L.A. Clippers' Paul George Says He Was in a 'Dark Place' Inside NBA Bubble: 'I Wasn't There'
L.A. Clippers player Paul George is speaking out about struggling with his mental health while living inside the NBA "bubble."
Following the Clippers' win against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Tuesday, George sat down for an emotional walk-off interview.
The 30-year-old admitted in the TNT interview to being in a slump the last few games, which he attributed in part to his experience of isolation inside the "bubble."
The All-Star revealed he was "in a dark place" after being away from his family and other activities as the "bubble" constantly kept basketball on his mind.
"I underestimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here. I wasn't there. I checked out," George explained to reporters.
According to ESPN, George faced criticism for struggling during three straight playoff games, shooting 10-for-47 during games 2, 3, and 4.
"I wasn't there," he admitted. "I felt like I wasn't there. Shout-out to the people that were in my corner, that gave me words. They helped big time, help get me right, [get] me back in great spirits. I can't thank them enough."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories
Before Game 5, George told reporters he spoke to the team psychiatrist about his mental health struggles, which he said had a big impact on his mood moving forward.
"I mean, I felt it just [at] the start [on Tuesday]," George said. "Talks with a psychiatrist, our team psychiatrist. I mean, I just felt it. My energy, my spirit was changed. That's all it needed. That's all I needed. I came here, I knew what my job was. Left it all on that court. Ready to move forward."
Since coming out of his slump, George said he's been trying to find other activities to give his mind a break from basketball once in a while.
"I just got to find what's going to get me able to check out of the game and check out of just constantly being in that mode," he said in the TNT interview. "All my guys helped."
He continued, "Great talk with Doc. Again, all my family were there. My girl, Gracie, my kids, just so many people that I can name that I've talked to in the past 24 hours that had a helping hand in just getting me into a better spirit again."
If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.