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Metta World Peace on Mental Health Awareness

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Jaime Maggio sits down with Metta World Peace to discuss mental health awareness in light of Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open

Video Transcript

JAIME MAGGIO: In light of the news that Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open yesterday--

METTA WORLD PEACE: Yeah.

JAIME MAGGIO: --as a move to preserve her own mental health. Can you speak to, I guess, her bravery in stepping up and allowing herself to be vulnerable and divulging that personal information to a world stage?

METTA WORLD PEACE: I think it's big, you know. I think for her to almost retire for a period of time, you know, to protect herself, I think that's big. And that was something I've experienced when I was 23 when I was wanting to retire from the NBA when I was at the peak of my career. You know, and I just think-- I just want to commend here and I want to, you know, just congratulate her and encourage her to, you know, to get better, and then come back.

JAIME MAGGIO: You know, it all sort of started with her reluctance to do the post match press conference. As someone who has been very open about your own mental health concerns, and as someone who as a professional athlete has dealt with the media a number of times, what can you say about I suppose the scrutiny that comes from dealing with the media and having to go through that?

METTA WORLD PEACE: Well, I think it's better now. Because back in the days when I came in 1999, I knew I was kind of feeling a certain way internally. And then I was-- I was not as-- I didn't want to tell people that I was feeling depressed or had anxiety in 1999.

This is 2021, and everybody accepts it, you know, a little bit easier. Whereas before, they would probably say, oh, that person's kind of crazy. You know, people know that we have issues, and I think she'll be OK.

JAIME MAGGIO: And it's certainly important to continue the conversation and to take away the stigma.

METTA WORLD PEACE: Yeah, absolutely. It's very important to continue it. You know, she's human, we're only human. And whether you're an athlete or whether you're a worker, you know, you might be going through something. And it's very important that we support each other.