Paul George says NBA bubble left him ‘in a dark place’ before breakout game | Sport

Paul George says he was in a “dark place” due to the isolation of the NBA’s bubble before his breakout game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

The Clippers star had been in a slump before he scored 35 point to give his team a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Mavericks. George said the pressures of being cut off from friends and family while the NBA completes its season in a socially isolated bubble during the Covid-19 pandemic had taken its toll.

“It was just a little bit of everything,” George said. “I underestimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here. I just wasn’t there. I checked out.

“Games 2, 3, 4, I wasn’t there. I felt like I wasn’t there. Shout-out to the people that were in my corner, that gave me words. They helped big time, help get me right, [get] me back in great spirits. I can’t thank them enough.”

The six-time All-Star had shot 10-for-47 over his previous three games, making him the first player to shoot under 25% in three straight playoff games in 60 years. George said talking to professionals had helped his mental health.

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“We keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back.”

Doc Rivers got emotional while talking about Jacob Blake being shot by police and social injustice. pic.twitter.com/qQI2Ld2DGI


August 26, 2020

“Talks with a psychiatrist, our team psychiatrist,” he said. “I mean, I just felt it. My energy, my spirit was changed. That’s all it needed. That’s all I needed. I came here, I knew what my job was. Left it all on that court. Ready to move forward.”

Players can only leave the NBA’s campus at Disney World in Florida under exceptional circumstances and contact with families and friend is limited. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he had talked to George about his anxieties.

“This is not a normal environment, OK?” Rivers said after Tuesday’s win “It just isn’t. PG and I sat in my room after the game. We just had a long talk, not all about basketball, really. Several players did it. Guys were knocking on his door.”

The playoffs are going on as unrest and protests against social injustice and police brutality sweep the US. After Tuesday’s game, Rivers spoke about the police shooting of an unarmed black man, Jacob Blake, earlier this week.

If you watch that video [of the shooting], you don’t need to be black to be outraged,” he said. “You need to be American and outraged. How dare the Republicans talk about fear? We’re the ones that need to be scared. We’re the ones having to talk to every black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over? It’s just ridiculous.”


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