Naomi Osaka’s Withdrawal from the 2021 French Open Due to Mental Health

Tarlin and Mike are back to draw lessons learned from Naomi Osaka’s recent withdrawal from the 2021 French Open citing mental health concerns around appearing for press conferences. We dig into this kerfuffle with the leadership of Roland-Garros over her decision to skip press conferences so she could focus on tennis and run it back to recent tennis history with Naomi’s first Grand Slam title at the 2018 US Open versus her idol, Serena Williams. That match is emotionally challenging to watch and it clearly has had a profound impact on Osaka that we wanted to explore more deeply.

Whether it’s the tennis of the match itself, the cringe-worthy umpiring controversy between Serena and umpire Cesar Ramos, the equally painful to watch Trophy Ceremony, or Naomi’s post-match press conference in 2018, we explore all the angles to try to understand and empathize with where Naomi is coming from.

Along the way, we dig into other famously awkward media appearances by Allen Iverson, Marshawn Lynch, Rasheed Wallace, Greg Popovich, and Bill Belichek before concluding with our thoughts on mental health awareness and the recent trend towards its destigmatization in sports. Naomi is taking a stand here as a role model and leader in Gen Z and we want to recognize her courage as we look to learn from the history contentious relationships between athletes like Naomi and the press.

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The 1999 NBA Playoffs, the Cinderella Knicks, and the Rise of Pop and Tim Duncan

Tarlin and Mike run it all the way back to 1999 to cover the season that was shortened due to a work stoppage. Through a series of fortuitous events, the New York Knicks get hot and tear through the early rounds of the playoffs before overcoming the loss of The Big Fella, Patrick Ewing, in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers. Despite losing their Captain, the Knicks go on to beat the Pacers by virtue of the heroic play of Latrell Spreewell, Marcus Camby, Alan Houston, and Larry Johnson. They go on to face Greg Popovich and Tim Duncan in the Finals where they were quickly dispatched as the Spurs dynasty begins to take shape.

What can we learn from this? How do the stories of 1999 resonate with life in the NBA Bubble amid the tumult of 2020? As leaders, what lessons can we learn from Van Gundy, Spree, Tim Duncan, and Pop?

Listen in as we run it back to help make sense of things today.