Psychology is a very underrated field when it comes to sports, as it affects an athlete's performance almost as much as the athlete's psychical form. That is why many players have their superstitions and ways of getting their minds right and ready to perform at the highest level. Victor Oladipo showed a prime example of that.
The night before the start of the 2021 NBA season, Oladipo decided to hold a funeral for his injured knee. Oladipo did the service because he wanted to say goodbye to his injury mindset that has been pulling him down from getting to 100% after rupturing his quad tendon in his right knee back in 2019.
"I was feeling better, but my mind was so used to protecting me -- and being hesitant because of my leg -- that I had created a habit of doing that. And burying my injury and letting myself know that I'm healed, I'm stronger than ever before, it gave me the courage, the strength to actually go out there and perform and not think about the leg. Not defer as much. That was definitely huge for my process, especially my mental health process."
Victor Oladipo, ESPN
Oladipo hired Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker, educator, and pastor, as his sports psychologists before the season and got inspired to do this ritual. He listened to a prayer, burned a piece of paper, and went outside his home in Indiana. Oladipo wrote on that paper:
"Today I am burying everything related to my torn quad. I am burying and letting go of everything. I'm letting go of tearing my quad and the injury that happened. I'm letting go of being one of three people to ever get the injury. I'm letting go of all the negativity surrounding the fact that I'm one of three people and the youngest to get it. I am letting go of 'My knee might not be strong enough to do everything I want on the basketball court.' I'm letting go of hoping that my knee is strong enough so I can be an All-Star."
Victor Oladipo, ESPN
Oladipo has been traded recently in a 4-team trade centered around James Harden, as he ended up on the Houston Rockets. It looks like he is ready to get back to his old All-Star level, playing more decisive instead of being emotional and afraid of how he will perform or is he going to say healthy. Hopefully, he manages to achieve his goals.