San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV recently revealed that he used his former hairstyle as a "cloaking device" to cover up pain stemming from childhood sexual abuse. 🙏
Alongside a video of him describing his evolving hairstyle over the years, the 21-year-old shared an introspective post detailing the real reason why he's been growing his hair out since 5th grade.
"During the summer of my 5th grade year I was around more family," he wrote. "Some that names will be left alone I was around more. I was sexually harassed, raped, abused, I even got accustomed to it because being at that age you don’t know what is what.
"I was a gullible curious kid that didn’t know what the real world was. I had a mindset that my hair was something that I can control."
Unfortunately, Walker admitted that he "wasn’t at my best" as of late, with "demons" making their way back into his head. Yet, the coronavirus forced him to confront and embrace his true self.
"Long story short I have found peace and internal happiness through this journey god willingly," Walker wrote. "I forgave everyone even the people that don’t deserve it why? Because it’s dead weight. Time doesn’t wait on anyone so why should I waste my time on it ?
"Me cutting my hair was more than a cut. My hair was a mask of me hiding the insecurity’s that I felt the world wasn’t ready for."
Before telling followers that he was going to be logging off for a minute, Walker offered a final message of positivity: "Life will always be hard. Gotta play with the cards your dealt with and try and make a winning hand. And if you lose. It’s never a lost. It’s a lesson."
Now, the second-year player out of the University of Miami is rocking a hook part on his hairline and a cross shaved into the back.
Teammate Bryn Forbes commented with his show of support: "So much respect for you brother 🙏🏽."
NBA All-Stars like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have helped destigmatize mental health across the league in recent years.
In a March 2018 piece for The Players' Tribune, Love described having a panic attack in the middle of a game and the way he was conditioned to approach mental health "as someone else's problem." He was partially inspired to share his own experiences after DeRozan admitted to struggling with depression.