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Lakers’ Dwight Howard opens up about feeling depressed in NBA bubble

Lakers center Dwight Howard passes the ball while under pressure during the Lakers' win in Game 1.
Lakers center Dwight Howard says he’s felt depressed at times over the last 84 days in the NBA’s anti-coronavirus bubble in Orlando, Fla.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Over the course of these now 84 days of being inside the NBA’s bubble, Lakers center Dwight Howard admitted Thursday that there have been moments when he has been depressed.

Howard discussed that when he was asked about how players were openly talking about mental health issues and how so many of them have talked about the isolation when the league restarted the season on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near here.

He talked about how it was good to “get that feeling of anxiety and depression out of our system.”

Howard said Thursday that the public thinks “you’re sitting at Disney World” and things are rosy for the players while discussing the Lakers’ 1-0 lead over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals that resume Friday night.

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Howard was able to find some joy by having his son, David, join him in the bubble when family and friends were allowed on the campus.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Danny Green sparked the scoring spree that turned Game 1 of the NBA Finals into a rout for the Lakers.

“For myself, there has been times where I was depressed about just having to be in the bubble, not being able to see my family, my kids,” Howard said. “So, it could be very difficult. So I just tried to find a way to escape mentally by doing a lot of reading, getting out and walking, talking to a lot of the people who work from the NBA who are here and experiencing the bubble as well. So just trying to just share my experiences with them and to listen to their experiences and find hope within each other.”

Howard’s teammate, Danny Green, compared the experience to “having a 48-hour Groundhog Day” since they arrived here on July 9.

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But the Lakers are nearing the end of their time here, needing three wins to be crowned NBA champions and leave with joy.

“Every two days are the same,” Green said. “It’s either game day or practice day. We stay on the same campus, eat at the same restaurant, go to the same gym, same home, same hotel access. So, yeah. But, yes, we are at the goal line. We still have some work to do, but we do see a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that it’s close to the end, it’s near.

“We do know we only have a certain amount of time before this is all finished and [we] want to make sure we finish on the right note and continue to get our work done. We’re not looking ahead, not looking at the light. We are not looking at the end zone. We’re looking for the next yard, the next first down. So, we got to get those done first before we get to the end zone.”

The Los Angeles Lakers rallied from an early deficit to crush the Miami Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Here are five takeaways from the game.

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Caldwell-Pope steps up for Lakers


The Lakers fell into a 13-point hole to begin Game 1, and nothing seemed to be going right early.

But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stepped into that void, hitting back-to-back three-pointers to get the Lakers back into a game they eventually won going away. He had 10 of his 13 points in the first quarter.

“The ball got to me in the corner,” Caldwell-Pope said on a videoconference. “I was wide open. Just being ready to shoot and knock them down. For us as a team, it kind of turned the momentum our way and kind of opened it up for other guys to be comfortable, have confidence knocking down shots. We just got after it after that.”


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