As ESPN’s ongoing look at mental health issues in the NBA continues to highlight, professional players are exposed to a seemingly endless stream of off-court stresses.
One of those sources is money, with many NBA players going from little to no funds at all to suddenly earning millions.
Longtime agent Aaron Goodwin has seen the problems this can cause for young NBA players time and time again.
“People don’t understand what these guys in the African-American community go through,” Goodwin told ESPN.
“It’s so hard for them to separate themselves from the people they grew up with. It leads to withdrawal, anxiety. There’s guilt about turning their backs on people they care about but who aren’t good influences in their lives.
“There’s this pressure of, ‘I have to succeed because so many people are counting on me.’ And then there’s all the people with their hands out because everyone wants money.”
It’s a situation Charles Barkley is all too familiar with, having felt responsible to provide not just for his family but his friends too.
However it wasn’t long before the stress of so many people having their hand out wore him down.
“Money ruins all your relationships,” Barkley said.
“No matter what you do for your family, it’s never enough.
“All your friends think because you’re rich, you should bail them out of every situation.
“The only time I had any peace and quiet was on the basketball court.”
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