Adam Silver: Social Media, Anxiety Play Role in NBA Stars Being Unhappy

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2019

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during the NBA All-Star festivities, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C. The 68th All-Star game will be played Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference he believes a lot of players are "genuinely unhappy." 

"I think we live a bit in the age of anxiety," Silver said, per Kevin Merida of ESPN.

Jacob Feldman of Sports Illustrated noted Silver thinks social media also plays a role in players' unhappiness.

In December, the commissioner said during an appearance on The Full 48 podcast with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck that mental health is a key factor in discussions about whether to adjust the league's stance on marijuana:

"I understand that for some players ... that marijuana is a way of dealing with those issues. It's a question: If we ban marijuana, what they'll then otherwise use? I've had players tell me, 'I don't smoke marijuana ... because you guys drug test and it's banned and I accept that. So instead, I was written a prescription by a team doctor for an anti-anxiety medication, and that medication makes me uncomfortable.' And I recognize that that medication may be worse for the player than smoking marijuana—even if marijuana isn't great for you. And I also recognize that if they don't want anti-anxiety medication and they can't smoke marijuana, they may drink more—which is perfectly legal. ... And that might be much worse for them."

Those comments came after the NBA and the NBA Players Association announced the launch of a new Mental Health and Wellness Program in May 2018.

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love wrote about his journey to overcome mental illness, which included a panic attack during a November 2017 game against the Atlanta Hawks, in a piece for The Players' Tribune in March 2018:

"I want to make it clear that I don't have things figured out about all of this. I'm just starting to do the hard work of getting to know myself. For 29 years, I avoided that. Now, I'm trying to be truthful with myself. I'm trying to be good to the people in my life. I'm trying to face the uncomfortable stuff in life while also enjoying, and being grateful for, the good stuff. I'm trying to embrace it all, the good, bad and ugly."

Former Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said during last season's playoffs he was being treated for anxiety.