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NBA: Charlotte Hornets at New Orleans Pelicans
Apr 3, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor (8) dunks over Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo (8) during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In about 2009 or so, during Countdown to Craziness, someone boomed into the mic “are you not entertained?”

It was from the movie Gladiator of course and the guy who made the comment was bon vivant Nolan Smith.

It was an interesting comment and while he meant it jokingly - there were dunks going on at the time - it was a useful reminder that, as much as we like to think the facade we see is real, and it is in many respects, it’s also limited. Guys play and entertain us but they still get hurt and bruised. And that includes on the inside.

Take former Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor.

We all saw his slow decline but we don’t remember anyone asking if he was okay. Turns out he wasn’t, not really. He was dealing with depression.

So the next time you want to call someone a bum or no good or what have you because the were insufficiently perfect or entertaining, remember that these are people too and like anyone else, they have things to deal with that occasionally affect their performance. Just because two hours of their day is highly public does not mean that they are our playthings.

The good news is that Okafor is much happier now.

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