Andrew Bynum is far from your typical NBA player. His interests are varied, and he’s one of the few in the league who treat the occupation as a job more than as his life’s true passion.
Bynum didn’t play at all last season in Philadelphia due to injury, which obviously caused some consternation among that franchise’s fan base. Now that he’s in Cleveland, Bynum has been playing limited minutes, but he’s nowhere near the All-Star talent he was when playing before injuries set in with the Lakers.
The physical and emotional toll it takes to constantly rehabilitate and work back from injury still weighs heavy on Bynum, even while he’s playing a bit for the Cavaliers. He admits he’s considered retirement in the recent past, and that it’s still a consideration as he continues to struggle with his situation.
“Retirement was a thought, it was a serious thought. It still is,” Bynum said after the Cavs practice Thursday at Temple University. “It’s tough to enjoy the game because of how limited I am physically. I’m working through that. Every now and again I do (think about retirement)…It’s still career threatening. I’m a shell of myself on the court right now. I’m just struggling mentally.” …
“I just want to be able to play without pain and find the joy again,” Bynum said. “Right now I’m battling pain and it’s annoying. I’m not able to do the things I’m used to doing and it’s frustrating.”
It would be jarring for Bynum to give up his NBA career entirely if the injuries continue to limit his ability to play at the level he expects, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising. There’s a reason the Cavaliers structured his contract in a way that would minimize future risk moving forward, and it was due to Bynum’s mental state as much as it was due to his physical one.