We’re changing the paradigm of locker room talk where it’s not just about sports anymore. It’s life.”
During the second half of a game on Nov 5 against Atlanta, Love suffered a panic attack so severe that he said he felt like he was dying.
He gasped for air, and with his heart and mind racing uncontrollably, frantically scrambled from room to room in the depths of Quicken Loans Arena before finally collapsing on the floor of the Cavs’ locker room.
He was taken to hospital for tests, but Love already had a sense of what was wrong.
He had struggled since childhood with depression and mood swings, which he said was passed down through generations in his family.
As a teenager, he would often descend into “my dark place” for weeks and experienced fits of rage.
“I was angry and would break stuff,” Love said. “I would never hurt anyone, but I would act out against authority and rebel. I didn’t know why I felt that way.”
He subsequently sought counseling. But after another panic episode, Love felt compelled to go public after some teammates questioned why he left another game early.
He began his personal admission with a powerful essay for the Players’ Tribune entitled “Everyone Is Going Through Something”:
“In the immediate aftermath of Nov 5, I didn’t want anyone to know. I still don’t know how I came out and played 48 hours later. I wanted to hide. I was so afraid that people were going to find out what had happened. All those events that then followed allowed me to get to a point where I was like, ‘OK, now it’s time for me to tell my story’ and I wanted to tell it in my own words.”
Love remains overwhelmed at the outpouring since revealing his struggles.
“I can’t tell you how many guys around the league have come up to me and said, ‘How did you get there?’ or ‘How did you get out of it?’ And now they ask, ‘Hey, can you help me?’” he said.