A lot has happened in the past 5 days. If you’d told me I’d be going to play in Germany this time last week, I gotta be honest, I wouldn't have handled it well. Once I was given time to think about it though, I realized how beneficial this could be for me in so many ways, both on and off the court. Last year was the hardest year of my life. Pre-injury, I felt like I was playing the best I ever had and believed I was in a great position to make the Spurs roster and be a contributing member to a team I’d looked up to my entire life. Although once my foot broke, that all fell apart and I was left in a really fragile state. For the first time in my life, my basketball future seemed completely bleak and headed downhill. My time in the NBA up to that point had been so up and down. I’d had my moments of success, but I'd also had my moments of utter failure. The position I was in was one of someone who’d been unable to prove myself as an NBA player beyond a reasonable doubt to the powers that be. That’s what made getting injured even more difficult. I was now removed from the game for 16 weeks and would spend the remainder of the G-League season just working on returning to a fraction of my old self. Unfortunately, when you’ve been pretty much sidelined for an entire year, NBA teams are understandably a little more hesitant in providing you with an opportunity.
When my agent first brought the possibility of going to Germany to me, I was very hesitant to the idea. This had nothing to do with the team or even Europe as a whole, but I was struggling with some really unhealthy thoughts about what my life was supposed to be. My idea of success vs. failure has always been extremely black and white. Ever since I was 6 years old, my life has been designed to follow a specific blueprint. Varsity ----> D-1 ----> NBA. That, to me, was the only measure of success for myself and anything that deviated from that was 100% failure. So when Europe seemed like the best step for me to take, I was obviously fighting these feelings of failure and disappointment. I felt completely devastated by the fact that I felt my career was now a failure and I'd let everyone who ever believed in me down.
After taking a couple days to really allow myself to contemplate the option, I realized how wrong my thoughts had been. I talked with the people around me and realized how excited each of them were for me to have the opportunity to play for such an incredible team, and be somewhere I can play the game I love and see the world. Seeing the support flow in from those around me showed me how wrong I was to feel as though I'd let all these people down. This got me to finally confront my own feelings about myself and the opportunity I was being given.
Once I finally confronted those unhealthy thoughts and feelings, it made it easier to start to realize that success and failure isn't just black and white. Just because you haven't accomplished exactly what you set out to doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and it certainly doesn't mean that you’ll never have the chance to accomplish it again. Progress definitely isn’t a linear trajectory. It’s full of ups and down, pitfalls and plateaus. One thing I know is, I’ve felt like I've failed many times in my life, and each one of them has put me exactly where I was meant to be.
I’ve always been a religious person. I truly believe that without my faith I wouldn't be where I am today. It’s always gotten me through the toughest periods of my life and I’ve always believed that God is giving me challenges to overcome and make me stronger. I know that this is one of those times. I believe I’ve been given this opportunity to teach me my own strength and to help me correct the unhealthy views I’ve held my whole life.
With all that being said, I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be a member of Bayern Munich and start an incredible journey. I’m so honored to have the opportunity to play for such an amazing team and compete at such a high level. Although I have no idea what to expect and I’m definitely scared, I’m ready to take it head on.