The Right Conversation with JD DuBois


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By Elijah Murray, Sports Writer


Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach JD DuBois and his organization, Everyone Has A Story, held a special seminar on mental health and wellness this past Friday. The event, titled “The Right Conversation,” was held at the Eccles Football Center during NBA All-Star Weekend. It featured a panel of six people: DuBois, Dr. Corey Yeager, Frank Jackson, Kayce K., Cuffs the Legend and Dr. William Smith. This group of coaches, players, doctors and influencers all came together to open up and normalize the conversation on mental wellness in an incredibly vulnerable and refreshing manner that really brought out their human side.

The two-hour seminar was filled with deep and thought-provoking discussions that included perspectives from different walks of life. DuBois, a former Runnin’ Utes basketball player, founded Everyone Has A Story back in 2016 to “advance and normalize the conversation around mental wellness in black and brown youth.” Sports are used as a medium to facilitate these conversations.

DuBois practices what he preaches and implements what he calls “holistic coaching,” in which he focuses not only on the player but the person as well. Perhaps no other player has been affected by it more than SLC Stars player Frank Jackson.

A hometown kid, Jackson was a highly touted prospect going into the NBA Draft where he was selected with the first pick in the second round by the Charlotte Hornets, although he was quickly traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. Spending the first three years of his career in New Orleans, Jackson started to make a name for himself in 2019 after struggling with a foot injury. After his time with the Pelicans came to an end, he found himself with the Detroit Pistons, where DuBois was coaching at the time.

Discouraged and frustrated with his inconsistent playing time, Jackson came into shootaround one day and put up three shots before DuBois called him into his office. DuBois could tell that Jackson wasn’t his normal self: implementing his holistic coaching and instead of making him shoot around, DuBois sat him down and talked with him to make sure he was all right mentally.

Jackson recounted this event during the seminar and said that it was a pivotal moment in his career and that DuBois helped him frame his mindset and focus on his mental wellness. This is one of the many stories of how DuBois and his foundation have helped countless people heal and reframe their mindset on the mental wellness conversation.

Overall, this event was a shining example of what a talk about mental health and wellness should be like. It was honest, vulnerable, open and non-judgmental, and everyone in the room, be it the panel or guests, benefitted in some way, shape or form. Although this wasn’t the most publicized event of All-Star weekend, it may very well be the one that had the most positive impact on people’s lives and that means so much more than basketball.


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