Catherine Forsythe

Catherine Forsythe
know a bit about computer security, dogs, horses, skiing, medicine and making risotto. My nickname in real life/online is "Noggie" - I'm on Twitter, with the @dogreader account.

JUNE 18, 2010 1:20PM

The 2010 NBA Championship Game Gives a Boost to Psychiatry

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It may be a historic first for the NBA. In a sport that keeps statistics on so many detailed aspects of the game, there may not be record keeping for this category. How many professional basketball players thank their psychiatrist during the post game interview?

Ron Artest did just that. He gave a shout-out to his psychiatrist during a live telecast to millions:
There are few thoughts that Ron Artest self-edits.  Perhaps it is fitting that the NBA player most associated with being a 'loose cannon' should mention a mental health practitioner immediately after a historic Game Seven in a championship series.

The fact is that the Lakers would not have won the championship game without Artest's offensive and defensive contribution. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the other Lakers needed Artest. He was stellar at both ends of the court. Coach Phil Jackson acknowledged that Artest made a significant contribution to winning the championship:

"...  "Ron Artest was the most valuable player tonight," Coach Phil Jackson said Thursday. "He brought life to our team, he brought life to the crowd.""

The strange irony is that the medical community is applauding Ron Artest. His comment is a boost to seeking assistance in overcoming personal problems. It helps to remove the stigma of seeking help for psychological issues. And look at the results. Ron Artest was an example of unbridled joy. There was no professional aloofness. He was enjoying the moment. One of the toughest athletes in the NBA was celebrating, rejoicing and hugging the interviewer, Doris Burke.  

It was well earned. - Kudos to Ron Artest, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. It was historic in many respects.

Catherine Forsythe 
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Hey, I'd hug Doris Burke too.
It's a sad day in Beantown. I didn't see that post game interview. People here didn't want to watch the Lakers celebrating :(
Brian, there is a new NBA rule now. Hugging Doris Burke is allowed only if you thank your psychiatrist / psychologist.

Eve, it is sad to hear about the team changes so soon after the game. Doc Rivers, Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace... there might be so many new people next year. And Kendrick Perkins will have to recover from his knee injury. It seems that it is just minutes after one season ends and then attention is directed at the next year.

Thanks Brian and thanks Eve - I really have appreciated your support through all these basketball articles.
In this week's Sports Illustrated, there is a lengthy article - I haven't read it yet - about how sports is beginning to effectively treat psychiatric issues like performance anxiety and depression. Artest's comment may be historic, but it may just be sign of things to come.
so, draft coverage next?

though I warn you, if Lebron sells out to the Knicks, I'm giving up basketball.
Good for him! Good for millions. Thanks. R-
The game itself was not an artistic triumph or even an athletic delight. Both teams were obviously utterly exhausted, and the game was more like a UFC bout, a contest to see who would be the last man standing. Turns out, it was not one of the superstars, but someone much-malignd, and for much of his career deservedly so.

In fact, Artest was not only the MVP of the game, he was the most entertaining thing I saw all night -- afterward. I'm not a laker fan -- not since Magic hung-up his tennies in disgrace -- but I am happy for Artest, who has overcome obstacles Kobe can't even imagine.

On a larger point, we tend to forget that professional sports are in reality a kind of prolonged adolescence. And the men who play these games have been pampered, catered to and excused most of their lives. The best become obscenely wealthy playing a kid's game in which a penchant for thinly-veiled violence is routinely rewarded handsomely.

Given the pressure and their proclivities, given the sycophants and sexy women always around, actions of guys like Rothliesberger and Pacman Jones and the tragic death of Steve McNair may not be inevitable -- but they certainly are predictable.

The real wonder is that more of these guys don't go completely off the deep-end like OJ and Rae Carruth.
@Brian B: I'm a Knicks fan. Bite me!
(Though really, if I were him, there are so many better options.)
@Cranky: my condolences. i have nothing against your team, just against the "money is the only thing" approach to "sports". The only reason to chose NY is the potential for endorsements etc. Having given up all other pro sports, basketball is hanging by a thread as it is. And I'm a Raptors fan, so that's not going so well.
Congratulations to them all! It took champions to pull off a championship like that from a game down with two to go, even if the two were in their home court. And Ron Artest deserves admiration and respect for that shout out and being free and easy with the fact that he is seeking professional help.
Cranky, thanks! I will look for the article this week. I know that sports psychologists are a big part of European sports. I appreciate your telling me about the article.

Brian, I know very little about the college stars. I follow March Madness but I don't follow the teams closely enough to make any comments. As for LeBron, I don't know if that should be reported as sports news or business news.

Dave, it would be bold if other athletes followed Artest's example. There is something nice about how 'unfiltered' he is with his comments.

Tom, as far as the football players are concerned, I really wonder about how much brain injuries are a contributing factor. The work of Dr. Ann McKee and others have shown that there are brain injuries and that may add to impulsiveness, depression and other personal and health issues. - I wrote previously about this in connection to Ben Roethlisberger.

Henry, I agree with you. I find Artest to be very interesting. I think what motivates him is 'respect'. I think that is what he craves. And the other thing is that, throughout his year with the Lakers, I did not see him give up on a play or fail to run to be in a play. And the telling factor is the fact that all his team mates like him.