Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love has opened up about his struggles with mental health.
The Cavaliers forward detailed how he had his first panic attack when Cleveland faced the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA on November 5 last year.
"It came out of nowhere," Love wrote in The Player's Tribune. "I'd never had one before. I didn't even know if they were real. But it was real — as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle. Since that day, almost everything about the way I think about my mental health has changed."
Love ended up being hospitalised during the game for what was described as shortness of breath and stomach pains. It was then he realised he had experienced a panic attack.
However, the 29-year-old was not comfortable talking about what happened. Love said it was ingrained in him that showing signs of mental struggles was a form of weakness.
"Call it a stigma or call it fear or insecurity — you can call it a number of things — but what I was worried about wasn't just my own inner struggles but how difficult it was to talk about them. I didn't want people to perceive me as somehow less reliable as a team-mate, and it all went back to the playbook I'd learned growing up," he wrote.
In the piece, Love did not address the incident stemming from the Cavaliers' game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 20, where he left in the middle of the game due to an "illness."
This angered some players. Love then reportedly came clean about his panic attacks.
But it was not until Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan revealed his battle with depression that Love felt comfortable enough to disclose he suffers from panic attacks and sees a therapist a few times a month.
"Mental health isn't just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn't have to define who you are," he added. "This is an everyone thing. No matter what our circumstances, we're all carrying around things that hurt — and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside."