San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV recently cut off his signature hair earlier this week, but it meant more than just cutting his hair, it was an attempt to free himself from a painful past with a bit of self-therapy.
Walker, 21, said that he started to grow out his hair when he was in middle school after being sexually abused as a child, per his official Instagram page.
“The real truth as to why I started doing this early 5th grade, it was a cloaking device for me,” Walker wrote while describing his hairstyles over the years in a video posted to Instagram. “During the summer of my 5th grade year I was around more family. Some [whose] names will be left alone I was around more.
“I was sexually harassed, raped, abused. I even got accustomed to it because being at that age, you don’t know what is what. I was a gullible, curious kid that didn’t know what the real world was. I had a mindset that my hair was something that I can control. My hair was what I can make and create and be mine. And it gave [me] confidence.”
“As of recently, I wasn’t at my best,” he wrote. “Previous history popping up in my head and it sucked mentally. ‘Demons’… Because of this virus, I began to truly look at myself in the mirror and see who I truly was, even behind closed doors.
“Long story short I have found peace and internal happiness through this journey, god willingly. I forgave everyone, even the people that don’t deserve it. Why? Because it’s dead weight.
“Time doesn’t wait on anyone so why should I waste my time on it? Me cutting my hair was more than a cut. My hair was a mask of me hiding the insecurities that I felt the world wasn’t ready for. But now, [I am] better than ever. Out with [the] old. In with the new. I have shed my skin mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
“Life will always be hard. Gotta play with the cards you’re dealt with and try and make a winning hand. And if you lose. It’s never a loss. It’s a lesson.”
“This is something that Lonnie has been dealing with for some time,” Walker’s agent, George Langberg, said in a statement, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“Being able to share this shows tremendous strength and courage, while also lifting a weight off of Lonnie. It is his hope that by opening up, it will help anyone who reads his story that may have been sexually abused in the past, or anyone who may be going through something similar now, to know that they are not alone. Lonnie appreciates the outpouring of support and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy at this time.”