By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In light of the announcement by tennis player, Naomi Osaka, that she would not be attending the French Open to focus on her mental health, Metta World Peace talked about how far mental health awareness has come in sports in the last 20 years.

In an interview with CBSLA, the basketball legend said he struggled with anxiety and depression in the late 1990s while he was playing for the Chicago Bulls.

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“I wanted to retire from the NBA at age 23 when I was at the peak of my career,” he said when opening up about the stress of playing professional basketball. “In 1999, I knew I was feeling a certain way internally but I didn’t want to tell people I was feeling depressed or having anxiety.”

He said it is different now in 2021, where more people accept that professional athletes can have their own internal struggles.

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“For Noami to almost retire for a period of time to protect herself, I think that is big,” he said. “I want to encourage her to get better and then come back.”