CLEVELAND -- For more than three months, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love did what he could to prevent his teammates from finding out he experienced a panic attack in a November game against the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.
But after months of fighting, Love penned an essay “Everyone is going through something” for The Players’ Tribune Tuesday, and while addressing the media prior to Wednesday’s win at the Denver Nuggets, he said the response from teammates has been unbelievable.
“It’s been universally positive, and I think one of those reasons is mental health doesn’t discriminate,” Love said. “It affects really each and every one of us, and I mentioned it all in the article and the headline of it is that.”
During his press conference, Love cited conversations he has had with Kyle Korver, LeBron James and Jose Calderon since the essay went public as evidence to the fact that his words resonated and made an impact.
“Everybody is going through something, so I think whether it was talking to Kyle about parenting his kids and how he has two young boys or just talking to LeBron, he shook my hand and said, ‘Man, you helped a lot of people today,’” Love said. “That’s what’s big, and just them even acknowledging that and retweeting that and just breathing more life into it is huge.
“I mentioned it doesn’t discriminate, but in a lot of ways, young men and young boys are pretty far behind, so that was pretty apparent in talking to guys and talking to someone like Jose, who sits next to me on the plane. There’s a lot of follow-ups to this.
“Overwhelming is a good word to use, and I mean that in a positive way, a positive connotation, but I’m just trying to read through all of the emails, all of the texts and respond to everybody in the right way. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I’m really glad this is out there and glad I can help.”
By writing the essay, Love became a public face of the mental health discussion, and he feels it was needed to live a better, healthier lifestyle.
“It wasn’t just the singular panic attack I had in November,” Love said. “It was some deep-seeded stuff that needed to come out and I needed to address, and I’m better for it. I’m better for seeing someone and being more open and better to the people in my life.
“I think the fact that it does ring home to me and is so close and near-and-dear to my heart and the people around me, I’m more than willing to help people. Like Kyle and I mentioned, this could be life work not only for myself, but a number of guys that are gonna step up in the process.”
Although Love is one of a small group of athletes and public figures who has shared their stories with the world, he believes more people will join the movement in order to help themselves and others.
“I think mental health plays just such a big part in all of this, and that’s pretty apparent,” Love said. “I think it’s very therapeutic and a lot of people will step up, and I’m not going to say do the right thing, but tell their stories in order to help the next person. In a lot of ways, it’s paying it forward.”