New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley said he goes through anxiety and complimented DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love for their public disclosure of mental health struggles, which Beasley says will make young people feel more comfortable disclosing their own issues.
"Hats off to those guys, man. More people than you think go through that. I go through it," Beasley told Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. "It took me awhile to realize it because we’re raised to believe that it’s an embarrassing thing. It’s definitely inspiring for them to be honest about what they are experiencing.
"They opened up the floodgates, they opened up the doors, for the next great NBA player or even the next great scientist. The next shy kid with anxiety can break out of their shell because of this."
Beasley, 29, is in the midst of a solid first season with the Knicks. He's averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds on 50.4 percent shooting and has emerged as a leading voice in the locker room for the young team, something that would have seemed unheard of in his difficult first NBA stint.
"It’s a lead by example situation," Beasley said. "I talk a lot about what I’ve been through and try to get them to do the right things early. I want to make sure they learn the right habits at the start of their career just to make it a little easier.
"Until this year, I’d never been a veteran before. I’d never been with this many young guys. They’re teaching me a lot about being a leader and about being vocal. I’m one of the older guys and one of the guys that they look up to on the team. I try to teach them the right habits and how to handle certain situations both on and off the court."
Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, went from being seen as a potential franchise player for the Miami Heat to being known as an iso-heavy shot jacker who proved more trouble than he was worth. He bounced around to three teams in his first five seasons, never quite fitting in while also having off-court problems.
NBA offers dried up to the point Beasley had to play two separate stints in China. Beasley credited his stints in China as helping him "grow up."