DeMar DeRozan was the first major USA athlete to speak publicly about his depression. His impact destigmatized mental health in sports forever.
During All Star weekend 2018, DeMar posted a tweet that said: ‘This depression get the best of me,’. It kick-started a dialogue across North America about mental health and athletes. In the days following this, Kevin Love wrote an article on the Players Tribune about his own issues.
Often, it is believed that sportspersons are very happy in life given their ability to lead a great lifestyle. They seem to have glamorous lives with money and fame, so few bother looking under their hood. We forget that they are regular people just like everyone else sometimes.
Fred van Vleet explains the role of DeMar DeRozan in destigmatizing depression
Speaking to Josh Lewenberg of ESPN, Raptors guard and former DeRozan teammate Fred van Vleet had a lot to say:
“He changed a billion dollar business. He changed it pretty much single-handedly (by) speaking out. And then obviously a lot of guys felt more comfortable, and that’s what it’s about. So for him to do that was huge and we won’t know the impact, we’ll never know the impact, but we just know that it’s a great impact that he had on the league and on the guys, on players, coaching staff, whoever — that this is DeMar DeRozan and he goes through s* ** like everybody else.”
More VanVleet on mental health and the impact of DeRozan speaking out: “This is DeMar DeRozan and he goes through s*** like everybody else. I think that was big for him. It took a lot of guts and a lot of heart, and it’s something that helped me in my personal life.” pic.twitter.com/9nM2qMcKM0
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 26, 2020
Van Vleet also ascribed to Deebo the role of an early career mentor to him:
“He’s one of those pivotal guys in my career on and off the court… He’s really, really, really high on my list, just as a friend and guy that I’ve grown close to over the last few years. Obviously, I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”