Fans and commentators often criticize NBA players daily, whether it be because they played badly or due to something that went on in their personal lives. They are in the public eye and can’t escape people talking about them. Some players let it get to them, but New York Knicks star Obi Toppin welcomes the criticism when it comes from players who previously played in the league.
Toppin, along with Scottie Barnes, Tyrese Haliburton, and Napheesa Collier were a part of Bleacher Report’s Next 25 hosted by Dwyane Wade.
The conversation was centered around basketball, media, and fashion. Wade asked the athletes: When former players get on TV and criticize current players, does it make them feel like they are hating, or do they take their opinions as constructive criticism?
“That’s what we look for, from vets and other players to talk to us and tell us what we need to work on to get better,” said Toppin.
Although Toppin says he uses criticism to get better, he also stated he does not pay attention to comments made by people on social media because they are not with him every day.
“I feel like your team is all you got. Everybody there, they’re there because they trying to win. I feel like that’s all you got to worry about. You don’t need to worry about all the extra stuff that’s going on, on social media, or like what people are trying to say. The only people working, fighting, and seeing each other every day are the people on your team.”
Social media can take a toll on someone’s mental health. It is good to know that these comments don’t affect Toppin.
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Knicks fans are never shy when it comes to voicing their frustrations with the team, and at the beginning of the 2021-22 season fans took to social media to share their concerns on Toppin’s lack of playing time. They even started the “Free Obi” movement.
Toppin was asked about these comments earlier in the season and he replied:
“I’m not really a social media guy,” Toppin said. “I’m not on social media a lot. But Thibs and the coaching staff, they’re great at what they do. I trust them as well as all the other players on the team. We trust the coaches, and whatever decisions they have for us, we have to live with it.”
Toward the end of the season, Toppin did receive more playing time. He even had a couple of games where he scored over 30 points. His increased playing time was because Julius Randle was injured and wasn’t the result of social media.
Either way, if fans keep advocating for Toppin to play more minutes, hopefully Tom Thibodeau will finally listen to their pleas.