Five-time All-Star John Wall is seeking a fresh start with the Los Angeles Clippers this season, after seeing his career stalled by injuries and rebuilding teams in recent years.
But what many fans may not have known about Wall's lost years is the personal hardships he was also experiencing.
Speaking at a recent charity event, Wall revealed he had suicidal thoughts while struggling to cope with the loss of two loved ones and his flagging career.
"Darkest place I've ever been in," Wall said. "At one point in time I thought about committing suicide. Tearing my Achilles, my mom being sick, my mom passing, my grandma passed a year later -- all this in the midst of COVID -- and at the same time, me going to the chemotherapy, and sitting there, me seeing my mom take her last breaths, wearing the same clothes for three days straight, laying on the couch beside her."
The former No. 1 overall draft pick, who turns 32 next month, said he found peace with the help of therapy and his support system.
"All those sacrifices, and now having a great support, family behind me, my team, the mother of my kids has been great, my two boys -- is my motivation for me. So looking at all that, I'm like 'if I can get through this, I can get through anything in life.' I don't like to brag about it, because everybody goes through something. We all went through tough times, nobody's got it easy. But I don't think a lot of people went through what I went through, so for me to be back on top where I want to be and see the fans still want me to play, having support from my home town -- the support means a lot. There was a time when I had to go find a therapist. You know, a lot of people think, 'I don't need help, I can get through any time,' but you've got to be true to yourself and find out what's best for you, and I did that."
Wall's run as a perennial All-Star was interrupted by a string of leg injuries, beginning in 2017, soon after he signed a hefty contract extension with the Washington Wizards. He missed all of the 2019-20 campaign while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, then was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook shortly before the virus-delayed 2020-21 season. Then, he sat out last season with the Rockets while the team preferred to develop younger players amid a rebuild.
Overall, Wall has played in just 113 out of a possible 390 games over the past five seasons.
After two years in Houston, Wall and the Rockets reached terms on a contract buyout earlier this offseason, making him a free agent. He signed with the Clippers on a two-year, $13.2 million deal, hoping to resurrect his career playing alongside veteran stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Wall, who starred in the college ranks for the Kentucky Wildcats, has long been active in charitable efforts, including with the Salvation Army in his native Wake County, N.C., where he made the remarks about his mental health.