There are plenty of problems the NBA is dealing with at the moment. But one of the biggest issues is overlooked all too often: sleep.
A recent investigative piece by ESPN’s by Baxter Holmes dives deep into the rampant issues surrounding sleep in the league. Several general managers consider lack of sleep a real problem in the NBA.
“We have a large population of vampires as it is — add in the travel and it’s more so,” one GM told Holmes. “We all want better solutions to this.”
But when it comes to getting some quality shuteye, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside says, “It’s impossible.”
Considering the NBA’s hectic schedule, it’s no surprise why sleep is so hard for players to come by. As Whiteside described, playing multiple games in a matter of days can certainly take its toll on players, especially when extensive travel is added in.
“(Sleep) could be the difference between you having a career game or playing terrible,” Whiteside told Holmes. “… It’s just so hard to get the sleep that you need.”
When asked about the issue, the NBA noted its “significant game schedule changes, an investment in a new airline charter program, a focus on mental health and wellness, and the advancement of wearable technology.”
“Sleep is an area we look at closely as part of this effort,” the league says.
Some players, however, have started taking the issue into their own hands. Players like LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and CJ McCollum already have developed unique ways to cope with irregular sleep patterns.
Even Vince Carter, the NBA’s older player, says sleep is “the No. 1 thing” for him.
“Lack of sleep messes up your recovery, messes up how you play, your cognitive function, your mindset, how you’re moving on the court,” McCollum says. “Sleep is everything.”
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images