NBA Players, Josh Hart, Kyrie Irving

NBA Players Say Fatigue Not A Factor Compared To 12-Hour Shift Workers

Still players are often pushed beyond their physical limits.

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart reacted to a question about his playing time and any fatigue incurred during the NBA playoffs on March 23, downplaying any concern by making a comparison to workers who work a 12-hour shift. The implication is that NBA players shouldn’t complain about being tired because they don’t work a job that requires them to spend hours laboring to make money. 

Hart plays for New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, who is notorious for giving his starters extended minutes, which has been referenced several times when the Knicks have struggled this season, and that has continued during the team’s playoff run. Hart, star guard Jalen Brunson, and OG Anunoby played an average of 34 minutes per game during the regular season, a rate that has only increased since the playoffs started. 

While Hart’s answer seemingly comes from a good place, ultimately, it will not end the questions surrounding his coach’s decision to play his starters upwards of 40 minutes a night, even though Brunson is battling a foot injury, and other key members of the team are out with injuries. Hart’s comparison of the NBA’s athletic workers to workers on civilian jobs could be considered admirable, and has drawn praise from fans, but players who are often pushed beyond their physical limits can suffer from fatigue.

Brunson, as The Athletic reports, does not want the narrative around the team’s fatigue or injuries to become an excuse, as he expressed to reporters following the Knicks blowout loss to Indiana on May 12. “We can talk about fresher legs, and we can give us all the pity that we want. Yeah, we’re short-handed, but that doesn’t matter right now,” Brunson said. “We have what we have and we need to go forward with that. So there is no, ‘We’re short-handed.’ There is no excuse. There’s no excuse, whatsoever. If we lose, we lose.”

As Basketball Sphere reported, Hart has found an ally of sorts in Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving. During his post-game press conference following a game 3 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Irving broached the topic of player fatigue, telling reporters, “I think Josh Hart had a tremendous quote where he talked about people having 12-hour shifts and we get to go out there and play the game that we love. I think that hit the nail right on the head for how we feel. That doesn’t take away from our competitive spirit or what we want to achieve as legacy members of the NBA.”

Irving continued, “I want the next generation to have this game as an art space and not just business. You should enjoy the competition and going against the best. I don’t want to overspeak, but that’s where my focus has been. Getting up every day, looking at my kids, my wife, and all the kids playing basketball.”

RELATED CONTENT: NBA Fans Are Heckling Players Over Losing Bets On Games