Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard has a devastating piece on Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson, who in August 2013 was the one to discover his girlfriend Gia Allemand in her New Orleans home, hanging by her neck from a vacuum-cleaner cord. It is a hard, hard read, but there is goodness here—much of it in Anderson's relationship with coach Monty Williams.
Williams was on the scene shortly after Anderson discovered Allemand, who would be removed from life support two days later.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams hurrying in with a team security guard and finding Ryan slumped on the carpet, his back to the door, unable to rise. Williams dropping to his knees and hugging his player, the two men rocking back and forth.
As a crowd milled outside the apartment complex, Williams and the security guard hoisted up Ryan, who was limp and drenched with tears and sweat, too hysterical even to walk. They dragged Ryan to the elevator and then into a waiting car, the tops of his feet, still wedged into flip-flops, scraping the asphalt so hard that his toes still bear thick white calluses more than a year later.
As they drove in silence, Williams kept thinking that it was fine if he blew a game, but he couldn't mess up now. Once home, he huddled with his wife, Ingrid, and Ryan in the family room, praying. Ingrid's brother had committed suicide recently. She knew not to say it was going to be O.K., because it wasn't. "This is going to be hard for a long time," she told Ryan.
That night, as the family pastor came and went, Ryan cried so much that it felt as if he were dry heaving or bleeding internally. Each convulsion ripped his insides apart.
Around 1 a.m., at Ingrid's urging, Monty brought one of his sons' mattresses down to the living room. There the two men lay through the night, Ryan curled on the sofa and his coach on the floor next to him. When Ryan wanted to talk, they talked. Otherwise there was only his muted sobbing. Finally, just after the sun came up, Ryan fell into a fitful sleep.
Williams regularly checked up on Anderson through the spring and summer, and when training camp opened, gently urged him to report, telling him that the routine of basketball and being surrounded by teammates would be good for him. Without fuss, Williams allowed Anderson to withdraw from the first preseason game when he didn't think he was quite ready.
Anderson has since become active in suicide-awareness programs, and hopes that this SI piece will be helpful to someone.
If you're having problems, there's always, always someone to talk to. You could start with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or chat online with a specialist here.
Ryan Anderson tries to move forward after girlfriend Gia Allemand's suicide [Sports Illustrated]