Doctor Explains Part of NBA Bubble That Will Be ‘Really Hard’ for Lakers’ LeBron James

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

Dr. Stephen Gonzalez, an executive board member for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology who deals with the psychological aspects of sports, believes the lack of crowds for the upcoming NBA games will serve as a difficult challenge for Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

Dr. Gonzalez looked at the mental health aspects related to the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season. These include having players secluded for up to three months and the lack of fans to offer any sort of crowd reaction.

In the case of James, his interactions with fans over his 17 NBA seasons have provided him with plenty of drive and motivation. That is something that hasn’t necessarily been the case with other stars, such as Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard.

“LeBron appreciates the relationship he has with fans,’’ Dr. Gonzalez told the New York Post. “Not having the other end of the relationship present is going to be a really hard thing for him.

“However, Tim Duncan, you can’t tell if Tim is having a good day or bad day. He’s just stoic. There’s a couple of players like that now in how they present their emotions like Kawhi.’’

Dr. Gonzalez did offer those players like James some advice about handling the unique circumstances of the upcoming games.

“If I was working with any NBA player, one of the things we’d talk about is what effect does crowd have on you positively or negatively,’’ Gonzalez added. “And without the crowd there, how are we going to plan getting those same emotions, same level of adrenaline. Maybe using visualization and getting yourself as many simulated reps, shooting in an empty gym, getting a sense of that quiet and stillness and embracing it.

“It’s a factor. They’re going to need to find a way to adapt and adjust.”

James and Leonard won’t have to wait long to test how each of them adapts to the new surroundings. The Lakers and Clippers will face each other on July 30, the first day of the resumed 2019-20 season.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.