When Omari Spellman needs to clear his mind, he opens a drawer full of notebooks and pens.
“Writing helps me navigate my emotions more than anything," the Warriors forward said. "Poetry, music, short stories, letters. I write all types of stuff."
Putting a pen to paper was a positive release for Spellman when he had some dark days in Atlanta with the Hawks.
Spellman’s favorite writers are Toni Morrison and Maya Angelo. He said Morrison especially inspires him to examine the world.
“It was sad to see one of the greats go. She has so much that I looked to and influenced my poetry in college," Spellman said. "The last thing of hers I read was The Bluest Eye. Little black girls are told the definition of pretty is blonde hair, blue eyes. That was something that stuck me, if I have children …”
Spellman started taking an interest in poetry in eighth grade. He said it was a time of personal struggle. He felt like he couldn’t trust anyone, and he had a feeling of being lonely even when he was surrounded by people.
Poetry was something he turned to for peace, all the way back to his college days at Villanova.
“During my redshirt year, it was something that really grounded me,” Spellman said.
Spellman shared one of his poems called “Freedom or Lack Thereof" during a vigil at Villanova. He said he can handle playing basketball in front of thousands of people, but reading his work in front of a sea of faces was a big moment.
The 22-year-old said people close to him embrace his poet’s heart. Basketball fans can vary.
“He’s a basketball player, he should be dumb,” Spellman said, recounting some attitudes he’s encountered. “No one wants to talk about poetry, stay in your lane. Shoot hoops. It was really hard for me at first. But I developed a ‘I know who matters’ mentality. If I don’t put you in that classification of people whose opinions matter to me, I just ignore it.”
[RELATED: Spellman motivated to rectify career]
Spellman plans on writing a book when he is done playing basketball, or when he gets to a point where he feels comfortable enough.
“Whenever I get to that level of security, that’ll be when it comes out," Spellman said.
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