How poetry helped Warriors' Omari Spellman get through dark days

How poetry helped Warriors' Omari Spellman get through dark days

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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Warriors' Eric Paschall recalls 'Whoa' moment of strong rookie season

Warriors' Eric Paschall recalls 'Whoa' moment of strong rookie season

One of the best moments of this forgettable Warriors' season happened in Game No. 7.

Rookie Eric Paschall celebrated his 23rd birthday on Nov. 4, 2019 by scoring 34 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the Warriors' 127-118 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was a bright spot for a team that left the arena that night 2-5 on the season and would post just 13 more wins before the season was suspended due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

During an Instagram Live "Ask Me Anything" interview with 95.7 The Game's Whitley Sandretto, Paschall was asked for his favorite moment of this season.

"Definitely my game on my birthday," Paschall said. "I mean, can't complain about that day, I had 34 points, so I would definitely say that was my favorite game."

That was the coming out party for the No. 41 overall draft pick.

Fans at Chase Center were chanting "MVP" for the rookie in his seventh game. It was a surreal moment for Paschall.

"That was probably one of the wildest things ever," Paschall said. "Again, a rookie, it's like, what was that, my fourth or fifth game? I don't know. It was very early and I'm getting MVP chants. I was like 'Whoa. This is a little crazy.' But it was cool. Again, I feel like Dub Nation has the best fans in the country, so I'm not complaining about it at all."

[RELATED: Paschall refuses to bash Kerr]

For the Warriors, it was mostly a lost season chalked up to major injuries to two superstars. But the development of Paschall is why it wasn't a completely lost season.

Mychal Mulder shares details of night Warriors offered 10-day contract

Mychal Mulder shares details of night Warriors offered 10-day contract

On Feb. 25, 2020, former Warriors guard Jarrett Jack made a free throw with one second remaining to lift the Sioux Falls Skyforce to a 100-99 win over the Austin Spurs in an intense G League battle.

Sioux Falls shooting guard Mychal Mulder did not have a memorable performance -- 11 points (4-for-12 overall, 2-for-10 3s), nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and two turnovers in over 32 minutes of action.

But his life changed forever later that night when he got a call from Kent Lacob of the Golden State Warriors.

"We just got done playing a game maybe a couple hours before, and I had a couple of my teammates at the house," Mulder explained to SportsByline. "We were just hanging around playing "UNO" (the card game) -- normal decompression stuff like that. Just hanging out, talking about the game -- it was close. Jarrett Jack actually game'd it for us -- winning on a free throw.

"And we're all just sitting there talking about that, and my phone rings from a number I didn't recognize so I didn't answer it. And then I got a text that was like, 'Hey Mike. This is Kent (Lacob) from Golden State. Sorry to call you so late but it's time-sensitive so give me a shout when you can.' Obviously I picked my phone up immediately and called.

"He's like, 'I have some good news for you.' And I just started smiling immediately because him calling my phone already is good news to me. There couldn't have been any negative aspect to that. So when he said they were ready to offer a 10-day (contract), that was something that was really satisfying for me -- a moment that I had been waiting on since I turned pro.

"To have it be with the Golden State Warriors -- it couldn't have been a better fit. Me and my teammates were in the house yelling and getting excited. And then I got to call my parents and tell them I finally got the call. That was special and I don't think I'll ever forget that."

Mulder certainly made the most of his opportunity.

After a non-descript NBA debut vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 27, he averaged 14.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists over the next five games, while shooting 40 percent from 3-point territory.

The 25-year-old was rewarded with a contract through the remainder of the season -- plus non-guarantees in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

[RELATED: Paschall refuses to bash Kerr when baited by Jefferson]

Unfortunately, the NBA season was suspended just before the Warriors were about to play road games against the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons. Mulder grew up just outside the "Motor City."

"He finally made it and we were getting ready to play games in Toronto and Detroit -- where he was gonna have tons of family -- and celebrate his accomplishments," coach Steve Kerr said two weeks ago. "He was having the time of his life."

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