"For Me, Depression Is Fake Happiness"

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Welcome to 24, a special series where athletes honor the legacy of Kobe Bryant by sharing 24 truths that have shaped their life. The only rule is no bullshit.

So we had to start with Dion Waiters.

  1. Even the hardest motherf***ers in the world go through depression, man. No cap. You know, I think sometimes the world needs to be reminded that we’re not superheroes. I came from the bottom. I seen it all. But when I go home at night, I’m just like you. I go through depression, just like you. I go through anxiety, just like you. This last year and a half, I done been through it.
  1. The plane incident in Miami? It’s on me. I own that. It was idiotic on my behalf — point-blank, period. What’s crazy is, my whole life I been a leader. I’m not a follower. Pat knows me. He knows I don’t do drugs. But sometimes when you’re going through dark times, you can fall trap to things you’d never do in your right mind. 
  1. I can never lie to my son. He’s six going on damn near 30. He’s on Google all day, typing my name. So when I got suspended, he was interrogating me like, “Dad, they said you were doing drugs. They said you had a seizure. They said you can’t play no more. What’s going on?” I had to break it down for him in a way he could understand, like in his little cartoon movies. I said, “You know how there’s always a beginning, a middle and an end? In the beginning, it’s all good, right? Spider-Man is doing his thing. He’s discovering his superpowers. He’s chillin’. But in the middle, what happens? The hero always messes up. He gets knocked in the dirt. There’s always a sad part, right? Well, that’s where your dad’s been at. He made a mistake. He lost his superpowers for a minute. But it’s gonna be alright. We’re gonna make it through.”
  1. I never had a seizure, though. Ask the doctors. Ask my Heat teammates. They can speak on it. For that b.s. to come out, it ain’t right. I made a mistake, but for someone to leak that, and for my family to hear it? Shit. It ain’t right.
  1. For me, depression is fake happiness. You lie to yourself. You hide things. You’re saying it’s all good — to your homies, to your family, to yourself. But it’s a lie. You don’t want to touch your phone. You don’t want to read what anybody is saying about you. Your body literally feels different. You’re just not you. Don’t matter how hard you are. Hard got nothing to do with it. You can’t bark back, you feel me? Who you barkin’ at? It’s just you
  1. Instagram is one big shitshow. It’s a trap. You score 40, you’re a hero. Everybody love you. You score 10, and the hate you get is just … it’s pathetic, bro. Grown-ass men making fake accounts. Taking the time to really do that. Talking shit about another person’s weight. Not knowing what they’re really going through. And for me it’s just like — look at yourself in the mirror, bro. We all human beings, right? I’m trying, you’re trying. We all trying. 
  1. Everybody in the NBA gonna tell you, “I don’t look at the comments. F*** them haters. It don’t affect me.” They lying, though. Period.
Dion Waiters
  1. When your mental health is a problem, the solution is right there. You gotta turn to the people who love you. I mean really love you. Not the fake love. I’m talking about FAMILY. Sometimes I’d be lying in bed, feeling like trash. And my daughter Dior runs in, seven o’clock in the morning like, “Daaaaaaddd, get uppppppAaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!” Jumping on me, hugging me. And it’s like … damn. I ain’t have that as a kid, you know? That feeling fixes you up for a minute.
  1. You drink a gallon of water a day and you hug your kids? All of a sudden, it ain’t so bad. 
  1. Facts: I played a year and a half on a broken foot, and you ain’t hear me crying. It was surgery or insoles, man. I picked the insoles because I was trying to get us to the playoffs. We knew what it was. I sacrificed my body for the Miami Heat, and I’d do it again. Hell yeah, I’d do it again. But my body just broke down to the point where I could only do so much in a day. Then I couldn’t keep the weight off no matter how much I tried. And then we all know what comes after that: “Dion’s fat. Dion’s out of shape. Dion don’t care.” 
  1. I done made a million mistakes in my life. But not caring will never, ever, ever, ever be one of them, you heard?
  1. This is a business with a capital B, bro … and I’ll just leave it at that. It’s a business and don’t ever let them tell you different. 
  1. Anyway, even when I was fat, I was still getting B U C K E T S, you feel me?
  1. I still got love for Pat. Let’s put that on the record. Still got love for Pat, still got all the respect in the world for Micky Arison. When it was good it was good, you know? But even before this season, we knew it was over. 
  1. When my son found out I was going to the Lakers, he went bananas. Buh-nanas, bro. He’s known Bron since he was a baby, when we were in Cleveland. That’s his guy. 
  1. I ain’t gonna lie to you. Back then, in those Cleveland days? I was still a kid, too. A dumbass kid, trying to figure it out. Bron used to show me different wines, different kinds of food. I was Philly Philly. I was raw. But Bron took me under his wing — and now all these years later, here we are again. Less hair, more wisdom. Life is crazy, right? Damn. 
  1. I don’t sleep. I really don’t sleep. When I was a kid, I used to wait up at night until my mom got home so I knew she was alright. Some things never leave you. 
  1. Philly don’t like the premeditated. We don’t like the calculated. Everything I do, for better or worse, it’s from the heart. I’m differenttt, bro. 
  1. The streets know. They know what I am. 
  1. The best moment I ever had in the league — I can’t lie — it wasn’t even really on the court. I’ll never forget, my girl took a video of the game-winner against Golden State from the crowd. The Philly Cheese. But she was so nervous trying to film it that the camera was shaking and she didn’t even get the shot!! All you saw was a blur, and then my son going crazy. Still, bro — just seeing the look on his face in that moment. Proud of his DAD. That’s my legacy, over everything. 
  1. By the way, my son says to tell the world that he got an eight-pack. I said, “No you don’t.” And he flexing like, “Yes I do. I can add. Four plus four equals eight.” All my analytics people, check his math.
  1. I’m still here. It’s something I think about, I won’t lie. I was eight when my dad got shot. Twelve when my mom got shot. Best friend murdered. Brother murdered. I got homies who got killed who I don’t even talk about. If anybody in this world been through it, I been through it. I done really been through it. Really lived it. Ain’t no fiction. But I’m still here. 
  1. Fifty years from now, I don’t care what they say about Dion Waiters … except for one thing.
  1. That motherf***er was always himself. If they say that, I’ll be happy. If they say that, then I don’t care about nothing else.

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