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The heartbreaking story behind Lonnie Walker’s hair

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Lonnie Walker explains why he grew his hair out — and why he cut it.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Promising young Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV surprised a lot of people when he cut off his signature pineapple haircut that he had been growing out since fifth grade. Now, he’s explaining why he grew out his hair in the first place — and subsequently cut it — and it’s a much more sobering story than his huge, perpetual smile would lead you to believe.

As he explained on his Instagram account, his hair was a cloaking device after suffering from sexual assault as a child.

The real truth as to why I started doing this early 5th grade, it was a cloaking device for me. During the summer of my 5th grade year I was around more family. Some that names will be left alone I was around more. I was sexually harassed, raped, abused, I even got accustomed to it to it because being at that age you don’t know what is what. I was a gullible curious kid that didn’t know what the real world was. I had a mindset that my hair was something that I can control. My hair was what I can make and create and be mine, And it gave (me) confidence. As of recently I wasn’t at my best. Previous History popping up in my head and it sucked mentally “demons” ..... because of this virus, I began to truly look at myself in the mirror and see who I truly was even behind closed doors. Long story short I have found peace and internal happiness through this journey god willingly. I forgave everyone even the people that don’t deserve it. Why? Because it’s dead weight. Time doesn’t wait on anyone so why should I waste my time on it? Me cutting my hair was more than a cut. My hair was a mask of me hiding the (insecurities) that I felt the world wasn’t ready for. But now better than ever. Out with old. In with the new. I have shed my skin mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Life will always be hard. Gotta play with the cards (you’re) dealt with and try and make a winning hand. And if you lose. It’s never a lost. It’s a lesson. I’m gonna be off this for awhile still growing though this. Just know I love each and everyone of y’all. Peace love and happiness

It’s pretty rare for Spurs fans to get such a deep look inside the personal lives of players, and this really touches the soul. It was a relatively known fact that he had an impoverished childhood in Reading, PA, but this takes it to a whole different level, and you can’t help but admire Lonnie even more for coming out on top.

The moment he got here, he instantly connected with the fans and community of San Antonio, and everyday it gets harder not to love him even more. It’s hard to imagine there wasn’t a single Spurs fan already rooting for him to succeed, but now it’s impossible not to. He has always felt like a Spur-for-life, and hopefully this is the beginning of an amazing new journey for him.