I think people may try to put on it. To me it has more to do with society. We have a lot of unhappy people in society today because of social media, and social media rules the NBA at this point. It's all about your Instagram and your Twitter and your Facebook and whatever.
... Guys I think right now are struggling. Some are struggling with mental health because there's more attention and more focus paid to that from a societal prospective. We are more conscious of mental health. It's not about the mental health of NBA players in my mind. Everything that happens in society mirrors every league...and so when we see culture shifts or societal shifts, meaning I heard Adam Silver say you know guys isolate themselves, they're sitting in their locker with their headphones on. They're on the plane or the bus with their headphones on. Well that's what people are doing in society.
"So for NBA players, yeah they probably are a little bit more reclusive now because there's so much attention put on them that they literally can't get out of the spotlight," he continued. "And for some guys who really value their family time and their private time or just having a moment where they're not under the spotlight, that can be a real mental hurdle."