Love is all around when it comes to facing his demons
CLEVELAND — Kevin Love couldn’t remember being so clean shaven, gliding his fingers over his smooth cheeks and chin while looking in a large mirror.
he reflection pain him anymore.
From the outside, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ All-Star forward appears to have it all: A model’s striking looks, a multi-million dollar contract and a dream job.
At 30, he’s in the prime of his career, and maybe for the first time, truly happy.
“I’m getting there,” he said, his voice conveying determination. “It’s still a work in progress.”
Nearly a year ago, Love suffered a panic attack during a game against Atlanta. The desperate, life-altering event eventually led to revealing his long-term battle with anxiety and depression.
Now Love is hoping to break down stigmas about men’s mental health, partnering with Shick Hydro on a website series called “Locker Room Talk” to host candid conversations with Olympic swimming icon Michael Phelps, former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce and Cavs teammate and close friend Channing Frye.
No topic is off limits.
The show debuts with Love and Phelps next month, coinciding with fundraising efforts for the Movember Foundation, which promotes men growing moustaches during the month to raise awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide.
Love recently filmed the sit-down talks with Phelps, Pierce and Frye while his Cavs prepared to open their first season in five years without superstar LeBron James, who signed with Los Angeles this summer.
While Love knows his 11th year as a pro will be challenging, his focus was on the series, which he views as an important step in his personal development and a natural progression toward a broader platform for more mental health initiatives.
Love’s discussions with the three athletes cover a wide range of topics, including “masculinity, traumatic events, women and their roles in our lives, thoughts of suicide, anxiety. Everything.”
“We’re changing the paradigm of locker room talk where it’s not just about sports anymore,” he said. “It’s life.”
In their talks with Love, Phelps and Pierce open up about their past struggles with mental health. Frye brings a perspective of coping with loss and tragedy following the deaths of his parents within weeks of each other in 2016.
Love hopes the frank discussions will move people to seek help and maybe encourage them to address their problems.
It took a distressing experience for Love to take the first steps in his journey.