Issue #97 - Digital Cover

Published on May 21st, 2016 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Former elite WNBA player Chamique Holdsclaw shares mental illness battles

Elite athletes are similar to crack teams of military personnel in that they are self-driven, always striving for perfection and when they fall short somehow, they are harder on themselves than anyone from the outside could ever be. Most have a sometimes fatal flaw, they are unable to ask for help because for some reason, they feel they will be perceived as weak and helpless. While asking for help when needed can be difficult or even next to impossible, when they finally DO come to the realization that help is needed and get it, we get a unique look into the makings of some very special people.

Superstar athlete Chamique Holdsclaw, has been in the sports spotlight since early on in her life. As a highschooler, Chamique stood out as someone who would be very special on the basketball court. Elevating from high school to the elite basketball team at the University of Tennessee, Chamique’s contributions to the team helped them to three back to back to back national women’s basketball titles…and then of course, it was on to the WNBA where once again she immediately shined.

All the while this golden child was rocking the sports world with her abilities, she was fighting to claim victory of another sort, her battle with the mental illness known as Bi-Polar disorder. From the outside looking in, a person suffering from bi-polarism, can seem to be a creature with an evil twin encased in the same body. The manic highs where everything is going well in their mind, to the super depression where at times, ending it all seems to be their only escape from the inner turmoil and pain. To me, the scary part is that in an instant, a person suffering from bi-polar disorder can go from laughing and joking to someone extremely dark and violent. I have two children diagnosed as bi-polar manic depressive, and as a parent it had my now ex-wife and myself at a total loss with what to do and how to help our children cope. We dealt with the medications, therapy, violent and self destructive episodes that had our family in total chaos and so, Chamique’s story resonated with me on a personal scale.

Currently, Chamique Holdsclaw is sharing her story and experiences as well as her hope for total victory over this mental disorder via camps and public speaking however, on May 3, 2016, the LOGO channel premiered her biopic Mind Game which is an in-depth look at her excruciating battle with mental illness. We get to understand how an elite personality comes to grips with the fact that she needed help to prevail over this opponent AND that she isn’t alone and abandoned as her depressive cycles made her believe.

Mind Game: The Unquiet tourney of Chamique Holdsclaw, Directed by Academy Award-nominated Rick Goldsmiths a captivating character study of an elite female athlete who refuses to give up. In a review of the screener by Lyndsey D’Arcangelo for Curve Magazine, she says “Chamique Holdsclaw seemingly had it all—incredible basketball skills and height, an affable personality and easy going spirit, and a habit of winning championships.” The article hits on the most important point of how “…she hid behind the basketball and her charismatic smile. Underneath it all, Holdsclaw was locked in a continuous game of tug o’ war with her emotions and mental health.” (L. D’Arcangelo,

I got an opportunity to speak with the champ about her struggles, how she reaches out to young people suffering through their own challenges and how she reassures them that they are not alone.

Now that she’s been able to go through a catharsis of some level, Chamique indicates she’s still in love with basketball and would welcome the opportunity to hit the coaches bench at some point! Listen in and let her tell you her story!

This this is a story you won’t soon (if ever) forget!

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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