Two decades into his storied career, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is still widely considered one of the premier players in the league. While that is true, his impact has oftentimes extended itself beyond the game of basketball.
Certainly, it is easy to focus on the fact that he is a four-time world champion who has likewise won multiple MVPs during his NBA tenure. However, James is every bit as much of a human as the rest of us are. He is not just a person who excels at his craft.
LeBron James has recently put his human side on display amid the mental health concerns encircling LA Clippers point guard John Wall. Per Damian Burchardt of Lakers Nation, Wall recently opened up about his mental health struggles due to all the tribulations he has endured.
Amid Wall’s vulnerability, James spoke up on the matter and publicly shared his support for the five-time All-Star.
This encouraging tweet demonstrates that certain things are much bigger than basketball. On the one hand, the rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers has intensified as time as progressed. There is no denying that, as evidenced by the oftentimes featured axiom “Battle of LA” when the two teams square off against one another.
On the other hand, LeBron James’ kind message evokes that the NBA is like a family.
It demonstrates that the well-being of a fellow competitor is more crucial than wins and losses when all is said and done.
This is especially true when one’s literal well-being is at stake. Wall readily admitted that he thought about suicide on account of all he has been through the last few years.
The former Kentucky Wildcat was unfortunately out for the whole 2019-20 campaign via a torn Achilles heel. Without a doubt, this is one of the worst (if not the worst) injuries any athlete can sustain.
Let alone that, though, Wall has also been grieving during this time. During the course of the pandemic, he lost both his mother and grandmother. Thus, the combination of his mental and physical health clearly got to an overwhelming stage.
That being said, it is significant that LeBron James wrote what he did to Wall. Mental health is a sensitive subject, to say the least, but is a critical one that needs more attention.
Jedd Pagaduan of ClutchPoints recently shed light on the matter, indicating that we dwell “in a world where mental illness is still stigmatized.” Generally speaking, people are expected to simply bottle up their feelings and always put on a brave face.
However, when it comes to professional athletes, that expectation reaches new heights. Many individuals conjecture that high-profile sports figures have no reason to be sad due to their fame and fortune. Suffice it to say, that is the furthest thing from true.
Wall’s transparency reveals that athletes are just as susceptible to dealing with their fair share of skirmishes. One’s societal status only goes so far because we all carry different levels of emotions. It is embedded in our DNA and hiding those innermost feelings is not always the healthiest route.
On that note, it is pivotal that Wall was candid about his struggles. It takes a definite amount of courage to share such things with others but doing so may inspire another individual who is going through their own set of problems.
Life can be a lot to juggle from time to time. Be that as it may, when it starts to affect one’s mental state, it is nothing to take lightly.
The fact that Wall made the personal decision to open up is instrumental. It will help enable others (whether they are athletes or not) to not feel as alone.
It helps all the more that someone like LeBron James opted to chime in on the matter. His message on Twitter may not seem like a big deal to some, but it carries clout.
It reminds us that despite whatever we might be going through, there is always another person out there in need of support. A simple word or gesture can make a person’s day and can be a potential difference maker.
In view of that, it is always critical to be respectful toward one another. Granted, basketball is a game that is filled with competition, there are certain things that are bigger than the game James Naismith invented many years ago. That very thing is the precious gift of life and is an aspect that should never be treated in a lighthearted way.