DeMar DeRozan is having one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 23.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game with a career-best 49.3 effective field goal percentage. For the third consecutive year — and fourth time overall — he was selected to the NBA All-Star team, and his Raptors are currently sitting in the top spot in the East.
Despite all that success, DeRozan deals with an issue that millions also battle every day: Depression. DeRozan sent out a tweet with a line from Kevin Gates’ “Tomorrow” that discussed depression and led to an outpouring of support from his followers.
Even under the guise of being the lyrics of a song, the tweet was eye-opening to many and DeRozan recently spoke with The Star’s Doug Smith about the issue and how he hopes to offer an example of hope to those that struggle with depression.
“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 Raptors all-star 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.”
“I always have various nights,” he said in a wide-ranging and wildly open glimpse into his private life. “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.”
DeRozan is one of the league’s quiet stars, and that appears to be by design. Some fight depression by trying to be outgoing, while others find it easier to keep to themselves and deal with things internally. There is no right or wrong way to handle it, but the important thing is to understand that no one is alone in the fight, which DeRozan hopes he can help people understand.
“Sometimes you hear things from other people, such as doing something like that (the Saturday morning statement). There could have been a better way to take that approach, but I got great words from a lot of people,” he said.
“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.”
The Raptors star’s tweet and subsequent discussion of depression can hopefully continue to shed light on the pervasiveness of the problem and also help those dealing with depression to understand they aren’t alone. He also can hopefully help strip away the stigma of depression and prove that even highly successful people deal with it too, and that it’s okay to discuss it and seek help.