It was just over three years ago when Jahlil Okafor was considered one of the blue-chip prospects in the 2015 draft. The Duke star was selected third overall by the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds per game as a rookie.
However, his old-school style limited his ability to play alongside standout teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and his role was reduced to the point that he was essentially donated to the Brooklyn Nets midway through his third season. Still only 22 years old, Okafor wrapped up 2017-18 with 6.3 points and three rebounds per game over 28 appearances.
Now, after signing a two-year minimum contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, Okafor appears to have redoubled his commitment to himself. He took to Instagram on Friday to show off a new, noticeably toned physique while opening up about his mental health.
In addition to his personal trainers, Okafor thanked Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love for the part he played in elevating the dialogue around mental health. Love wrote a personal essay for The Players' Tribune in March that revealed his own struggles with anxiety, something Okafor could relate to as a fellow big man.
"Often times because of my size and profession people may view me in a certain way, but in reality I deal with the same struggles as countless others," Okafor wrote. "Mental health awareness is a cause I will fight for the rest of my life and if you're struggling today don't be afraid to speak with someone and seek help."