Reports from the Clippers’ preseason workouts say John Wall has impressed — and he’s excited to be back on the court. After sitting out all of last season, and having missed all of the 2019-20 COVID/bubble season with a torn ACL and a heel infection, it’s been a long time since we have seen All-Star John Wall playing at a high level.
When circumstance forced him off the court, depression took over his life following his torn Achilles (and subsequent infections), and the death of his mother. Wall says it got to the point he came close to committing suicide before finally seeking help, something he opened up about in a story at the Players Tribune.
“I was this close to taking my own life…
For me, it all happened really fast. In the span of three years, I went from being on top of the world to losing damn near everything I ever cared about. In 2017, I’m jumping up on the announcer’s table in D.C. after forcing Game 7 against Boston, and I’m the king of the city. I’m getting a max extension, thinking I’m a Wizard for life. A year later, I tore my Achilles and lost the only sanctuary I’ve ever known — the game of basketball. I ended up with such a bad infection from the surgeries that I nearly had to have my foot amputated. A year later, I lost my best friend in the whole world, my mom, to breast cancer…
That was when I started going to a really dark place. The thoughts would be playing in my head like… “My best friend is gone. I can’t play the game I love. Everybody just got their hand out. Nobody is checking on me for me. It’s always coming with something attached. Who’s there to hold me down now? What’s the point of being here?”
Wall said his children kept him from going through with it for a while, but even that was almost not enough. Eventually, he admitted to those closest to him he needed help. They got him to a therapist, which started to turn things around.
Wall is the latest in a line of NBA players — DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love are the biggest names — to talk about their mental health struggles. It’s a step in removing the stigma and getting other people, athletes and non-athletes alike, both talk about it and seek help if they need it. Wall stepping forward is a big thing.
And being back on the court with the Clippers, he will have a much louder megaphone to discuss the issue going forward.