DeMar DeRozan, Bulls share support for Andre Drummond, who's taking time to focus on his mental health


CHICAGO (670 The Score) – As Bulls center Andre Drummond was ruled out due to personal reasons Wednesday evening after tweeting that he’s focusing on his mental health, forward DeMar DeRozan shared his support and emphasized the need for everyone to take care of themselves.

“We love this game, we play this game, this game has been good to us all,” DeRozan said. “But at the end of the day, you’ve got to worry about and care for yourself first and foremost. Because if you’re not right, everything that you take care of, love and appreciate is not going to be right either if you’re not right. With that, you’ve just got to be able to support our teammate. I support him. I’m definitely reaching out to him, give him my positive words and let him know we’re all there for him. That’s the most we can do and allow him to open up on his terms, what makes him feel good.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Drummond tweeted that he was “deleting all my social apps” and changing his phone number because it was time “to focus on my mental health.” He then stressed that it’s “okay to ask for help.”

The Bulls are giving Drummond all the help he seeks and have resources and professionals available to him, coach Billy Donovan said before Chicago hosted the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday evening at the United Center. The team will give him the space he needs, though Donovan added he was optimistic that Drummond will rejoin the team Thursday for its trip to Charlotte, where the Bulls play the Hornets on Friday.

In addressing the topic of mental health generally, Donovan also shared an anecdote from one of the Bulls’ road trips to face the Toronto Raptors earlier this season. As Donovan worked out on the treadmill, he noticed a gentleman looking his way several times. When Donovan was done with his workout, the man introduced himself and asked if he could meet DeRozan, whom he had great respect for because of his openness in promoting mental health awareness.

Donovan facilitated the meeting at the hotel, and DeRozan spent time with him. Early in 2018, DeRozan opened up about his struggles with depression and anxiety in an interview with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. While athletes discussing mental health has become more commonplace now, it was rare at the time when DeRozan first did it.

“Moments like that, to me, are bigger than playing a basketball game, a paycheck, you name it,” DeRozan said. “There’s just something about it that speaks volumes when someone’s story can help someone else. And when I actually see it, it touched me in a different type of light. There’s nothing but appreciation, and it just shows a different type of empathy that I wish we all had.”

DeRozan is often approached by fans who thank him for opening up about his mental health.

“Every day, every day,” DeRozan said. “I’ve had the craziest walks in life. People come up to me and mention something. When we were playing the Clippers the other day (on Monday), a guy came up to me and said his daughter played college basketball and she suffered from depression and she looked toward me for her motivation. Something like that just goes so far. I’ve even had older people come up to me and tell me how my story helped them. It’s every day, it’s every day. I’m always appreciative of it, and it gives me a different type of strength and encouragement to just keep pushing even when I have tough days and everything. So it’s definitely helpful.”

Cody Westerlund is an editor for and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.

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