Last summer, former Utah State and Sky View High star Jalen Moore was preparing for a life in professional basketball.
He had signed a two-way contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Aggie standout played for the team's NBA Summer League squad and impressed them enough to earn a deal.
Then, just as his opportunity to play pro ball was opening up, he had to make a tough call: his mental health was forcing a change in plans.
Moore shared the story of his ongoing struggles with anxiety and panic attacks in an essay on The Players’ Tribune released Tuesday. Moore also spoke about what he’s done to help combat these struggles in the ongoing months after he was released by the team.
Moore, who grew up in Logan, said in the essay that while he was surrounded by family and friends excited for his future when his agent informed him the Bucks wanted to sign Moore, he knew something wasn't right.
"But it wasn’t how I was supposed to feel. Even before I hung up the phone, I sensed something wasn’t right with me. I couldn’t feel the tips of my fingers. And my heart was beating out of my chest. It was awful, but strangely familiar. It was all happening again," Moore said on the Tribune.
He shared how panic attacks, including one on a flight to San Jose for a Utah State game, have affected his life and, at times, caused the 6-foot-8 athlete to seek refuge when those attacks occurred.
Moore relayed that one of the most pressing anxieties for him last year included telling his family of his struggles. Despite the anxiety, which included agonizing over what to say for weeks, Moore said he was able to tell him family what we was facing, and they understood.
"Honestly, it was such a relief — just telling someone. I had been so worked up about telling them. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders," Moore wrote.
After talking with the team, on Sept. 10, 2017, the Bucks requested waivers for Moore, releasing the former Aggie. The Wisconsin Hurd, the NBA G League affiliate of the Bucks, shared Moore’s story on social media Tuesday, wishing him well.
His one piece of advice for those suffering through mental health issues: find someone you know who cares for you and tell them if you’re having a hard time.
"Mental health is real, and can be helped, I don’t think our country talks about it enough. If you have mental health issues, you are not crazy, you are one of many, and every battle can be won!" he said on the Tribune.
Read Moore's full account on The Players' Tribune website.