James Donaldson had a great college and professional basketball career, a physical therapy business, and many aspirations, even in retirement from sports.

But over the course of several years, illness, bankruptcy, divorce, and circumstances in life sent Donaldson into a dark mental spiral. He found his way back, writing a book about his struggles and starting a foundation to help others.

In this episode, Donaldson talks with magazine associate editor Adriana Janovich about his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, his recovery and memoir, and his desire to help other men, especially men of color, who face the same darkness.

Donaldson, a 1979 alum of Washington State University, also talks about his WSU and NBA basketball career, influential coaches George Raveling and Lenny Wilkens, and how the suicide of WSU football player Tyler Hilinski shook him to the core so much that he sought help.




Find out more

Standing Tall” (Profile of Donaldson in the Spring 2022 issue of Washington State Magazine)

Celebrating Your Gift of Life: From the Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy (Donaldson’s 2021 book)

Your Gift of Life (A nonprofit foundation for mental health awareness started by Donaldson)

Video and more stories about Donaldson at Washington State Magazine


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