Delonte West's Via Dolorosa and Mental Illness in the NBA
June 6, 2014 7:59 AM Subscribe
Why Isn't Delonte West in the NBA?
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David Haglund takes a detailed look at the treatment and perception of mental illness and "crazy" behavior in the NBA and in the sports world at large.
"There is no shortage of professional athletes who hate losing and will practice obsessively to avoid failing the next time. What’s striking is the suggestion, made again and again, that the same traits that can be destructive on a personal level can fuel greatness on the court.
The sports psychologists and psychiatrists I’ve spoken to say that having healthy mental habits and attitudes outside of competition will help an athlete perform better on the field of play. But most also acknowledged that athletes can channel otherwise harmful tendencies—obsessiveness, aggression, anxiety—in ways that benefit them as competitors. Dr. Thomas Eppright, a psychiatrist who worked with West in Cleveland and has stayed in touch with him since, makes the point bluntly: 'Some of the greatest athletes who have played any sport were not healthy human beings, mentally.'"