"Show me some happiness again" was one of the verses in Shed So Many Tears by the late Tupac Shakur. He talks about struggling in business and the death of a close friend, and just this year I felt like he was living my life. I lost close friends and family to gun violence during my time in Ohio State, and just a few weeks before entering my rookie year as a professional athlete, cancer took my aunt. My rookie season was cut short due to an ACL injury. It was hard for me to look at this situation as a stepping stone because all I could think about was will I play football again?
I called my Mom and she always has a way of reminding me that God has the final say in every situation, and that I needed to put my will to work and focus towards getting back from being injured. Countless hours I would spend in therapy getting probed and tugged on, and the pain I felt from my knee injury was much worse than I expected. I went from crying in front of my sister and having to use a bed pan, to running on the tread mill and being almost 100%!
People see athletes on vacation trying to enjoy life off the field and they have it in their minds that we are taking a day off, but they never have a clear perspective of what our lives are really like. As a little boy, I dreamt of moments of playing on that field in front of thousands. The day I got hurt, it wasn’t just a physical repair that had to be made but it was a much greater mental transition that I am still working on. My family by my side helping take care of me along with the doctors, training staff and a few close friends shows you just how precious your time and experiences are. I walked onto my porch and looked at the pond with the ducks swimming, and saw my mom sitting on the steps crying. "The view we use to have was nothing like this one, Malik," she said to me. We use to have a ramp that led to the parking lot of the project building we use to live at. I always told her that I would work hard to get us out of that place, and although she did most of the working, I realized how hard her job must have been raising me and my four other siblings.
This Friday we close on our first home.
To some it may not be much, but to my mother and my family it’s such a blessing. My favorite saying leaving Ohio State was "your life can change in a year", but for me that wasn’t enough. I wanted this feeling to affect my family and friends just as well as myself.
Follow my lead in my future blogs about my hometown community events, pictures of our house-signing, my big sister’s car purchase, and my little bro walking onto the Shoe.
P.S. They say money is the root to all evil, but with a good heart and the right financial team, it brings to life the true meaning of "living a life full of abundance".