Former NBA star Ben Gordon recently penned an important piece for The Player’s Tribune, during which he opened up about his struggles with depression and anxiety, and revealed how obsessed he was with the thought of killing himself. Gordon, who spent 11 seasons in the NBA, explained that his mental illness was present throughout his career but things took a turn for the worst once he stopped playing.
“My whole career, I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But now that I don’t have basketball anymore, the wolf is coming out. Now I don’t care about cutting my hair anymore. Now I don’t care about shaving. Now I don’t care about anything except the thoughts inside my head.”
Throughout the piece, titled, “Where Is My Mind,” Gordon reveals specific details of his struggles both during and after his career, including severe panic attacks that he describes as “like this black cloak got thrown on top of me, and it was suffocating me. But not just physically. It was suffocating my soul.”
“I just thought I was trapped in this purgatory forever. I was looking for any escape from it, and that’s how I ended up in such a dark place that I was thinking about killing myself every single day.”
“That’s how I ended up with a jump rope around my neck, really really about to die.”
“And it’s like I said — I don’t think I wanted to die. But I just couldn’t stand the pain anymore.”
Following his arrest, Gordon was committed to a mental hospital and ultimately ordered to 18 months of therapy, which saved his life. Writes Gordon, “But I’m not perpetually crazy. I had a moment. I got help for that moment. I got to know myself from that moment. And I’m still working through some things, no doubt. There’s still some trauma I dealt with that I’m not ready to tell to the world about yet.” He adds, “If you’re fucking with this story, don’t do what I did. Get some help.”