Friday night Paul George suffered an injury.
There were videos, pictures, and dialogue being sent to my phone and it made me very upset. I was so emotionally distraught at an injury to an NBA superstar the likes of whom I had never personally seen in my life, and I never thought twice about why I was so torn up over it.
That is, until a close friend of mine sent me a link to this tweet.
We talked for a while, and she went on to say, “You could see heartbreak on the faces of the players in the game…” That simple word, heartbreak, made me truly realize what was going on, and why I felt so sick about the injury.
In sports now, we have unlimited access to these athletes. We have instagram posts and twitter accounts that describe the smallest details of these young men and women. Our desire to relate to them, coupled with our society allowing us access to our heroes, has made the sweetest moments of victory even sweeter.
We get to follow the legacies of todays professional athletes from as early as middle school (i.e Seventh Woods), and when they finally reach the top of the mountain we can truly understand the personal satisfaction they have achieved. We rejoice not for them, but with them. We can RELATE.
That is why, when something happens to an athlete like what we witnessed to Paul George, we have to take a step back and realize just what unfolded.
We have had unlimited access to Paul George since he first entered the league. We watched a young shooting guard emerge as one of the NBA’s best players right before our very eyes. However, it is tid-bits like this one here, that really represent what it is to be a superstar in this day and age.
We do not just root for the player anymore as fans, we support the PERSON. It is one of the more beautiful parts of social media, that those in the spotlight become just like one of us. I can hear my favorite athletes opinion on Game of Thrones, learn what type of pets they have, and even see who they are currently dating. They are followed the same way I follow my friends Tom and Pete, just another goofy fella’ on the timeline.
It is the small and seemingly meaningless moments that foster the best of relationships (I am pretty sure Robin Williams taught me that in Good Will Hunting). When you are able to see past the outside image of an individual and truly understand what pains them, what they love, and how they live, you begin to relate. We may not be in the inner circle of friends for these athletes and movie stars, but we certainly feel a connection beyond the court. Favorite players can be formed from off-court behavior, and young children can emulate the everyday actions of their heroes. It is truly an amazing thing, that we are able to form actual human emotions of attachment and admiration for men and women we have never once met. We do it seemingly subconsciously, and maybe never even realize it is happening.
That is why I felt the urge to share this post. We so often get caught up in the x’s and o’s of the sport, and seldom do we think about these athletes as individuals. When you hear about Kyrie crying and James Harden getting visibly sick, it hurts you in a way that you may not even fully comprehend. I felt like someone who I knew got hurt Friday night, and I felt like it really mattered to me.
These young men are human beings, capable of emotions like love, heartache, and sensitivity. Paul George has a life aside from the hardwood, and we understand that through social media.
I guess all I am trying to say is that I could care less about how his injury impacts the Eastern Conference. I do not care about who his replacement will be. To be frank, the word basketball never got mentioned once in the conversation. This injury, and the reactions that ensued, brought me to the realization that this is truly a beautiful thing we have here. Through the internet, and through social media, I am able to fully indulge in the sport I love.
This man, Paul George, got injured, and the world erupted not for the payer, but for the person. We are so close to our idols that we feel personally upset about an injury that happened faraway, to someone I have never even made eye contact with.
I care about Paul George the person, and even without knowing it, you do too.
By: Mikey Fowler @mikeyfowler18