CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love wrote an essay entitled “Everyone is going through something” for The Players’ Tribune website detailing his struggle with a recent panic attack and the stigma of mental health issues facing athletes.
And after taking a long time to write the essay and come to grips with the fact that the world would know something he fought so long to keep secret after exiting a game against the Atlanta Hawks in November because of a panic attack, Love says the response has “been amazing.”
“Without a guy like DeMar DeRozan coming out and speaking about mental health, I probably wouldn’t have pushed ‘send’ yesterday, but no, it was something that I’ve been feeling for a number of months,” Love said after shootaround ahead of tonight’s game at the Denver Nuggets.
“After that November game against the Hawks, I felt I needed to address something and look inward for myself, but also, I thought yesterday was a great chance to be able to help people. That’s why I set out to do it, and I didn’t realize that the response would be like it was or like it is.”
Later in the essay, Love shared a story about his Grandma Carol, who passed away suddenly during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Due to make the trip to Minneapolis to see her grandson over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2013, Grandma Carol was admitted to the hospital to address an issue with her arteries. Quickly, the condition got worse, and after slipping into a coma, she passed away.
“I had talked to a number of people in my life that knew her growing up, and I always wanted to find a way to make her name live on, and yesterday was one of those days,” Love said. “Adding that to the story, it was therapeutic for me, and it was amazing to see a lot of people were very heavy-hearted on that, and just spoke very highly about Grandma Carol.
“Everybody kind of had hashtags saying ‘Grandma Carol sounds awesome’ or ‘That’s just a great story.’ Being able to share that video, I was very lucky to have that and share that experience. It brings more life to the story and makes it real, and I think it will help people.”
Although Love put himself in the public eye as an athlete dealing with mental health issues, after talking with his agent, he is hopeful the story can help others, both in sports and the general population, confront their own circumstances.
“We both agreed that even if you’re able to help one person, and one person not living with the stigma of thinking it’s weird or different to have certain issues every, single day, that this is going to be an amazing thing.”
Since posting the essay, Love says he has gotten countless tweets and texts, as well as more than 4,000 emails from people expressing their support of his decision to talk about mental health and gratitude for helping them find a way to confront their issues.
“(It) just opened the door for other athletes and people in power and influential people just to speak out about this topic because it is so prevalent and it really looks like it was needed,” Love said. “We need to beat down that stigma about mental health and be able to come out and talk things out.”