This post was originally published on and told to Marc J. Spears.

I always enjoy solo time. I’m an independent person. So, part of me always enjoys a little bit of time of myself and trying to reflect and see where I am in life. See where I want to be. Reflect on your goals, reflect on life a little bit. But it’s also been frustrating. It can be a dangerous place to be alone.

You are calling your thoughts a lot. You do get caught in that mindset of questioning a lot, and it’s something I kind of caught myself and try to refrain from doing a little bit because we do get caught up in our own ways and the mind is a very powerful tool. We don’t realize how strong our brains are and how influential they are to how we act, how we think or how we feel toward things.

Being positive is a powerful thing for the mind. If you tell yourself, ‘Man, I don’t feel good,’ you won’t feel good. If you tell yourself, ‘I’m in pain,’ you’re going to be in pain. If you literally sit there in a negative state and tell yourself, ‘Yeah, I’m probably not this. I’m not that,’ I feel like you’re going to experience those things. You’re going to feel those things, and eventually you’re going to start believing that is who I am. That’s what I do. That’s what I feel.


And so, it’s definitely a fine-line balance of understanding why you are [by yourself] in those moments and times and utilizing that time and space in a positive light to uplift yourself, uplift your life, uplift your spirit. Whatever it is that you’re dealing with or whatever it is you’re going through, uplift yourself because your mind is very powerful. And the more you tell yourself, what you can do and how strong you are, that’s what you want to believe. That’s what you’ll start to believe. And you’ll eliminate all the negative and all the not so positive things that don’t need to reside in your life or in your mindset. So, that is probably a big thing that I’ve dealt with the last month, especially with being out being injured.

Not being able to travel my teammates. Not being able to hoop like I want to. Not being available like that is beyond frustrating, man. It’s really hard to put in words. Your most gifted talent that you have is stripped from you. It is taken from you. And so, you’re like, what do you do with it? What do you do about it?

And not just once, but twice. And not just twice, but three times, you know? So, it happens over and over and over again. And I think that’s kind of a frustrating thing, a frustrating state to be in. But obviously you try to find the positives in all that with the message that I’m trying to learn. I’m very faith-based and spiritual. So, God, what message are you trying to say to me? Is it to be patient? ‘You need just a few more days or a few more weeks to get past it, you’re not ready yet, or just be prepared for what’s happening on the back end.’ And you don’t know what story I’m writing, but it’s an amazing one in the mind.

It’s a tough, tough space to be in, but I have a great support system. And my biggest thing is they help me through it all, the staying positive, man. Positive, positive, positive. Trust and believe in the work I put in for 12 years now. Trust in your routine every single day. You put in the work. You know what it takes to be good. You know what it takes to be on the floor. You know what it takes to just be available. So go do that and embrace every step that it’ll take to get there.

In today’s game, every team pretty much has a practice facility. And in the facility, these teams spend a lot of money on their resources, on player development, on training, medical staff, the equipment that we have in there. So as a team that is traveling on the road, you don’t have access to those same things. Not all the time is the home team going to just grant you access to their stuff. That becomes a little tricky, too. So, it’s always best sometimes to just stay back [home] on the road, especially with travel, flying on planes, getting off of planes, late night travels. Especially with inflammation and things I’ve had to deal with.

[Suns guard] Damion Lee is back. He tore his knee this year. He had surgery in training camp, and so he’s been in there every single day working his a– off, just trying to get back strong. A wise man once said, ‘It could always be worse.’ So, I definitely keep that in my mind and my heart and just keep pushing forward. But to see him in there working every single day and being confident knowing that he’s going to come back right, he’s going to be right, that can’t do nothing but uplift me and what I’m dealing with and just continue to propel me.

We share space with the Mercury, too. So, I see the GOAT (greatest of all time). I see Diana [Taurasi] come in there and get her work in there. And I see Big B.G. [Brittney Griner] come in and get her work in. And so, it is definitely cool to be able to get that interaction with them too, in their offseason and kind of see how they go about their work, go about their training. Especially D.T. She’s the GOAT. To see her doing this at 40 years old is crazy and still doing it at a high level, still working out first in the gym, last leave like this. You can’t teach that, man. She is somebody who is etched in in history and still doing it.

So as much as it pains me to not be with the team on the road and building our camaraderie and being a supporter for them, I get some good energy and some good motivation back in Phoenix as well. [Taurasi’s] aura just reads GOAT. I grew up watching her, I share a facility with her now. I get to watch her work on putting in work like this. It’s surreal in some ways. She’s an amazing team.

I always respect women and their ability to play, their ability to teach the game, because my mom taught me. My mom showed me how to shoot. She showed me everything about the game. So, I always respect women in that regard. So, it’s definitely iconic to see her [Taurasi] just in her craft and enjoying it still at 40. This is unheard of. And to see B.G. … Lord knows what she dealt with the past two years. It’s still surreal to see her every day, see her putting in the work, getting better, being a leader. It’s very encouraging. I’m sure we’ll have our time to discuss and kind of chitchat will happen, but it’s definitely motivating to see her in positive spirits, uplifted, encouraging others, just living life.

[Booker, Durant and I] did get one game. The Brooklyn game. We lost to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a good team, too. Then our next game, we played the Knicks … and I got hurt three minutes, four minutes into the game. I come down on my foot and sprained my ankle, and here I am today. But it’s a process, man. We all want it to happen. It is going to happen. I think our biggest thing is just being patient, making sure that we’re at our best. It does us no justice, does nobody any good if K [Durant] is not at his best, Book [Booker] is not at his best, and I’m not at my best. So, we got to take our time, get back right, get our mentals right, obviously, make sure our bodies are 100% or close to, and go out there and make it happen. We know the world is frustrated. They want to see it just as bad as me, trust me. Nobody is more frustrated than me and aggravated as me. We’ll just keep chugging along, building our blocks, and hopefully we’ll be on the back end of this thing here soon.

I was in the arena when we played Washington [in Phoenix]. That day specifically, it was it was literally a tough day. I was on crutches that day and in a boot walking into the game. So, they didn’t really want me on the floor just in case I got ran into or somebody dove into the crowd or whatever. I got to see all of my former teammates, my former coach, Wes [Wes Unseld Jr.], and former assistants over there, the medical staff, a few people in the front office. It was an amazing feeling, man, to be able to see those people again and just feel uplifted for a little bit. But our goal was to kick their a– in the game. That doesn’t change. But most definitely it’s always good to see positive faces and familiar ones.

They played a really good game. Almost beat us. Very competitive. And I’m sure the trash-talking will be crazy when I come back to D.C., too. And it’ll be fun. I know it’ll be. I didn’t really feel weird when we played them the other night, obviously, partly because I didn’t play, but I know D.C. will be a lot different.

D.C., I’m here with you. I’m with you all. There is no moving to Virginia. What is that, [Wizards owner] Ted [Leonsis]? We love you to death. We understand what you want to do and are trying to do. But you can’t take the team out of D.C. It’s Chocolate City. As a league, we need it. It has to stay in D.C. now. The money? Listen, it’s out of my hands and out of my control. I ain’t got nothing to do with that. Hopefully [Washington] mayor [Muriel] Bowser can work something out with you.

I hope the team stays. It’s good for the city. It creates a little bit of a problem, just my personal opinion, if it moves to Virginia. It’s probably similar to how people felt when [the Washington Commanders] moved to Maryland. It is a tough thing. We just got to get everybody back to D.C. just rebuild RFK Stadium, rebuild Cap One (Capital One Arena). Keep it in the city. We can make it happen and they can make happen.

When I first got hurt, I honestly thought I broke my ankle. I thought I broke my foot. It was honestly the worse I’ve ever sprained it or tweaked. And it’s weird watching the replay. I can see step-by-step how it happened. And it is totally out of everybody’s control. [New York Knicks guard] Donte [DiVincenzo] was making a great contest. Just the way of the game, he just naturally fell into my path. It wasn’t a dirty play or anything like that. But it was tough. So, watching the replay, I literally kicked the back of his leg, his calf, and in doing so, it changes my foot positioning in the air.

And once you step on someone’s foot, there is really nothing you can do. It is out of everybody’s control. That joint had a hard roll on my ankle and felt like it touched the ground. It hurt ASAP. I was fortunate. I was able to kind of walk a little bit back to the locker room, but the minute my adrenaline calmed down that joint felt like I just couldn’t walk at all.

In hindsight, it is not as crazy as it looked. It definitely hurt like crap. Definitely looked ugly. Swelled up a little bit. But I’m in a really good space right now. A lot better than what I thought, that’s for sure. I know we got a little timeline out there, but I don’t I think it will be before that.

I’ve played in, I think, two Christmas games (2014, 2017). Christmas games are the best. Christmas games are almost like mini playoff game. Super-energetic crowd. Everybody is there. The whole world is watching. Your family is there. It’s just unbelievable. Your adrenaline is going.

There is no better feeling than playing on Christmas, man. As a kid growing up, this is what you dreamed of. Opening your gifts and then being able to watch games on Christmas. That was really cool. So now I have that opportunity to play again. This is nothing like it, man. I always enjoy it.

I’m going to try to wrap this [ankle] up. In the back of my head, I pray I’m ready for Christmas because my boys love to watch me play. And that’s been another thing that has kind of hit me in the chest this year. My kids are getting older and they’re starting to understand the game a little bit more. They’re understanding when dad plays, when dad doesn’t play. It frustrates them when dad doesn’t play just like it frustrates you guys when dad doesn’t play. And I get it from all angles, man. I get it from fans, I get it from my family and I get it from my little boys.

So, I’m taking it from all angles. All the abuse. But for the most part, man, I’m definitely just blessed to be where I am. And I’m happy that I have an opportunity to be able to play on Christmas. There’s no better feeling, no better gift than that.

I don’t know who’s cooking this year for Christmas. Hopefully my wife or chef, but if not, we still enjoy it as a family. Christmas is always celebrated in our household. We enjoy, understanding what Christmas is truly about and celebrating Jesus and celebrating family and celebrate giving. That’s what we’re all about. Putting smiles on people’s faces and enjoying each other’s company, being appreciative for the life that we have.

A big part of my Christmas giving this year is I did a partnership with the Suns. The Suns did an awesome job with the Salvation Army here in Phoenix just packaging gifts. Obviously, a lot of people are less fortunate than we are. Those that are unfortunate to provide for themselves. And they literally had a warehouse of just toys for these families, and had them well organized in numbers and names and everything.

I thought there were going to be maybe 10 to 20 people max. There was 100-plus people there helping, just volunteering of all ages, races, everything. It was an unbelievable sight to see. It was very encouraging, very uplifting. There’s no better feeling. People look at me as an athlete, celebrity, mentor, and as guy you got to meet and greet. But there were people there who were citizens probably working 9 to 5 who probably do or don’t know me, don’t really care.

That puts life in a perspective for me, and I was very appreciative of that moment. My family was, too. We’re appreciative of the Salvation Army … and just their constant representation of the city and the Suns, too. Because there’s no there’s no better feeling than putting a smile on some guys’ faces and those kids’ faces for Christmas during the holidays.

I hate New Year’s resolutions. Don’t bring them to me. I feel like if you’re going to change, you can start today and change. Don’t wait till New Year’s to change. So, if that’s what you love to do, do it. I’m going to support you and I’m going to hold you accountable to those resolutions. Just like if I had some, I would want you to hold me accountable.