<
>

Raptors' DeMar DeRozan opens up about bouts with depression

play
The rise of DeRozan (0:59)

Relive DeMar DeRozan's hoops career from his early days at USC to his draft day and now dominating with the Raptors. (0:59)

Toronto Raptors' star DeMar DeRozan posted a subtle but poignant tweet over All-Star Weekend.

Sunday, he explained it in an interview with The Toronto Star.

DeRozan, 28, discussed his bouts with depression in a wide-ranging interview with the paper, saying they can often become overwhelming.

"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 The Star. "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, in his ninth season in the NBA since being chosen ninth overall by Toronto in the 2009 draft, has helped put the Raptors atop the Eastern Conference with the third-best record in the NBA at 41-17, behind only the Houston Rockets at 46-13 and Golden State Warriors at 46-14.

He was selected an All-Star for the third straight season by following up a career season with another stellar effort -- averaging just over three points less than his career best of 27.3 while already making four more 3-pointers with 68 than his previous career best of 2013-14.

"I always have various nights," DeRozan said. "I've always been like that since I was young, but I think that's where my demeanour 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."

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, in a recent interview with SB Nation, said the union had negotiated a pact in the most recent collective bargaining agreement for the league to devote resources to a mental-wellness program after the issue of players' mental health had been given short shrift for too long.

"We've been naive -- I'm being kind when I say naive -- in thinking that we didn't have to address and make sure that we were giving as much attention to our players' mental wellness, as we were their physical," Roberts told the website, adding they were close to hiring a director for the program and had previously hoped to have the program in place by the All-Star break earlier this month.

"We're working on it," Roberts said. "But it's a shame that this hasn't been given attention a long, long time ago."

For his part, DeRozan said his experiences have helped shape how he treats people -- in all walks of life.

"This is real stuff," he 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.

"My mom always told me: Never make fun of anybody because you never know what that person is going through. Ever since I was a kid, I never did. I never did. I don't care what shape, form, ethnicity, nothing. I treat everybody the same. You never know."

DeRozan added he has received an encouraging amount of support in the wake of his tweet.

"It's not nothing I'm against or ashamed of," DeRozan said. "Now, at my age, I understand how many people go through it. Even if it's just somebody can look at it like, 'He goes through it and he's still out there being successful and doing this.' I'm OK with that."