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Inside the Ryan Rollins Saga: What the NBA Can Learn About Supporting Players’ Mental Health

Step into the captivating world of the Ryan Rollins Saga, where the complexities of mental health and the NBA collide.
Words by Najee Bissoon
Photo from Ryan Rollins’ official Instagram page @_moneyballry, with no intended copyright infringement.

Last Monday news broke that the Washington Wizards waived guard Ryan Rollins. To many NBA fans, this is normal with the NBA being a revolving door with some players coming in and out but information that was brought to light in terms of his release left many fans on social media in shock raising questions about mental health. What led to his release one might ask, according to The Athletic; the 21-year-old is accused of stealing from the same Target store seven times over two months while he was on the Wizards’ roster. Rollins is accused of stealing house items such as candles, groceries, body wash, and other items totaling up to a value less than $1,000, with his alleged incidents taking place between Sept. 9 and Nov. 9.

According to reports by Fox News Journalist Ryan Morik; Rollins “faces seven charges of petit larceny, a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia.” Punishment could be “confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both,” a state law says.”

With Rollins’s court hearing scheduled for next month, the question remains how could a person who was the 44th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft with a contract fully guaranteeing a $1.7 million salary for the 2023-24 season and $600,000 of his 2024-25 salary, commit theft with all that money. 


Instagram user @vissoelecktra_ comments “He needs therapy because something ain’t right. If he’s making 500k plus per year … there’s no need to steal. Something else is going on.” While another user @allaboutthetea commented “It’s called kleptomania. It’s a mental health disorder, just like any other mental health condition. The ADA stipulates he can not be discriminated against. He needs to get a good attorney and fight to get back on that team. If he was bipolar, they would get him the help he needed!!”

It is important to emphasize that having ample wealth does not justify or excuse any act of stealing. While I’m not expressing my full personal opinion, I can provide information. Regardless of financial status, athletes, like anyone else, can face challenges despite financial success. Issues such as mental health and emotional intelligence are important considerations. Research indicates that some athletes in the NBA and NFL have opened up about their struggles, highlighting the need for support and understanding in the sports community.

Mental health involves the overall well-being of one’s mind, emotions, and behavior, while doing something stupid due to immaturity often reflects impulsive or irresponsible actions without considering consequences. Both are distinct, with mental health encompassing a broader spectrum of psychological aspects. I think the NBA should look into this situation as well as Rollins’s mental health instead of just dismissing it. There has to be more to the story, it could ultimately help things like this from happening with future players if they are suffering from mental health conditions. 

 

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