After a lengthy NBA career, Raja Bell has recently entered the media circle as a member of The Ringer. Bell began appearing on NBA podcasts and shows just after the playoffs started in the early days of August.
He made such an appearance on Tuesday night's The Ringer NBA Show, recapping the evening's matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers with Logan Murdock, another recent hire of The Ringer who joined at the same time as Bell. The show aired after the postgame press conferences, in which Paul George opened up on his struggles against Dallas in the bubble. In a moment of vulnerability rarely seen from athletes by the media, George said he had been dealing with anxiety and depression while in the bubble and checked out for a few games. He persevered, though, and helped his team to a win and a 3-2 series lead.
During the show afterwards, Murdock expressed concern over the fact that George was checked out in a first-round series the Clippers should win, and that if something like that does happen, he certainly should not tell anybody that it did. Bell agreed but took it a step further and straight-up said that George should keep all that to himself because nobody wants to hear about it.
What makes the segment confusing is that Bell acknowledges that George exposing himself like that and being honest is what media members (like himself!) and fans are looking for in athletes nowadays. Yet he insists George should keep that quiet because "nobody wants to hear it."
But we do want to hear it. We want to hear about how athletes struggle and overcome because we all go through that, too. Anxiety and depression don't care about what your job is or how much money you have, it will affect many people all the same. Keeping it to yourself because nobody wants to hear it is precisely the kind of toxic mindset that we as a society are trying to keep in the rearview. It takes courage to do what George did, revealing an internal struggle to an audience of millions who are ready to criticize him for any reason at all. This is how he was rewarded for that courage.
Next time, Bell should probably keep his thoughts on other people's willingness to speak out about mental health issues to himself. Nobody wants to hear that shit.