DON’T WORRY WE GOT YOU, DEMAR
Raps fans rally after all-star reveals struggle with depression
When Chris Bosh left the Raptors for the Miami Heat in 2010, a young Demar Derozan reached out to comfort and inspire abandoned Toronto fans with a brash tweet: “Don’t worry, I got us.”
Despite four all-star selections since then, while rewriting the franchise record book — and leading the team to its fifth straight NBA playoff appearance next month — the Raptors’ 28-year-old franchise player caught onlookers by surprise when he revealed his struggles with depression.
Fans are rallying to show him their support and appreciation with Project Don’t Worry We Got You.
“Demar is a superhero. He’s invincible. Watching him play, we didn’t know what’s going on in his life,” said Syed Hasny of Milton.
Derozan’s tweet on NBA allstar weekend in February— “This depression get the best of me” — was shrugged off by fans as a quote from a song lyric until he told the Star’s Doug Smith that despite all his fame and money, there are “times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”
“That’s a pretty strong statement from somebody with his stature,” Hasny said of Derozan’s tweet. “His father is very sick and his mother has Lupus. It would be nice to show our appreciation and support for all that he has done for Toronto and his fans.”
Derozan’s comments in the Star drew an outpouring of support from fans and fellow athletes, including Cleveland Cavaliers all-star Kevin Love, who detailed his own battle with anxiety in an online personal essay.
Others quickly responded and they decided to create a book filled with messages from fans for Derozan to see. The response was overwhelming.
An initial target of $80 through Gofundme was quickly passed and funds have ballooned to $1,000. More than 100 people sent in letters of support or shared their struggles.
Derozan told reporters last week he’s been overwhelmed in general by the support from fans and the basketball world.
“The response and everything I’ve got back from it was so positive . . . and it made me feel, you know, pretty damn good, honestly,” Derozan said. “So it’s cool to be able to help somebody.”
The group will continue to accept submissions of artwork, short messages, long letters, words of support and photo images until March 23 at firstname.lastname@example.org. The goal is to hand Derozan the book before the NBA playoffs.
“We want to get it to him before the playoffs so he has something to read between the games,” said fan Judith Wang.
No matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day. Demar Derozan
Aleks Sanjevic was among the fans to respond to the call out.
Syed Hasny made the call out through the Reddit Raptors’ fan group to show some love and support to Demar Derozan.
Judith Wang is part of the e ort to put together a book of artwork and letters of support.
Demar Derozan, the NBA Eastern Conference player of the week, recently opened up about his struggles with depression and anxiety.