We seldom see the NBA players openly showing their feelings, something that is reserved for very specific moments of their careers. That’s what Kevin Love talks about today. The power forward of the Cavaliers, one of the best players of the competition and a ring winner, tells the truth in The Players’ Tribune to let us know one of the toughest moments of his time in the League.
We go back to November 5, 2017. Cleveland received Atlanta Hawks in The Q, an initially an easy game – they would end up losing – game in which Love only played 16 minutes in what the franchise explained that it was due to a disease. Now we know it was not that simple.
Love, opening up to both fans of the NBA and those who go through psychological crises, explains exactly what happened that day and how his view on mental health has changed.
For 29 years I thought that mental health was a problem for others. I knew that at some level some people benefited from asking for help or opening up, but I never thought that would be for me. I saw it as a form of weakness that could end my success in sports or make me feel weird or different. Then came the panic attack.
When I reached for the bench I felt my heart speed up more than usual. Then I had trouble recovering my breath. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but everything was spinning, it was like my brain was trying to get out of my head. I felt it big and heavy. My mouth was dry.
I remember our defensive assistant coach shouting something about a defensive system. I nodded, but I didn’t hear too much of what he said. At that time, I was going crazy. When I got up to leave, I knew I could not get back on the court, I literally couldn’t do it physically.
I was running from one room to another as if he were looking for something I couldn’t find. I really just hoped that my heart would stop running so fast. It was as if my body tried to tell me: ‘you are about to die.’ I ended up lying on the floor of the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.
Love ended up in the hospital, where he was reviewed without the results showing injuries of any kind. Later the team helped him to go see a therapist. Love admits that it was difficult to show his feelings, but he invites all those who are in a similar situation to do so.