Every athlete struggles with their process of getting back out onto the court, an obstacle I don’t think many people have faced. For me it’s taken a lot longer than anticipated.
Basketball has been a huge part of my lifestyle ever since I could remember. Take me back to the days where I would pretend I was Joe Johnson; mirroring his every move on the court or playing pick up until the lights shut off. The memories are forever embedded into my brain. I’d give anything to get back on the court to continue playing, but mentally it’s dawning on me. I’ve tried to attempt a comeback, but the movements feel different. Things as simple as a layup, rebound, jump stop, etc. cause discomfort and anxiety. Everytime I pick up a ball anxiety hits my bloodstream and my movements feel off. I don’t move the way I want to anymore; things that come natural or is second nature suddenly have just disappeared from my arsenal.
I’ve seen guys like Royce White, Perry Jones III, and Brandon Roy walk away from the game due to injury and health issues. It’s clear to me that it’s all in my head but, “how do I overcome this?” has been a question that’s taken me months to figure out.
The anxiety got to the point where I left physical therapy early, stopped going to the gym all together, and put on 25-30lbs of weight. It isn’t a healthy lifestyle, but those anxiety attacks are difficult to cope with. I relate a lot to former Houston Rockets draft pick Royce White. White experienced severe anxiety to the point where he couldn’t even leave his room.
Maybe one day I can pick up a ball again and feel confident. This shouldn’t be happening to me at 23 years old but it is. I need the game that took all the stress away to come back to me. It’s like learning how to walk all over again; put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Maybe one day.