“On the eve of his 2020-21 NBA preseason finale in December, Victor Oladipo participated in a funeral for his injured knee,” wrote Eric Woodyard of ESPN.
“The service was held to say goodbye to an injury mindset, which was weighing on the two-time All-Star guard’s pursuit of fully recovering from a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee that required surgery in 2019.”
After returning from injury last season, Oladipo struggled, especially with his shooting. Prior to getting injured, Oladipo was one of the league’s better guards and was known for his blazing speed and defense.
Oladipo feels that the funeral has helped him play better of late.
“I was feeling better, but my mind was so used to protecting me — and being hesitant because of my leg — that I had created a habit of doing that,” Oladipo told ESPN. “And burying my injury and letting myself know that I’m healed, I’m stronger than ever before, it gave me the courage, the strength to actually go out there and perform and not think about the leg. Not defer as much.
“That was definitely huge for my process, especially my mental health process.”
The funeral was held with the help of pastor and motivational speaker Eric Thomas. It involved Oladipo writing a letter to himself about getting rid of his old mindset, as well as burning the letter to symbolize letting go.
“Today I am burying everything related to my torn quad. I am burying and letting go of everything. I’m letting go of tearing my quad and the injury that happened. I’m letting go of being one of three people to ever get the injury,” Oladipo wrote in his letter.
“I’m letting go of all the negativity surrounding the fact that I’m one of three people and the youngest to get it. I am letting go of ‘My knee might not be strong enough to do everything I want on the basketball court.’ I’m letting go of hoping that my knee is strong enough so I can be an All-Star.”
So far this season, Oladipo’s shooting efficiency and overall numbers on both ends of the floor are better than they were last season.
By getting traded to the Rockets in the James Harden mega deal, Oladipo has also gotten the opportunity to start anew with something of a clean slate after just over three seasons with the Indiana Pacers.