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.