OKC Thunder’s Steven Adams reveals his struggles with depression
Over the past few years, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams has become something of an adopted home-town hero. Though he is a New Zealand native, Oklahomans have come to love his feats on the court and his good-natured goofiness off the court.
However, even his biggest fans may be surprised to learn Adams struggled with depression not long before he joined the Thunder.
In his new autobiography, “Steven Adams: My Life, My Fight,” – out today – the star athlete says he struggled with depression stemming from the loss of his dad.
“After my dad died, I didn’t have [the fight],” Adams said. “I knew I wanted to do something but I just didn’t know what that thing was. And if a purpose hadn’t come along soon, I would have started looking for something, anything, to feel a high. When I think back, I realize that I was actually very lonely and, if I’m honest, probably a little depressed. No one had told us how to cope with grief. We didn’t see a counsellor or go to any therapy sessions.”
“The moment I stop enjoying basketball, I’ll quit. Things were heading that way when I was at Pitt, and if there was one thing I knew, it was that I had to leave before it ruined the game for me forever.”
Adams played at the University of Pittsburgh for one season before being the Thunder’s first-round draft pick in 2013.
Looking back, Adams says he is happy that he fought through those hard months at Pittsburgh. Still, it took a lot of effort to push through his grief and general isolation as a foreigner in a new country.
“Right now, I’m happy,” Adams says. “I have a dream job where I get to do what I love every day. I like my teammates, which is a big bonus. I have my own space where I can relax and have fun. But the main reason I’m happy is because I have my fight.”
“In those first few months at Pitt, I thought seriously about chucking it all in, quitting America and going home to New Zealand where I was more comfortable,” Adams said. “I would say at least half of what I was feeling was in fact homesickness and nothing to do with basketball.
“It’s not easy being completely alone in a new school as well as a new country. The usual advice to make friends and create a family didn’t work for me. I got through it with sheer determination and the knowledge that it wasn’t forever. If it would get me to a career in basketball, I was willing to put up with some lonely, painful years.”
Since joining the Thunder, Adams has been a force to be reckoned with. But, no matter how powerful of an athlete or strong of a man he is, Adams shows that depression is something that can affect anyone and there is always a path to recovery.