Paul George went through some drastic changes and adapted to the new normal when the NBA went into Orlando's bubble to continue the 2019/20 season. However, PG13 had it worse than other players and revealed he didn’t sleep for two weeks.
"I went two weeks of zero sleep"
In a candid interview with former teammate Serge Ibaka, George revealed he struggled mentally while inside the bubble. This area was often overlooked, but it played a big factor in how the players performed with limited mobility. For example, the Orlando Bubble restricted players from going out of the premises, cutting them off from the outside world and loved ones. There was nothing like it in the history of the NBA, and naturally, players didn’t know how to act or adapt at first.
In the playoffs inside the bubble, the L.A. Clippers held a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, the Clippers lost, and the team became the butt of jokes and the subject of memes on social media. George was called names, including Pandemic P, because of how he played. But unknown to many, he was battling his inner demons at that time.
“I ain’t gonna make no excuses," George said. "We just blew it. A lot was just weighing in on me. I wasn’t sleeping. I probably went a good week and a half, two weeks of zero sleep. I would lay in bed and my mind would just be racing. I tried everything. I tried therapy, I tried sleeping gummies.”
George didn’t mean zero sleep in two weeks literally, but the lack of proper sleep probably contributed to his poor play in some games. He deserves kudos for sharing what he went through despite some claiming that he’s only making excuses.
Experience is the best teacher, and if the league goes into a bubble again, Paul knows how to adapt better and what he shared could be used by the younger generation on how to cope with it.
The bubble is built differently
The L.A. Clippers star mentioned other factors that affected him, such as being cooped up in hotel rooms, not going out or speaking to anyone outside the bubble, and not having the outlet to let the steam off.
People are putting an asterisk on the Lakers' bubble title because players and teams were not just at full force there. But for the sake of finishing the season, the players sacrificed mentally and physically. Bashers could claim the NBA players don’t have any right to whine about the situation because they were earning millions despite the pandemic, and all they have to do was hoop. But as PG13 noted, depression attacks and affects anyone.
Professional players should be encouraged to come out and never be afraid to become vulnerable because they are, after all, just humans like the rest of us.