On Thursday, the NBA officially announced its 22-team team plan to resume the 2019-20 season.
The announcement comes with excitement from fans and players alike, but it also comes with its fair share of hurdles. For one, players will have to continue to work closely with public health officials and medical experts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, society is reeling from the murder of George Floyd and the racial injustices in the country that are once again being brought to light.
Those two unfortunate circumstances certainly can take a toll on one's mental health, and can negatively affect NBA players as they return to the court. Fortunately, the league has a mental health program devoted to helping players with their mental wellness.
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Former Boston Celtics guard Keyon Dooling is a mental health counselor for the NBPA. On the latest Celtics Talk Podcast with Kyle Draper, Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely, Dooling talked about some of the mental health issues players will have to face.
"There's health concerns, and that's a reality that we all have to face," Dooling said. "I don't think our players are exempt from that. And then there's financial repercussions, you know? Those guys have lost money. They've had to give back I believe if I'm not mistaken, 25 percent of their last two checks.
"Those are real things that our guys are going through and I think they have some healthy concerns. But also, I believe that our guys understand our role in society. We understand what we do and who we are. And so, if there's a chance where we can kind of carry the burden along with everybody else, I think our guys are excited. I think Chris Paul said it best, guys are hungry to play."
Dooling also discusses how proud he is of the young leaders on the Celtics roster, Danny Ainge's impact during Dooling's own mental health struggles, his favorite Kevin Garnett stories, and much more. Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast or watch it on YouTube below.