"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,” Lonnie Walker wrote on Instagram

By Rachel DeSantis
June 12, 2020 11:48 AM
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Lonnie Walker
Maddie Meyer/Getty

San Antonio Spurs star Lonnie Walker IV has shaved off his signature hairdo — and with it, said goodbye to years of pain inflicted by rape, abuse and sexual harassment he experienced as a child.

Walker, 21, revealed in an emotional Instagram post that he was abused the summer after fifth grade, and chose to grow out his hair as a “cloaking device,” and as a means of maintaining some aspect of control over his life.

“During the summer of my 5th grade year I was around more family. Some [whose] names will be left alone I was around more,” he wrote. “I was sexually harassed, raped, abused, I even got accustomed 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.”

The shooting guard wrote that his hair was something he could “make and create” and have it be his own, and that it gave him “confidence.”

In a video shared to social media, Walker covered his face as the final piece of his signature long hair was buzzed off. A voiceover outlined the many hairstyles he’s had over the years, including a mohawk in seventh grade and a flat top in ninth grade that grew longer and longer as he started twisting it up.

The athlete wrote on Instagram that as of late, he was not “at [his] best,” as he was plagued with “previous history popping up in [his] head and it sucked mentally.”

Lonnie Walker
Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty

But once the coronavirus pandemic hit, he was able to reevaluate who he was as a person, a reflection he said allowed him to finally find “peace and internal happiness.”

“I forgave everyone even the people that don’t deserve it why? Because it’s dead weight,” he wrote. “Time doesn’t wait on anyone so why should I waste my time on it?”

With that in mind, Walker said he decided to finally cut his hair as a means of ushering in a new version of himself.

“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,” he wrote. “But now better [than] ever. Out with [the] old. In with the new. I have shed my skin mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”

He concluded, “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 [loss]. It’s a lesson.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.