Kelly Oubre Jr., Wizards forward, becomes latest NBA player to discuss mental health

March 8, 2018 GMT

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. told NBC Sports Washington he has suffered mental health struggles in his life, becoming the latest NBA player to publicly discuss the topic.

“That s--- is serious,” he said. “I just go into a quiet place and breathe, man. Just being mindful is the only way I know how to get through any anxiety, any depression or anything like that.”

Oubre said the intensity of professional sports and the expectation of athletes to be “superheroes” amplifies people’s struggles.

“We’re normal human beings. We face a lot more adversity, a lot more problems... It’s a little bit more amped up, we just can’t show it,” he said. “I feel like people who are on the outside looking in don’t really understand because they see us as superheroes, but we’re normal people, man. We go through the issues that normal people go through times 10.”

In recent days, Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan opened up about his depression, followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love. In 2014, Iowa State forward Royce White was picked in the first round of the NBA Draft but did not make it in the league due to his generalized anxiety disorder, which was triggered by flying, among other things.

“I can definitely relate to it all,” Oubre said. “I’m really good at keeping a poker face because when I was growing up my dad always told me, ‘Don’t let anybody see you weak.’ Nobody sees that I’m weak, but deep down inside I am going through a lot. Hell is turning over.”