In NBA circles, DeMar DeRozan is known for his basketball ability. DeRozan is a midrange player who modeled most of his game on Kobe Bryant, and he can score on just about anyone. Aside from his on the court achievements, the 4-time All-Star is also known as a big proponent of mental health. DeRozan himself changed the NBA by speaking out about his depression in 2018, leading the league to launch a lot of mental health initiatives.
Two years later, former teammate Fred VanVleet spoke with Josh Lewenberg on DeRozan's decision to speak out about mental health. VanVleet praises DeRozan and what he's done for the league: it helps people to see that even a multiple-time All-Star is comfortable with speaking on mental health. Essentially, DeRozan started a real conversation on an issue that was often swept under the rug.
Fred VanVleet praises DeRozan for being brave and vulnerable in front of the whole world. As VanVleet says, the decision took a lot of heart. It may have been difficult for him at the time. But by speaking out, DeRozan has helped out many people deal with their own issues. The conversation about mental health is important, especially with a pandemic. It's marvelous that a high-profile athlete brought it into the mainstream.
DeRozan is a good player on the court and a better person off the court. Sometimes you don't need to do anything drastic to start an important conversation; sometimes, you just have to speak out.