“It’s one of them things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day,” DeRozan told Smith. “We all got feelings...all of that. Sometimes...it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”
DeRozan, 28, first hinted at his battle with depression in a Feb. 17 tweet that read, "This depression get the best of me." The tweet was a quote of lyrics in the Kevin Gates song "Tomorrow."
“I always have various nights,” DeRozan said. “I’ve always been like that since I was young, but I think that’s where my demeanor comes from.
“I’m so quiet, if you don’t know me. I stay standoffish in a sense, in my own personal space, to be able to cope with whatever it is you’ve got to cope with.”
DeRozan said basketball helps him through rough periods in his life. A four-time All-Star, DeRozan is averaging 23.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds while leading Toronto to the top seed in the East. The Compton, California, native said his difficult upbringing has helped him abstain from alcohol and drugs and helped motivate him to be a better father to his two daughters.
“This is real stuff,” DeRozan said. “We’re all human at the end of the day. That’s why I look at every person I encounter the same way. I don’t care who you are. You can be the smallest person off the street or you could be the biggest person in the world, I’m going to treat everybody the same, with respect.
“...I had friends that I thought was perfectly fine, next thing you know they’re a drug addict and can’t remember yesterday...I never had a drink in my life because I grew up seeing so many people drinking their life away to suppress the (troubles) they were going through, you know what I mean?”
DeRozan credited his mother as the reason he doesn't judge others, saying she told him "you never know what [another] person is going through."