Josh Richardson began therapy during ‘hardest’ year of NBA career: ‘I do not feel like playing tonight’

Jonathan Sherman
4 Min Read
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Time in the NBA can be difficult for players, with the constant pressure to perform to remain relevant and in the rotation surely creating a stressful lifestyle.

Veteran Josh Richardson recently opened up about the struggles he’s faced during his career and explained how his time with the Dallas Mavericks led him to seek therapy to work through his struggles.

The topic came up while Richardson was discussing his learning curve while playing with Luka Doncic in Dallas.

“Honestly, probably just keeping your mental in check, because that was the year I really, that was probably my hardest year in the league…from just a mental standpoint and approaching the game,” he said when asked what his learning curve was in his lone season in Dallas. “I was waking up some mornings like, ‘Bro, I can’t even, I don’t even feel like going in today.’ We got a game tonight, and I’m like, ‘I do not feel like playing tonight.'”

Richardson was then asked if his mental struggles had to do with what was going on in Dallas or something else.

“Little of both,” he said. “… And you know you know when something starts happening, it’s always a domino effect. Something else is gonna pop up, and it’s like, ‘Damn, I gotta catch a break.’ And so I feel like I learned, I feel like I grew the most off the court and mentally in Dallas. I was getting into therapy. … Do not look at therapy in a negative light. … And I grew up in Oklahoma in the South, so it’s like, over there it’s like, ‘Be a man. You don’t have emotions. Just figure it out.'”

Later in the interview, Richardson admitted that he enjoyed playing on Dallas the least so far in his career. However, he added that he also grew a lot during that time.

“But it’s almost like it was the most important team, the most important year,” he said of the Mavericks. “But it was, yeah, it was the hardest for me, for sure.”

These days, Richardson is back where it all started for him in the NBA, with the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, Richardson missed the final portion of the 2023-24 NBA season after suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery.

He wasn’t able to take part in Miami’s short-lived playoff run.

Injuries can be a difficult mental hurdle for professional athletes to overcome. They are forced to stop playing the game that they love, and they are often separated from teammates to focus on rehab while the rest of the roster practices and prepares for upcoming matchups.

Luckily, it sounds like Richardson has done the mental work to put himself in a better position.

As for his future, Richardson currently has a decision to make regarding a player option for the second year of his current contract. He’ll make just over $3 million with Miami if he decides to exercise that option.

If he doesn’t, he’ll hit the open market.

Given the fact that Richardson later said that Miami is one of the favorite places he’s played in during his career, it seems quite plausible that he will opt to stick around for another year.

Hopefully, he can stay healthy and continue to grow on and off the court in the upcoming campaign.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.