There can be something of a detachment where we don’t always inherently recognize that star athletes and celebrities are humans with human emotions. While this doesn’t mean criticism of Paul George’s performance is invalid — he shot 10-47 from the field in Games 2, 3, and 4 of this series against the Mavs before breaking out for 35 points in Game 5 — there felt like there was a weird glee to it on social media. After Game 5, the Clippers’ star admitted that he was in an emotional funk:
Clippers’ Paul George said he talked to psychiatrist after slump before Game 5 breakthrough: “I underestimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety and a little bit of depression. Being locked in here (in the bubble), I just wasn’t there. I checked out.” pic.twitter.com/rwOzAnxSKK
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 26, 2020
“I underestimated mental health, honestly,” George said. “I had anxiety, a little bit of depression. Just being locked in here and — I just wasn’t there. I was checked out. Games 2, 3, 4, I felt like I wasn’t there.”
He said the people who were in his corner helped put him back in great spirits.
If the Clippers play the Lakers in the Western Conference finals, there will be the combination of a) he’ll have been in the bubble for that much longer, and b) the spotlight will only be magnified. Thus, it’s probably too soon to declare him out of the woods on all this. However, it is, to me, refreshing to hear him be honest about his vulnerabilities and triumphing over them for at least the time being.