Don't ever question Michael Carter-Williams's heart.
In a candid piece published today on The Players Tribune, the Philadelphia 76ers' 23-year-old point guard wrote a thousand words on the pain of losing, making it clear to his critics that no one should doubt his approach to the game:
You can question my shooting. You can question my ceiling. Just don't question if I'm giving my all every single night. Don't talk to me about tanking.
It has been said ad infinitum during the last year or so, but it bears repeating: There hasn't been a single player on the 76ers' roster over these past two seasons who didn't try hard whenever he was out on the court. Moreover, Brett Brown has never prepared his team for a game with the intention of losing.
Yes... the Sixers are overmatched and undermanned when you line them up against the rest of the NBA, but to think that they aren't attempting to win every time that they step out onto the court is ludicrous.
That said, it is fair to wonder about the psyche of a second-year point guard who hasn't experienced much in the way of team success ever since he was drafted in the summer of 2013. Losing takes a toll on even the most strong-willed athletes, and not even Brett Brown can completely nullify the mental impact of a 10-plus game losing streak.
The Sixers' rebuilding strategy won't reap much in the way of dividends (read: wins) for a least a couple of years, so what does Carter-Williams do to escape the mounting losses and incessant negativity surrounding his team? He watches Ellen.
For me, it's all about Ellen. I just think she's awesome. So every weekday at 4 p.m., my stepfather and I pause the basketball talk, grab some snacks and watch The Ellen Degeneres Show. It might sound funny, but this is one of the ways I'm able to get away from the frustration of losing.
The entire article is more than worth your time: It's a thoughtful, insightful look inside the mind of one the NBA's best young talents (not to mention the fact that it includes a couple of well-crafted shots at ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith). Here's to hoping that Carter-Williams's next piece for The Players Tribune focuses on happier things... perhaps even his rekindled rapport with former AAU teammate Nerlens Noel.