The life of a professional basketball player looks so easy from far way, all the fame, the millions of dollars, and the lifestyle, but not everything is what it seems.
It was All Star Weekend in Los Angeles, a Saturday at 4:06 am to be exact, when Toronto Raptors’ star DeMar DeRozan, tweeted “This depression get the best of me…”, sending the basketball twitter world into panic mode. Different tweets throughout the weekend proposed that Derozan’s comment was a reference to Kevin Gates song, “Tomorrow”, still being some alarming words to put on social media on a weekend that was supposed to be a celebration for the NBA, even more for DeRozan, who’s a Compton native.
All was a mystery until the four time All Star sat down with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star to talk about his problems with depression, anxiety and loneliness. “It’s one of them things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day” the 28 year old said. “We all got feelings … all of that. Sometimes…it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”
He added that basketball gets him through some of the hardest times. “This is real stuff. That’s why I look at every person I encounter the same way. I don’t care who you are. You can be the smallest person off the street or you could be the biggest person in the world, I’m going to treat everybody the same, with respect.”
He finished by saying, “It’s not nothing I’m against or ashamed of. Now, at my age, I understand how many people go through it. Even if it’s just somebody can look at it like, ‘He goes through it and he’s still out there being successful and doing this,’ I’m OK with that.”
DeRozan has been the first NBA star to openly talk about his struggles and battle with depression, there has been a short list of retired players who have come out and talked about it after their basketball careers, Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West even published a book in which he talked about it. But noticeably, DeRozan is the first player to make that first big step and prove to the world that it does not matter how successful you are in life, depression attacks you in many ways.
In a professional league that needs to improve the way they manage and resolve how they treat mental illnesses, struggling with the cases of Delonte West and Royce White most notably, the Raptors star is taking the first step toward the right way, opening the way for more players to come out and talk about their depression, and at the same time, helping other fans who go through the same situations.