8/15/18 #SameHere Hero: Malcolm Lemmons

Today’s #SameHere🤙 Hero: someone I have great respect for – former professional basketball player, Malcolm Lemmons. We were put in touch through mutual friends, and Malcolm’s life journey and passion amazed me when we spoke. He grew up on the east coast, dealt with a difficult breakup with his parents, lost a number of friends at a young age (something I can relate to all too well), went to college all the way out on the west coast, then traveled abroad to play pro basketball overseas. He always had his eye on being a pro athlete and he stopped at nothing to make that happen.
 
Now, he runs his own digital marketing agency to help other pro athletes build their own brands and transition after their playing days are over (based so much on his own experiences). He’s a speaker, an author – he’s published a book, been featured on ABC TV, and even written for the Huffington Post. Read below how “normal” some of what he went through is…it should resonate with many of you. And despite it all, he’s persevered and made himself a success. He even was willing to share some of the more intimate details of his challenges – for which I’m greatly appreciative bc I know how much his vulnerability will help others!
 
“I saw my parents get divorced when I was 5 years old. Though it seems like a typical story for a lot of African-Americans kids, I grew up without my father in my life and I never knew how much it affected me until I got older. I do remember the constant arguing, the verbal and physical abuse between my parents though. I remember my mom crying a lot and being unhappy to the point where she eventually made the tough decision to raise my brother and me on her own.
 
I also remember constantly moving from apartment to friends’ houses back to apartments in search of stability. I remember not eating dinner at times, taking cold showers and even sleeping on a bare mattress when I was in 4th grade. It was extremely tough looking back, but I kept telling myself that it was normal to deal with the pain that I felt.
 
I became angry, distant and lacked self-confidence at times. I felt out of place, lost and frustrated with my life. I contemplated suicide and hated myself. I was always in trouble at school and never knew why I did the things I did. I would pick on other kids and act out because I thought it was ‘funny’ when I was really crying out for attention and help. I’ve been traumatized by having an unstable household to dealing with 5 of my friends being murdered and growing up consistently getting into fights. I turned to sports because it was the only way I could escape.
 
Honestly, I still deal with the trauma at times, but it has gotten better because I now know where it’s coming from. I understand the underlying anger and frustration. I know how to better channel and redirect it. Talking to my girlfriend, who has also been dealing with trauma from her dad passing away at 16 has been very helpful. Talking with my mom about the past has also been very relieving and has helped grow our relationship to better understand
how she had to sacrifice for us to survive has made me more thankful.
 
Walking and breathing practices have been huge for me. If I ever feel myself becoming anxious or upset. I take a second to walk away and take deep breaths to keep my mind away. Focusing on controlling my breathing has helped me not get so worked up and has allowed me to control my frustrations.
 
I published my first novel called ‘Lessons from the Game’ last year and I detail some of these things throughout my story. Most people didn’t know these things about my past. I think it was extremely eye-opening because there were people who had known me for years, who didn’t know the half of my #SameHere story and what we went through. I credit my mom for having the strength to do what she had to do for us to survive. It has truly made me the man I am today.”

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