Comparatively, the NBA has been progressive for an American professional sports league in when it comes to talking about mental illness. Whether it’s anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, several players have stepped up to talk about their struggles as a means to help fans.
The league is now part of an agreement with mindfulness app Headspace, and guys like Kevin Love to DeMar DeRozan have talked about their journey with mental health. The NBPA has even hired a director of mental health.
Now, Oklahoma City big man Steven Adams is the latest big-name NBA star to let fans into his world and speak candidly about mental health. In a forthcoming autobiography, Adams reportedly talks about his battle with depression and loneliness as a transplant from his native New Zealand. Adams’ father died when he was 13 years old, and playing for two distant colleges (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh) when he was so young wore on him.
Via NZ Herald:
“In those first few months at Pitt, I thought seriously about chucking it all in, quitting America and going home to New Zealand where I was more comfortable. I would say at least half of what I was feeling was in fact homesickness and nothing to do with basketball,” says Adams.
“It’s not easy being completely alone in a new school as well as a new country. The usual advice to make friends and create a family didn’t work for me. I got through it with sheer determination and the knowledge that it wasn’t forever. If it would get me to a career in basketball, I was willing to put up with some lonely, painful years.
“The moment I stop enjoying basketball, I’ll quit. Things were heading that way when I was at Pitt, and if there was one thing I knew, it was that I had to leave before it ruined the game for me forever.”
From the snippets we have seen so far, Adams’ book will certainly be an interesting read. He is never one to hold back his opinions during in-person interviews, and with him putting pen to paper, I’ll be curious to see how candid he is — not just with his mental health struggles, but with his basketball career as well.
Adams’ autobiography, Steven Adams: My Life, My Fight, releases on Monday.
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