Once and for all, athletes are finally speaking up and talking about mental health. We've seen it with Naomi Osaka, or NBA stars Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, and others who try to put an end to that stigma of weakness for those who seek help.
Recently, reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo also advocated for psychology and psychiatry in sports, admitting that he had to visit a professional to help him deal with the pressure he was experiencing:
“I was talking with a sports psychiatrist every day, he helped me be myself,” the Bucks star told Revolt TV. “The free throws were a mental issue and I want to continue like this in the next season. And I want to see if we can repeat this as a team. I want to see if we can do it again, myself, my teammates, the owners, everyone.”
The Gree Freak Advocates For Mental Health
Moreover, the Bucks star dug deeper into his struggles during an interview with GQ, talking about how athletes need to get past stereotypes and stop worrying about others labeling them as 'soft':
(Transcript via GQ)
“People that talk to the sports psychiatrists and stuff like that, they label us ‘soft.’ We’ve seen that in the past, like, ‘Oh, man, I’m having anxiety.’ ‘Man, you’re soft. Go deal with that.’ That’s how it’s labeled. That’s why it’s hard for people to talk to somebody and open up. Even for me, it was extremely tough.”
“I started doing it when I was 18. When you’re that young and you’re doing it, people don’t understand the amount of pressure because at the end of the day, you don’t only have to perform and be the best, you have the big brand that you got to f****ng carry on your shoulder. You have your own country, Japan, that you got to carry on your shoulder. Or Greece, in my case. You have all these people that you got to take care of. Sometimes…”
Hopefully, this will encourage even more athletes to take a step forward and seek the help they need. There's nothing wrong with that. If anything, it only proves that even the greatest athletes on Earth are also human.