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My grad school thesis: Mental Health in the NBA

In the world of sports, fans don’t often look at professional athletes as “normal” people. They are physical specimens who are elevated to millionaire celebrity status the moment they are drafted into a league. This is particularly true of players in the National Basketball Association, or NBA. The celebrity status results in the failure to acknowledge the fact that professional athletes deal with some of the same problems that the “average person” also deals with. As a result, professional athletes are not met with the sympathy that an average person might receive in similar situations. This is especially the case when it comes to mental health.

An NBA player is expected to roll with the punches and not complain because in the end, he is being paid a lot of money to play a game and entertain fans. Players enduring physical injuries are often met with support and sympathy from fans, likely because those injuries are easily relatable to the player’s performance.  Players facing mental issues, however, typically do not receive the same support and sympathy.

One of the main issues here is that the topic of mental health is simply tough to talk about. Quite often, the stigma endured by people with mental health issues will make players less likely to speak about it. Not only are mental illnesses often considered taboo, but even general mental health discussions tend to create discomfort. As a result, many players decide to deal with mental health issues on their own. And in order for journalists to speak with psychiatrists about the topic, the issue of doctor-patient confidentiality makes it difficult for them to speak on the specifics of the matter. One can only speak with a psychiatrist or psychologist once they have received consent from their patients.

“Discussing fear, anxiety, stress and depression remains stigmatized,” Royce White, an ex-NBA player who is advocating for the NBA to do more for players with mental health issues, said in an interview with The Cauldron. “It’s hard for people in my field to respect mental health.”[1] White, like many other people involved in the NBA, believes that the league is not doing enough to help players with mental health issues. While physical health is placed at a premium, mental health takes a back seat.

This should not be the case. In many ways, mental health is as important to a player’s performance as physical health. According to Dr. Mark Aoyagi, an executive board member at the Association of Applied Sports Psychology, there is a direct relationship between the two. “If an athlete is struggling with mental health, they are more likely to get physically injured, and when an athlete is physically injured they are at increased risk for mental health challenges.”[2]

Moreover, players deal with these issues on a regular basis. “These guys are just as prone to depression, anxiety and substance abuse as anyone else,” according to Dr. Justin Anderson, who is a sports psychologist with Premier Sports Psychology.[3] Making matters worse, not only do players have to deal with the stresses of life that any normal person would, – finances, family, work, etc. – but they also have to deal with the unique challenges of being in the NBA.

Because of the NBA’s rule that players must attend one year of college before they are eligible to be drafted into the league, most of the players entering the league are in the 19-to-22-year-old range. The moment they are drafted, these young men must deal with constant media attention, the loss of privacy, a fan base that scrutinizes their every move, internet trolls and adjusting to a lifestyle where they are making, at the very least, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Being young and rich makes you a target for white-collar criminals and corrupt financial advisors, adding even more pressure to these young men’s lives.

Larry Sanders, a 6’11 center who left the league to deal with his own mental health issues, described the transition that all young players deal with to an ESPN staff writer, Kevin Arnovitz. “I get put in certain situations that I never did before. We all do. And we have to learn how to maneuver in those situations. There’s no book.”[4] These young men need help to adjust to their new lives, and often times they don’t receive that help.

Adding to the stress of navigating newfound wealth, there is the struggle of becoming a commodity to a team. In general, team owners care about a player’s performance on the court rather than overall well-being. According to Dr. Aoyagi, who was hired by an NBA team and worked with it for two years, “The NBA is like most other professional sport organizations, and to be fair most organizations in general, that only value mental health in terms of public image protection… I was not hired to improve mental health per se, I was hired to improve performance.”[5] Most team owners in the NBA are billionaires. They do not get to that level by being nice or caring about every individual. They get there by being sharp businessmen and making sure their enterprises are running as efficiently as possible.

These are issues that arise when hundreds of millions of dollars are doled out by team owners to run a business. The talents of the players are the commodity they are selling to the fans and that becomes all that most team owners care about.

In an interview about mental health in the NBA, Arnovitz was told by a team’s general manager that when he spoke to his team owner about getting more treatment for a player dealing with a mental illness, the owner replied, “I just gave him $30 million worth of mental health.”[6] Unfortunately, thinking like this is more the norm rather than the exception. Certainly, the owner’s reaction would have been different if the player was dealing with a physical injury.

If you ask people at different levels of the league, from journalists to agents to front office executives, they will all tell you that each of the 30 teams in the league deal with the matter of mental health in their own unique way. If you’re wondering why that is the case, it is because the National Basketball Players Association, which is the NBA players’ union, and the league have not put anything dealing with mental health in any of the past Collective Bargaining Agreements created by both parties.

According to a front office executive with the Atlanta Hawks, the main reason it has not been added into any past Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA, is mainly because, “people are more interested in the salary cap and finances.”[7] Money is the main interest of both parties and as long as players are reluctant to speak about mental health issues, owners won’t add it into any agreement.

The NBA is a star-driven league. People associate each team with their best players and teams that do not have a star don’t sell as many tickets. The league markets itself around its biggest stars as well. Even people who are not NBA fans know stars such as LeBron James or Kevin Durant.

Until those stars start speaking out about mental health issues, it’s unlikely that the league will take a proactive approach. Think of what Magic Johnson did for AIDS awareness or Lou Gehrig for ALS. The same could be said about the issue of concussions in the NFL as well.

When asked about why mental health is still not a priority in CBA negotiations in the NBA, Jabiz Zolfaghari, the general legal counsel for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Woodland Hills, California, thinks it’s because there is no pressure on the league to do so. “The NFL had Junior Seau, when he committed suicide, along with other former players because of all the blows to the head they’ve gotten and all of the mental issues that they have as a result. The NBA hasn’t had a signature moment where they step back and say, ‘OK, this is a problem.’”[8]

Jabiz is not incorrect. Even so, although there has not been a signature moment compelling both the league and the players to push for mental health stipulations in a CBA, that does not mean that there haven’t been issues surrounding mental health in the league. Unfortunately, fans usually don’t think about it until it is too late and there is a national story.

That was the case for Delonte West. In basketball circles, West is perhaps best known for his time spent on the Cleveland Cavaliers during LeBron James’ first stint with the team. West was a creative combo guard who was often the second scoring option after James. He made over $16 million over an eight-season career.

During his time in the NBA, West did not earn himself the best reputation. As Shelley Smith, an ESPN veteran reporter of over two decades, puts it, “Delonte was a wild card.”[9] There was an incident where West was arrested for riding a motorcycle with multiple guns, rumors that he slept with LeBron James’ mother and a nervous breakdown during a practice, just to name a few public examples. He was once diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but has publicly disagreed with the diagnosis.

West obviously had issues with mental health, whether it was a diagnosable disease or the lack of a healthy environment for his mental well-being. The Cleveland Cavaliers preferred to deal internally with his raucous behavior. In writing an article on mental health, Shelley Smith almost secured an interview with West, which many journalists to this day have still been unable to lock down. “At first, he said yes,” Shelley explained, “and the Cavs kind of shut it down… They didn’t want the negative attention.”9 It’s hard to judge the Cavs too harshly here. They are a small market team still trying to figure out how to make it work with one of the biggest stars in the NBA. This is a perfect example of a team putting their collective interests ahead of a single player’s.

For a while after his NBA career ended in 2012, basketball fans didn’t hear very much about Delonte West. Then this photo of him went viral in February 2016.

1

In the picture, taken by a fan who recognized him, West looks extremely disheveled; the photographer said West was not wearing shoes. Rumors spread that he was going up to cars and begging for money in Maryland, adding evidence to the rumor that the one-time millionaire is now homeless. After the fan took the picture, he asked if he was in fact Delonte West. To which he replied, “I used to be, but I’m not about that life anymore.”[10] Reporters have unsuccessfully attempted to track down West recently, but one thing remains a fact: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA as a whole failed him.

In another case of not discovering a player’s mental health issue until it is too late, Lamar Odom, a lottery pick in 1999 and former sixth-man of the year, was found unconscious in a legal brothel in Nevada in October 2015.

Cocaine was found in his system and, due to an apparent overdose, Odom nearly died. Immediately after the news broke, tweets were posted by fans vilifying Odom. Some fans on social media tweeted that being married to a Kardashian – Khloe Kardashian – ruined him. Others suggested that someone living a druggie, playboy lifestyle deserves any of the consequences they encounter.

Like most stories similar to Lamar’s, there is a backstory to his mental health issues that many decided to overlook. Odom lost his mother to colon cancer when he was 12, his father was a heroin addict; and in 2006, Odom lost his infant son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Although Odom has never been diagnosed by a doctor, those closest to him, including his ex-wife Khloe, often speak about his trials with depression.

In 2011, Lamar Odom was traded by the Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks. The move was very surprising to Odom, who the prior season had earned the sixth man of the year award, and he was never the same mentally. When speaking to the New York Times about the trade, Larry Charles – Odom’s high school high school basketball coach – said, “Being with the Lakers meant everything to Lamar and Lamar is a very sensitive young man. When he was traded, I said, ‘Oh, my God, you just crushed that kid.’”[11] In 50 games with the Mavericks the following season, Odom only averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Making matters worse, instead of doing everything they could to help Odom, the Mavs released him after one season. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, called the move “addition by subtraction.”[12]

It is interesting that, of all teams, the Dallas Mavericks either refused or were unable to help Lamar Odom. The Mavericks have Don Kalkstein on their staff, the longest-tenured NBA sports psychologist in the league. Aside from spending two years away from the team after being fired in 2006, Kalkstein has been with the Mavericks since 2000. After multiple attempts to speak with him about how the team dealt with Odom, Kalstein refused to comment.

Larry Sanders is another player who put the topic of mental health front and center for a short period of time. After a breakout season in his third year in the NBA, Sanders established himself as the best shot blocker in the league. After averaging 2.8 blocks and almost 10 rebounds per game, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to sign Sanders to a four-year, $44-million contract in 2013. “We needed a center for so long, so it was exciting to see that a guy that we drafted become an elite rim-protector,” explained Sam Suzuki, a die-hard Milwaukee Bucks fan for over a decade.[13] Bucks fans were excited that their team finally got their center of the future, but their joy was short lived.

The next season, Sanders started showing signs of mental instability. In 2013, Sanders was involved in a bar fight, which resulted in a torn ligament in his right thumb.11 He was also required to get psychological treatment after failing a drug test for marijuana in the 2013-14 season. Finally, in 2015, Sanders called it quits and the Bucks released him from the team. “We were all pretty disappointed when that happened,” Suzuki said, “We had heard that he was dealing with some personal issues, but we assumed it would work out. It’s tough to lose a great player like that.”12 To Suzuki’s credit, he said he understood that Sanders’ issues were real and was glad that he decided to step away from the game before anything more serious happened.

In a Players’ Tribune video that he made himself, Sanders stated that he would be leaving the game and checking himself into Rogers Memorial Hospital to treat his anxiety and depression.[14] The Bucks have had a sports psychologist, Dr. Ramel Smith, on their payroll since the 2014-15 season, but that was too late for Larry Sanders. The silver lining here is that it seems the team has learned from the situation.

The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, appear to be a team that has not learned from its past experiences with players needing mental health assistance. This is especially evident in their treatment of Royce White, a 26-year-old power forward who was drafted out of Iowa State in 2012. Before he played his first NBA game, White started making headlines for requesting to take a bus to games instead of flying whenever possible due to his General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.[15] White never played for the Rockets and was traded in 2013.

The main issue that White had with the Rockets was one that many players must deal with in the NBA: he had to defer to his team for mental health treatment. According to Kathy Behrens, the NBA President for Social Responsibility and Player Programs, in an interview she had with TNT analyst David Aldridge, “At some point, somebody has to be the decision-maker, and it has to be, in this case, the employer has to have control over how that’s going to function.”14 That line of thinking could work if the team was equipped to make those types of decisions, but according to White, they were not.

For example, White told Aldridge in an interview that the Rockets told him to see a psychiatrist every day, which is not the normal protocol for people suffering from GAD. White continued to say that he did make a plan that both he and the Rockets were happy with, but was traded away before it could be implemented. According to White, “There was a very clear mismanagement during my time in Houston.”[16]

White was not the first case of a player with mental health issues that the Rockets had to deal with either. Probably the most well-known name when it comes to mental health awareness in the NBA is Ron Artest, who legally changed his name to Metta World Peace in 2011.

In November 2004, when he was on the Indiana Pacers, Artest became involved in what is considered the worst brawl in the history of the NBA. The fight, later dubbed “Malice in the Palace,” started when a fan in the audience threw ice at Artest, who was lying on the scorer’s table after a fight between the Pacers and Detroit Pistons was broken up. He jumped into the crowd, fought with a crowd member and was later suspended for an entire season. After that night, Artest gained the reputation as a “hot-head” all over the league.

In 2008, when Artest was traded to the Rockets, he was legally bound by court order to complete anger management and found a doctor in Houston. The relationship between Artest and his psychiatrist, Dr. Santhi Periasamy, is what helped him control his rage.[17] Although the Rockets did not assign Artest a psychiatrist, their hands-off approach here actually ended up working. But their approach may have been more influenced by the court mandate than anything their staff recommended.

Since 2008, Metta World Peace has become one of the, if not the, most vocal players in the history of the game when it comes to mental health awareness. In 2009, he left the Rockets to join the Los Angeles Lakers and became the defensive tough guy that the team desperately needed. Many NBA insiders noticed that World Peace had changed. Although he was still being called for his fair share of technical fouls, he seemed to be more in tune with the game and less of a distraction to his teammates. He ended up being a key piece to the Lakers making it the finals and ultimately winning the championship.

Indeed, in 2010, during a post-game interview after winning the NBA championship, Peace specifically thanked his psychiatrist for all the help she had given him. Soon after winning the championship, Metta World Peace sold his championship ring for $500,000 and gave all of the money to different charities, including a few that dealt specifically with mental health.

In 2013, he began the “Talk it Out” campaign in Los Angeles in a bid to get people with mental illness to speak out about it and to seek help. When describing the goals of the campaign, Dr. Tom Strouse, a medical director at the Resnick Hospital who has been working with MWP, said, “One of the core messages is to reject stigma and ask for help.”[18] Peace believes, rightfully so, that mental health should be treated and discussed in the same way that physical health is: “Just like a torn ACL, mental illness is a medical condition. You have to treat it.”[19]

So where do we go from here? The current CBA, which has no stipulations about mental health treatment, will be in place until 2022 at the earliest. But that doesn’t mean that progress won’t be made in the next five years. As Mayar Zokaei, a player agent, put it, “With stuff like mental health, it’s more team by team, but I have noticed an effort all around the league to get involved in that realm.”[20] With the rise of analytics, teams are dissecting every part of the game to see where they can improve. Being in the right mental mindset at a team is one area that front offices are starting to pay more attention to.

Because of this newfound interest in the mental well-being of players, the sports psychology field has been on the rise in the last 15 years. “I didn’t even know it [sports psychology] existed,” Graham Betchart said in a phone interview, “and once I learned more about it, I realized it was the last frontier of training.”[21] Betchart is a northern California native who is a sports psychologist and mental skills coach. His resume includes working with young NBA stars like Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns.

Like many people fresh out of college, he was not sure what he wanted to do with his life in 2001. After a chance meeting with Adonal Foyle in a San Francisco gym, the ex-NBA star introduced Betchart to the idea of sports psychology. In 2004, Betchart went to graduate school and received a master’s in sports psychology four years later. In the early 2000s, Betchart also became the junior varsity coach at Mission High School in San Francisco. “No NBA teams were hiring sports psychologist, so I decided I’d train kids.”20

It was during his time training high school basketball players that Betchart really got to test his theories about using sports psychology in coaching and seeing the benefits of concentrating on the mental well-being of players. When asked whether he concentrated more on the mental or technical side of the game when he was a coach, Betchart said, “it was probably a 90-10 split. At Mission, there are no plays. We just ran a motion offense. The thing I preached was that you are a human being playing a children’s game. You are not just a basketball player.”[22] This, to say the least, is not a very common approach taken by high school basketball coaches.

With youth basketball leagues like AAU grooming young basketball players from a very early age, the pressures to be great can be crippling. Sometimes a kid has all the skill in the world, but can’t handle the pressures of a national spotlight. Imagine being a 15-year-old and playing a game where there are college scouts watching you and judging every move you make. One bad game and you can lose a scholarship to a good school, miss out on being a part of a great college team and ruin your chances of ever making it to the NBA.

“There’s so much pressure on this idea that they need to be perfect,” Betchart explained about the elite young players he had coached. “They can’t make mistakes. They’re not allowed to fail. And it overwhelms them.”21

That idea led Betchart to develop the theory of “Next Play Speed.” He told his players that he truly didn’t care if they made a mistake. He wanted their full effort, of course, but he would not scream at a player or cut their minutes just because they missed a shot or made a bad pass. “The most important thing is that you have a good attitude,” Betchart would tell his players, “you keep moving forward and you don’t stop.”[23]

It has been almost a decade since Betchart left his position at Mission, but he has taken the philosophy he developed there and begun training players individually. But he does not just want to help one player at a time, he wants to change the entire conversation of mental health in sports. “We’re trying to normalize this and I think we’re getting better and better at normalizing mental training.”22 He believes that if kids hear pro athletes talk about mental health and training, then it will be easier to talk about. When the coolest NBA players talk about mental health, the topic becomes much less taboo. The players he trained are still very young, but they have the skills to take over as the leaders of the NBA. Towns, for instance, is already a top player in the league after only two seasons.

In terms of what NBA teams can do to improve in mental training, Betchart believes that teams need to invest in sports psychologists as full-time staff members instead of hiring outside psychologists. “It’s hard to build a relationship with a psychiatrist if they are working with 15 other teams,” he explained, “It has to be a real position and there needs to be a relationship where a player knows they won’t go and tell everything to the GM.”22 He also believes that the culture that teams develop is extremely important. He said that this season’s NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, were the perfect example of team culture that others should try to emulate. “The four pillars of the Warriors are joy, mindfulness, compassion and competitiveness,” and that is why they have found success both in their style of play and their ability to attract top free agents like Kevin Durant.

A lot of that culture was implemented by the Warriors’ head coach, Steve Kerr. Kerr, however, is not the first coach to put a premium on making sure players are in the right state of mind. Kerr’s old coach during his years as a player on the Chicago Bulls, Phil Jackson, is considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA and is often referred to as “the Zen-master.”

Jackson earned that nickname early on in his career due to his Buddhist beliefs and the integration of practicing meditation and mindfulness with his teams. In his book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” Jackson details his coach methods and why he chose to do the things that earned him a reputation of “Zen-master”:

“As a leader, your job is to do everything in your power to create the perfect conditions for success by benching your ego and inspiring your team to play the game the right way,” Jackson wrote, “but at some point, you need to let go and turn yourself over to the basketball gods. The soul of success is surrendering to what is.”[24]

Jackson also liked to give specific books that he believed would help individual players in order to get them in the right mindset. In “11 Rings,” Jackson remembers assigning the book “Siddhartha” – a fictional account of the life of Buddha – to Shaquille O’Neal because he believed the goofy big man had the tools to become a legendary figure in the league. Sure, Jackson was unable to fix the rift between Shaq and Kobe Bryant, which led to the 2004 breakup of one of the greatest duos of all time, but chances are that no coach would have been able to mend that relationship. The emphasis on things like meditation and conscious breathing helped Jackson coach and harness the full potential of some of the greatest basketball players of all time. Even though coaches shouldn’t be the only staff members that are responsible for their players’ mental well-being, the truth of the matter is that most of the time, they are. If that’s the case in the today’s NBA, coaches should be looking at Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr as examples to try to emulate.

In terms of smaller scale ideas to improve the culture of mental health in the NBA, Larry Sanders told Kevin Arnovitz that he would like to see meetings be held in different NBA cities for players to get together and discuss the different challenges they are facing in their lives in a private setting. The life of an NBA player is so unique, that other players are the only people who will know that they’re going through.[25] Sanders wants to build a culture of support that isn’t really present in the NBA today. As Zokaei put it, “Players get tired of each other and don’t hang out most of the time. Teammates are together all the time in the gym and on road trips.”[26] Both men have legitimate arguments on the culture of basketball, which is why a change would have to come from the top.

Respect is a two-way street. If the league and teams want to get the best out of their players, they must start respecting and treating them like human beings instead of commodities. The only problem is, the league and team owners are unlikely to change their ways unless they are forced to. “Bottom line is they want to win,” Shelley Smith explained, “not everyone is concerned with helping people.”[27]

The immediate future of mental health training and treatment in the NBA may not seem promising, but nonetheless, Dr. Aoyagi is optimistic. “The more it is recognized that a happy/satisfied/healthy person is more likely to be a productive athlete/employee the more effective organizations will be,” he said. “I can see a day coming when teams might value (but not necessarily spend) equally in all dimensions of health.”[28] For the sake of the players, that day can’t come soon enough.

 

[1] Davis, Tiffany M. “What Crazy Looks Like: Mental Illness In The NBA – The Cauldron.” The Cauldron. The Cauldron, 27 May 2015. Web. 19 June 2017.

[2] “Sports Psychology Questions.” Message to Dr. Mark Aoyagi. 29 Mar. 2017. E-mail.

[3] Hein, Alexandria. “Delonte West Photos Troubling for Player with History of Mental Illness.”Fox News. FOX News Network, 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 June 2017.

[4] Arnovitz, Kevin. “The Battle within Larry Sanders.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 June 2017.

[5] “Sports Psychology Questions.” Message to Dr. Mark Aoyagi. 29 Mar. 2017. E-mail.

[6] Arnovitz, Kevin. “The Battle within Larry Sanders.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 June 2017.

[7] “Mental Health in the NBA.” Telephone interview. 25 Oct. 2016.

[8] Zolfaghari, Jabiz. “Mental Health in the NBA from a Legal Perspective.” Telephone interview. 2 Nov. 2016.

[9] Smith, Shelley. “Covering Mental Health in Sports.” Telephone interview. 7 Mar. 2017.

[10] Zirin, Dave. “Delonte West, Mental Health, and Royce White’s Unpublished Letter to the NBA.” The Nation. The Nation, 24 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 May 2017.

[11] Cacciola, Scott, and Billy Witz. “The Downfall of Lamar Odom, Played Out on TV.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 June 2017.

[12] MacMahon, Tim. “Mark Cuban: Clash Was ‘the End’.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 11 Apr. 2012. Web. 5 June 2017.

[13] Suzuki, Sam. “Fan Reaction to Larry Sanders.” Telephone interview. 20 Apr. 2017.

[14] Why I Walked Away from the NBA. Perf. Larry Sanders. The Player’s Tribune, 25 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 May 2017.

[15] Aldridge, David. “Does NBA Have Right Plan for Mental Health Going Forward?” NBA.com. NBA, 13 June 2016. Web. 13 June 2017.

[16] Aldridge, David. “Does NBA Have Right Plan for Mental Health Going Forward?” NBA.com. NBA, 13 June 2016. Web. 13 June 2017.

[17] Smith, Shelley. “Ron Artest: An Unlikely Advocate.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 5 June 2017.

[18] Aldridge, David. “Does NBA Have Right Plan for Mental Health Going Forward?” NBA.com. NBA, 13 June 2016. Web. 13 June 2017.

[19] Davis, Tiffany M. “What Crazy Looks Like: Mental Illness In The NBA – The Cauldron.” The Cauldron. The Cauldron, 27 May 2015. Web. 19 June 2017.

[20] Zokaei, Mayar. “Being an Agent in the NBA.” Telephone interview. 17 Nov. 2016.

[21] Betchart, Graham. “Sports Psychology.” Telephone interview. 8 Feb. 2017.

[22] Betchart, Graham. “Sports Psychology.” Telephone interview. 8 Feb. 2017.

[23] Betchart, Graham. “Sports Psychology.” Telephone interview. 8 Feb. 2017.

[24] Jackson, Phil, and Hugh Delehanty. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success. New York: Penguin, 2014. Print.

[25] Arnovitz, Kevin. “The Battle within Larry Sanders.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 June 2017.

[26] Zokaei, Mayar. “Being an Agent in the NBA.” Telephone interview. 17 Nov. 2016.

[27] Smith, Shelley. “Covering Mental Health in Sports.” Telephone interview. 7 Mar. 2017.

[28] “Sports Psychology Questions.” Message to Dr. Mark Aoyagi. 29 Mar. 2017. E-mail.

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