CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love took an unconventional step when he decided to share a story about his panic attack in November and the importance of addressing mental health concerns in an essay, “Everyone is going through something” for The Players’ Tribune earlier this week.
And while athletes are generally encouraged to find ways of dealing with issues internally, the Cavaliers have been in full support of Love’s decision to share his story with the world.
“I think Kev has always been accepted in our locker room from day one, so I don’t think it changes how we’ve always kind of seen Kev, but I think people that are dealing with the same situation, that’s in the same situation as Kev, I think it helps them out more than anybody, to feel they’re not alone because they’re not,” Cavaliers small forward LeBron James said.
“We, as athletes, are put on this pedestal, but we go through some of the same problems. We’re all human beings, all of us, so I think it’s very enlightening for him to know that, see that in himself and know that he can help others by doing that.”
While Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he has not yet read Love’s essay, he pledged his and the full support of the team for their two-time NBA All-Star power forward.
“I think it’s good when you let people know what you’re going through and what you’re dealing with,” Lue said. “You hate to see anybody with any kind of illness, but we’re here for Kevin.
“We’re going to support him, 100 percent, whatever he needs, and I’m just glad he was able to open up. Some of us already knew, and he’s doing all of the things he can do to better himself and get help. We’re going to be there to support him, whatever he needs, we’re going to be here for him.”
Proud of Love for his decision to share the story, James believes it will help others deal with their issues and could help break the stigma that comes with mental health concerns.
“We live in a sport or a world where our whole lives, we’ve always talked about ‘Figure it out on your own. Be as strong as you can and don’t show anybody any weakness,’” James said. “That’s how we’ve been built our whole lives, ever since we either picked up a basketball, picked up a football or whatever the case may be.
“It’s like, ‘Be as strong as you can and deal with any issues that you can on your own,’ and I think that sometimes can become a problem. Obviously, when you’re able to see that sometimes, that’s not the way to deal with it, it actually makes you stronger in the respective sport that you are in.”