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Heat, NBA stress mental wellness in Disney 'bubble'

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

During the team's Big Three championship runs with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the team brought in a ping-pong table during a playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks to keep the team loose.

"Battles," Bosh recalled last week in his new newsletter, "were intense."

Now, the current group that departs by bus Wednesday for Central Florida is accentuating similar team bonding.

"Whatever I've got to do for the team, whether it's making sure I'm going out for lunch with a couple of the young guys and then with a couple of vets for dinner, whatever it may be, we all have to understand there is a sacrifice in place," center Meyers Leonard said.

Rookie guard Tyler Herro said the camaraderie established during a season interrupted by the NBA's March 11 shutdown should be relatively easy to reestablish.

"Our group of guys, we all love being around each other, and we all love being together," he said. "We bond well together. So I'm looking forward to just seeing how we all react to being with each other for a long period of time. I think it'll go really well."

While the NBA will provide mental-health counseling and a wellness center on the Disney campus, Leonard said it will be essential for teammates to take the temperatures of teammates in a non-COVID way.

 

"I think the mentality and the understanding of being there for others, being of the team, and constantly working toward one goal is what we're going to do," he said. "And that's going to give us a leg up, in my opinion."

To that extent, Leonard said the mental-health checks already have been ongoing, mentioning a string of text messages from Spoelstra.

"We've had discussions for months," Leonard said, "about what this is going to be like."

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