Athletes are well known for their eccentricities off the court, but even though some diehard fans and annoying journalists may think that they know everything about top notch sportsman, truth to be told they actually keep their matters quite private, especially if we’re talking about something… kind of embarrassing.
Phobias and pet peeves are something we just can’t help to get as humans, and even though basketball players (and mostly, NBA athletes) may seem from outer space, they’re not excluded from the possibility of developing an irrational fear.
Nonetheless, through some interviews and statements from players, we’ve been able to actually know a bit more about their true selves, their personas and what they desire off the court after they decided to call it a day. That’s why today, we’ll let you know about some of the few NBA athletes that have openly discussed their phobias.
Royce White: Flying
If you never heard about Royce White, it’s probably because he didn’t give himself the chance to succeed during his brief NBA stint as a member of the Houston Rockets.
Thing is, White was actually so afraid of flying that he was never able to thrive with the team, having to spend most of the time on their D-League affiliate before trying his luck overseas, something soccer fans must remember from Dennis Bergkamp as well.
"I wouldn't let anybody know I was having a panic attack. I had to kind of keep it in," White said. "That's how I built up the fear of planes. I'm scared of heights, yes. Planes make me uneasy. Before I started having panic attacks, planes never bothered me to the point where I felt it was unhealthy. Now, I've built up a thing where I feel like planes and traveling, basically represent death."
Kobe Bryant: Dog Poop
This may seem really crazy, but there’s actually something other than basketball that’s able to keep Kobe Bryant up all night due to anxiety, and that’s picking up his dog’s turds.
Crazy as it seems, the Mamba himself stated in an interview that when he was walking his first steps of his NBA career, he got his brand new Jordan’s all covered in dogs feces, and from that day on, he was never able to even pick it up from his yard.
I hate dog s---. I won’t go near it. So pissed when I step in it. I’ve got four dogs and I just don’t do dog doo. I’m a diva when it comes to that. Back in the day when I was in Italy, I used to order shoes from Nike all the time. I had to have all the fresh joints. I ordered the Elephant Print Jordans that were amazing. I went to the park to play and stepped in a huge pile of dog s---. You wouldn’t believe how mad I was. I was breaking off sticks to try to get it out of the crevices. I smacked them together and scraped the soles on the curb but couldn’t get it all out. Ever since that day I just can’t stand dog crap.
Damian Lillard: Statues
Well, Damian Lillard is a guy that’s not afraid of taking the big shot, and he’s very likely to have his body immortalized outside of the Moda Center if he ends up his career in the Portland Trail Blazers as he’s constantly promised.
Ironically, that would actually be the worst way to honor him, as the talented point guard is reportedly terrified of statues since an incident he had at a wax museum when he was young.
"I've always been scared of historic stuff like that. If I see statues of Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. — all that stuff kind of gives me a funny feeling," Lillard said.
Nick Young: Dolphins
Nick Young has made a name for himself as one of the NBA’s ultimate clowns, constantly stealing the headlines but not always for good reasons. Well, not so long ago, Nick Young had a near death experience involving a dolphin.
According to Swaggy P himself, he rode a dolphin that was trying to intentionally drown him because he wanted a piece of his former girlfriend, Iggy Azalea. Well, we know dolphins are smart as hell and that they actually copulate for fun, so perhaps this may actually make sense.
“He went straight down. He was trying to kill me. I think he was trying to get on Iggy. He was a little friendly, kissing her and stuff. He was trying to take my woman.”
But, now is everything ok.
Derrick Rose: Needles
Derrick Rose has one of the most common phobias ever: needles and shots. Nonetheless, things can get wet and bizarre when it comes to the former NBA MVP and a needle, as he actually ends up in tears when he sees one.
For a guy that spends the most time in the hospital than in the hardwood, we’d expect him to be used to that feeling, but I guess that’s just too much to ask out of him.
Rose came stalking out of the locker room, yelling, ranting and on the verge of tears. He only calmed down when team officials agreed to glue the cut and forget the stitches.
“I’m terrified of needles,” he said. “If I would have got stitches, they would have had to stick a needle right above my eye. So I was pouting, stormed out of the locker room. I was mad.”
Russell Westbrook: Loose hair
Russell Westbrook is known for being a fashion head (as well as having a very uncommon fashion sense) but besides that, apparently he’s also a clean freak.
So, if you have a hairy dog or are on the verge of getting bold, please don’t go anywhere near the reigning MVP, as he may lose it if he finds loose hair around him, his clothes or his furniture.
Do you have any phobias? Russell Westbrook: Yeah, like, hair s—. I don’t like that. Wait, what do you mean? Like, you hate when there’s hair lying around your place? Russell Westbrook: Naw, there ain’t no hair at my place, I promise you that. But, you know, if there’s hair around, I can’t handle that. If I find somebody’s hair laying on me, I’ll lose it.
Tim Duncan: Sharks
True NBA fans know that before being one of the game’s best performances, Tim Duncan was a hell of a swimmer. Nonetheless, the Virgin Islands native couldn’t keep up with this sport due to his huge fear of sharks, deciding to settle with basketball instead.
Could you imagine the NBA without Duncan’s impact? Thank god for sharks, man.
With the pool unavailable to him Duncan attempted to continue his training in the ocean, but a deep fear of sharks caused him to abandon his training and give up on his lifelong dream of swimming in the Olympics. Instead, a family friend suggested he turn his athletic interests to basketball.