Chicago — Project Swish Chicago, led by McKinley Nelson and special guest, NBA player Jabari Parker, gave back to Chicago youth to teach them the importance of mental health wellness through a Foot Locker Chicago-sponsored event.
Parker went in-depth on the importance of upkeeping mental health and talked about how hard it was for him to not “take the easy way out,” like some of his peers when he attended Simeon High School.
“Everything around us is instant. Our phones are instant, our TV is instant, whatever; it’s easily accessible, and that along with money. People can do a lot of things that are illegal and unjustifiable to make an income, so a lot of my peers went that way. I had a trying time in my life because I didn’t know if basketball would be my future,” said Parker, adding, “I broke my foot, and my only way out was to get a scholarship. So, I had a temptation to make some money by selling some weed but, I reflected and stayed true to myself because I knew basketball was all I wanted to do.”
The four-time high school state champion also spoke on the importance of taking pressure off yourself, especially with those he could relate to the most–basketball players.
“The pressure comes from having expectations. Have no expectations. Simply know that whatever you’re doing is going to be added on. The smallest percentage is eventually going to become more, so just add that one percent over and over. Just know that you have to be content with the baby steps,” he said.
Parker and Nelson stressed that prioritizing your mental health is key and it can be more difficult to care for than your physical health. When your mind isn’t working, your body can’t either, they said.
This guest post is in partnership with True Star Media.