Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan publicly discussed his long battle with depression and anxiety in an interview with the Toronto Star published on Sunday.
Source: Associated Press
DeRozan stunned people leading up to the February 18 All-Star Game in Los Angeles when he Tweeted in the early hours of February 17: "This depression get the best of me..."
The four-time All-Star guard told the Star edition that he has been dealing with the issues since he was a child growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton.
"It's not nothing I'm against or ashamed of," DeRozan told the Star.
"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 said he doesn't drink alcohol and attempts to fill his time with family and basketball to help cope with the demons.
"This is real stuff," DeRozan said.
"We're all human at the end of the day. 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.
"My mum always told me, 'Never make fun of anybody because you never know what that person is going through'.
"Ever since I was a kid, I never did. I never did.
"I don't care what shape, form, ethnicity, nothing. I treat everybody the same.
"You never know."
DeRozan would appear to be trouble-free judging by his production.
The 28-year-old is averaging 23.9 points for a Toronto team that possesses the best record in the eastern conference at 41-17.
But when he's away from the game and not working on his craft, things such as depression, anxiety and loneliness creep in.
Like it did during the celebratory NBA All-Star Weekend.
"I always have various nights," DeRozan said.
"I've always been like that since I was young, but I think that's where my demeanour comes from.
"I'm so quiet, if you don't know me.
"I stay standoffish in a sense, in my own personal space, to be able to cope with whatever it is you've got to cope with."
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