On March 6, 2018, Cavaliers power forward, Kevin Love, spoke to The Player’s Tribune regarding his mental health. According to the article, Love suffered a panic attack during an NBA game. While Love’s admission is ground-breaking to the sports realm, the circumstances surrounding the event corroborate Love’s story. The team had just snapped a four-game losing streak and were struggling to keep up with the Atlanta Hawks. That, combined with the expectations for the season, weighed heavily on Love. After a sub-par performance in the first half, Love suffered his panic attack, alone, on the floor of the Cavs locker room.

The Panic Attack

Surprisingly, the panic attack was not the worst part of the experience for the 29-year-old power forward. Love writes, “But I distinctly remember being more relieved than anything that nobody had found out why I had left the game against Atlanta. A few people in the organization knew, sure, but most people didn’t and no one had written about it.” Love goes on to talk about his upbringing, not as a superstar basketball player, but as a young man. “Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to be a man.” It’s like a playbook he said, "Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own.To Kevin Love, the worst part of the panic attack was not that it happened, or that his current circumstances were such that his body biologically rebelled against him, but that his teammates might find out he was weak or unreliable.

The last section of the article discusses Love’s journey through therapy and his acceptance that the manly playbook he grew up with would not be getting him out of his current predicament. Instead, he talked with his therapist about the normal, everyday problems in his life that had little, if anything to do with basketball.

Perhaps the most touching and relatable detail to this story is the video of the late Grandma Love, telling her grandson happy birthday.

Apparently, professional athletes are human too. They have people they love whom they don’t get to see very often. They have problems with their teammates and trouble navigating the minefield that is the Sports News Media.

Love’s article comes on the heels of Toronto Raptors star, DeMar DeRozan, going public about his battles with depression. In an ESPN interview, DeRozan said his reason for going public “was all about helping others.” DeRozan describes the same shame that Kevin Love did in regards to his mental health.

Why Now?

America has found itself in a strange, listeners only phase in its history. Thanks to the "MeToo" movement, more and more celebrities are feeling comfortable trusting the public with their vulnerabilities. We’ve seen this bleed into sports now with Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan. They are not coming forward with allegations against any one person, but against the way young boys are taught how to deal with mental health.

Instead of doing the safe thing and protecting their own egos, these young men are putting their problems out there to let young boys and girls everywhere know that mental health is a serious issue. They are also bringing attention to the fact that these super-human athletes we see on television every night, jumping ten feet in the air and pulling off spectacular slam dunks, are only human at the end of the game.