Tough Love From Dr. Phil

May 22, 2011

A group ofNBA players sits outside a doctor's office, waiting to be seen. Celtics forward Glen (Big Baby) Davis is the first to be called. He opens the door and stops short. He looks surprised.

DR. PHIL: I know, you were expecting the other Dr. Phil. I get that a lot. But you've come to the right place. I'm better than the bald guy, especially when it comes to NBA head cases. Remember when the Lakers won the title last year and forward Ron Artest thanked his psychiatrist on national television?

DAVIS: He was talking about you?

DR. PHIL: No. You'd never get in to see him. He only treats starters. What seems to be troubling you?

DAVIS: I had a lousy postseason, Doc. It's like I told reporters after we lost Game 4 to the Heat, "I've been nowhere to be found throughout this whole playoffs... . I need to find Glen, and I don't know where Glen is at."

DR. PHIL: You have to find Glen? Look in the mirror. You're 6'9" and 290 pounds. Finding Glen does not exactly require flashlights and bloodhounds. Leave the psychobabble to experts like me, because you and your colleagues are making the playoffs feel like one big therapy session. The games have been better than Prozac, but hearing so many players and teams sort out their emotional baggage makes me want to throw my bust of Sigmund Freud through the TV screen. When did you guys become as fragile as my grandma's good china? Here's my professional opinion, Glen. Spend less time trying to find your mammoth self and more time trying to find some rebounds. Maybe then you won't get bounced in the second round.

Good session. Feel better? I know I do. Send in my next patient on your way out.

Lakers center Andrew Bynum walks in and folds his 7-foot frame into a chair.

BYNUM: Doc, I'm embarrassed about getting swept by the Mavericks in the second round. It's what I told everyone after we lost Game 2: Our team has trust issues.

DR. PHIL: Is it me, or does everyone in this league talk like he spends too much time in the self-help section at Barnes & Noble? If by "trust issues" you mean that quicker, more aggressive Dallas made you guys look as if you'd gotten a group rate for hip replacements, then yes, you have trust issues. Look, I understand that NBA players are human beings with as many insecurities as the rest of us, but be like everyone else and bury them in your subconscious. At some point you need to stop wringing your hands about the state of everyone's psyche. Now you've gotten fans and media acting just as touchy-feely. There was one report speculating that your power forward, Pau Gasol, was too lovesick to play up to his normal standards. Is this the NBA postseason or an episode of Gossip Girl?

By the way, Andrew, I saw that elbow you gave J.J. Barea. I lead a discussion group—Smart Centers, Foolish Choices—on Tuesdays. Think about it.

Portland guard Brandon Roy enters, dabbing his eyes with a blazers rally towel.

ROY: Sometimes I just start to tear up, Doc. After I played only eight minutes in Game 2 against Dallas in the first round, I confessed to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, "There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking, You better not cry. I felt really sorry for myself."

DR. PHIL: It's not unusual for an athlete to get teary-eyed over a lack of playing time, Brandon. In Little League. Let's be big boys. I remember Michael Jordan cried—when he won his first title. The next time anyone gets misty, he'd better be holding the Larry O'Brien trophy. What is it with the weepiness this year, anyway? During the season Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said some of his players were crying in the locker room after a loss to Boston. At this rate the Finals will be sponsored by Kleenex. Now, I'm afraid our time is up.

ROY: Already? That makes me want to—

DR. PHIL: Deep breaths, B-Roy, deep breaths.

Roy leaves as Miami forward Chris Bosh walks in and takes a seat.

BOSH: Dr. Phil, I've been feeling—

DR. PHIL: This whole season has been about how the Heat is feeling, hasn't it, Chris? We have Miami to thank for all this armchair therapy because everyone wants to take your team's emotional temperature. Is LeBron James confident in the clutch? Is Spoelstra commanding enough on the bench? With the Heat it's never just postgame analysis; it's postgame psychoanalysis. You in particular have been a bundle of neuroses, Chris, especially in the playoffs. I see by your case file that after you had six points in that Game 3 loss to Boston, you said, "My emotions got the best of me early on, and it kind of dictated what I was doing for the rest of the game." The clinical term for that is scared to death.

BOSH: We're trying to deal with that, Doc.

DR. PHIL: It's going to take some time. Besides performance anxiety, I think you're suffering from feelings of inadequacy and alienation. James and Dwyane Wade have never offered you the unconditional love you've been seeking, have they? That's why I'm still not convinced that Miami is ready to win the title. You know which team I would put my money on? The one that needs me the least.

BOSH: I'd like to talk more about this, Doc. Maybe I can bring Dwyane and LeBron next time.

DR. PHIL: LeBron? The King of Pain, himself? Yes, indeed. But tell my receptionist to schedule a double session. This will go into overtime.

Talk Back

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When did NBA players become as fragile as my grandma's good china? For the Heat it's never just postgame analysis; it's postgame psychoanalysis.

PHOTOJOHN BURGESS

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