Boston Celtics PF Glen Davis joined Isaac and Big Suke of KFXX in Portland earlier this week for an interview that was in some ways all over the map.
In one breathe he said he “was a big fan of Kobe” and in another he said of Bryant “the way he’s just so poised gets under my skin.”
He talks about not regretting the fact he didn’t pursue a career in the NFL, but then drifts away in that same thought to the $20 million he might have earned as a “franchise player” on the gridiron.
But while he does bounce around in what seems like a variety of conflicting thoughts, he does speak candidly about a theme I expect to hear more about in the coming years; the topic of Sports Psychology. Said Davis of his underwhelming play this past postseason, his mind just wasn’t right:
“Mentally, I wasn’t there. … I had to kind of adjust the way I played in the second half of the season and mentally I didn’t get a rhythm as far as just the way the game went and then just mentally like drained. That’s my offseason workout this year is to practice mentally. I’ve been doing a lot of things mentally to get ready for the upcoming season.”
Davis has struggled with controlling his weight throughout different portions of his career in the NBA, but I don’t think his comments were offered as a means to avoid focusing on physical activity and training this off-season. He’s not trying to answer the ‘Hey Glen, how come you’re not doing Mikan Drills today’ question by pushing back in a lounge chair and responding with ‘because it’s mental wind-sprints day.” In conjunction with traditional training methods, I think Davis is on to something here.
With the media scrutiny surrounding professional sports reaching levels unmatched to what we’ve ever seen before, I think it would serve guys like Davis well seek out some mental training.
Just as he has:
“I hired a sports psychologist to help you tap into the zone … as far as you miss a shot, you don’t worry about that. You go to the other end and use that energy to do something else on defense. … Let it pass like a cloud. Clouds pass by you all the time and you don’t worry about it, you’ve just got to keep going. That’s what I’ve been concentrating on, just how to handle things like a professional.”
Its possible the collection of NBA players from yesteryear may read a comment like that a snicker. I wasn’t able to pay much attention to the 1970s and 80s era of NBA basketball, but I’m guessing there wasn’t much mental practicing going on back then. The thing is though, the landscape of professional sports has changed dramatically, specifically over the last five years.
It would be one type of challenge to block out published negativity from a beat writer who covers your team once every twenty-four hours – in a worst case scenario – but it’s a totally different deal when the criticisms, negative comments, and even hate can be funneled directly to you like it can be now. Twitter can be a positive if your “@ messages” are filled with fan-friendly remarks of encouragement, but on a bad day?
I can only imagine what LeBron James might have thought if he checked his out during the Finals. Which might be why Davis went on to suggest James could be served well by some mental coaching also:
“I think if you’re the king, you’re the king. You’ve got to deal what kings deal with and that’s everybody. You’ve got to be able to handle that type of pressure and not break under it and put your mind in a place where you can overcome anything. I think it could work for LeBron. I think it could work for anybody, really.”
Maybe Davis dropped three “kings” there in reference to LeBron James because he wanted to catch an invite to a cabana party this summer, or maybe he didn’t want somebody to post the raw comment: “I think LeBron James needs a Sports Psychologist.” Whatever the case, I don’t think the subject is as taboo as it might’ve been 20 of 30 years ago for the alpha-male dominated society of professional sports. I applaud Davis for trying to better himself in this area, and I’m glad he’s talking about it too.
Even if the totality of this interview reads as if he does indeed need the help that he’s seeking.
Photo Credit: Boston.com