Trust me. Trust the person confiding in you right now. I really mean it. My hands are shaking as I write these lines. Depression and anxiety are as real and raw as the ravaged feeling that infects the mind with an affliction that can’t be seen like another physical injury. It is a state of sorrow or panic that can leave an individual feeling empty or even full of worry and darkness. Sometimes it’s terrifying. Other days are manageable. Sometimes it feels numb. But it’s never dumb. I got you. Somedays it’s a wave. Tomorrow maybe a storm. But for you I hope not. And it’s never one and the same for any two people. I can’t do justice to anothers bravery with my words. I can’t describe properly my pain. Some hide. Some scream. Some meditate. Others medicate. Neither is wrong. It’s whatever works or at the very least helps for you. Because you best believe it doesn’t discriminate. For anybody. Hollywood hearthrob Brad Pitt has suffered from it. As has the person you just walked past in the street. Queen Beyonce has. As has that coworker who is always cracking jokes and making you smile, but cracking under pressure underneath. Everyone is dealing with something. Problems or demons. The girl of your dreams. This writer right damn now! But this isn’t a cry for help. It’s a call to action.
Even Kevin Love suffers.
The Basketball superstar. The NBA Champion. The new leader in King James’ departed wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers. A man whose about to remind us just how much of a franchise face and leader he is. One of the last true big man greats of the game with 30/30 Wilt like Goliath numbers and in the paint court vision. The only man who can put Steph Curry off his shot. A Beach Boy family kid. A cool Californian soul and UCLA grad as the most likely to succeed and take the prom queen to homecoming. The second best Minnesota Timberwolves big of all-time after Da Kid, Kevin Garnett. A grown man. A dapper dan attired in Banana Republic with GQ good looks. A gentleman over four quarters. A winner.
Yet he is still burdened by anxiety and depression. But putting it all on his back and broad shoulders. Kevin is willing to take it all and help carry the load for those who suffer in silence and need a voice in their corner from the shadows, when no one else is there.
You are not alone!
Read that again.
Just like former Toronto Raptor and new San Antonio star DeMar DeRozan, who put the whole country of Canada on his court carrying back and also spoke up about his own mental health struggles in solidarity to those who no longer have to live in solitude. Kevin Love penned a poignant and powerful personal piece on The Players Tribune blog/diary site for professionals in the sports arena. Candidly and courageously disclosing a previous locker room secret about him suffering a panic attack mid-game earlier this year.
Doing so to end the stigma in modern sports that these feelings aren’t manly. In a world of toxic masculinity that would probably tell most to just “man up”. Which cruelly is a million miles away from the right response (do you have any idea the harm that can do?). Doing so to further the support and truth today that these type of mental health problems are more common than you think and the furthest thing away from anything to be ashamed of. Vulnerability is strength. It contains the word “ability”. The ability to feel. The ability of empathy.
Keep that head up!
Your bravery knows no bounds.
And now talking to Jalen Rose and ESPN last week, Kevin is funding his own foundation which will also work with Hollywood movie star Glenn Close’s ‘Bring Change To Mind’ campaign and Matthew McConaughey’s ‘Just Keep Livin” charity. The Players Tribune tribute was just the beginning. Even after his court career ends, hanging his sneakers and jersey up to those retired Hall of Fame rafters. Kevin will lace them back up and go to work building a whole new team and coaching them against a different kind of opposition, in a whole new arena. But yet again one of the most selfless superstars will be doing it for all those around him and those who look up to him. Role models don’t get much bigger than this seven footer. And this number zero hero is about to extend his reach, from nothing to something.
Now if that isn’t Love then I don’t know what is.
Kevin talks about it best though…
“No matter what our circumstances, we’re all carrying around things that hurt — and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside. Not talking about our inner lives robs us of really getting to know ourselves and robs us of the chance to reach out to others in need. So if you’re reading this and you’re having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.
Just the opposite. It could be the most important thing you do. It was for me.”-Kevin Love (Via ‘The Players Tribune’).
Kevin Love is supreme. And we aren’t talking about the shooting sleeve on J.R. Smith’s arm Coltrane. Look, I aint got much time left. But Love has bared his whole heart and soul. Leaving it all on the floor has a different meaning off-court. And Kevin’s and I quote, “life work” is going to inspire more than any big block, buzzer beater, or slam dunk. With his next move the new King of Cleveland is really ready to lead in the most important way. All in. All for one and one for all.
It’s more than a cliche when we say this is bigger than basketball, or more than a game. This is real life.
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.