It is no secret that athletes want to play.
With millions of dollars on the line, both in terms of salary and endorsements, combined with the competitive nature of most athletes, it is not uncommon to hear players complain about how much they are being used, whether it is in terms of games or minutes or just opportunities within the games.
Enter Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat.
A year ago, after spending most of his career playing in the NBA’s D-League and overseas, and after being released by the Memphis Grizzlies before the season, Whiteside was picked up by the Miami Heat for next-to-nothing. It was a brilliant move for the Heat as Whiteside had a breakout season, averaging 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
This season, Whiteside is proving that last year was not a fluke, upping his numbers to 12.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and a league-leading 4.0 blocks per game.
But despite the dominating numbers, Whiteside’s playing time can fluctuate on a nightly basis. Just in the past two weeks, Whiteside has played fewer than 18 minutes in one game and more than 37 in another, and his 28 minutes per game rank just fifth on the team.
While this might bother most professional athletes, Whiteside, who practiced at a local YMCA after the Grizzlies released him, had a simple, yet great response when Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post asked Whiteside about how he feels about his playing time: —
Considering how short most careers can be in pro sports, it is hard to blame athletes who are just trying to maximise their time in the game. But at the same time, it is refreshing to hear from an athlete who sounds like he is just genuinely happy for the opportunity.
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