Cleveland Cavaliers centre Kevin Love has revealed that he was forced to leave a game against the Altanta Hawks last November after suffering a frightening panic attack. In an exclusive article for the Player’s Tribune, Love opened up about his ongoing mental health issues, admitting that he kept quiet due to fear of being viewed a ‘weak or weird’.
Kevin Love’s mid-game walkout against the Hawks has been one of the biggest mysteries of the current NBA season. The 2016 NBA Champion was in solid form heading into the game, but early into the third quarter, Love was forced to retire.
“I was having trouble catching my breath,” said Love. “It’s hard to describe, but everything was spinning, like my brain was trying to climb out of my head. The air felt thick and heavy. My mouth was like chalk. I remember our assistant coach yelling something about a defensive set. I nodded, but I didn’t hear much of what he said. By that point, I was freaking out. When I got up to walk out of the huddle, I knew I couldn’t reenter the game – like, literally couldn’t do it physically.
“Coach Lue came up to me. I think he could sense something was wrong and blurted something like, ‘I’ll be right back,’ and I ran back to the locker room …The next part was a blur. Someone from the Cavs accompanied me to the Cleveland Clinic. They ran a bunch of tests. Everything seemed to check out, which was a relief. But I remember leaving the hospital thinking, ‘Wait … then what the hell just happened?’”
Love suffered a similar episode in January, when he walked out of a game with Oklahoma City Thunder just three minutes into the first quarter. The Cavs initially revealed that Love had been suffering migraines; however, the incident led teammates Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas to question Love in a team meeting on January 22nd. The 29-year-old is now keen to set the record straight.
“I want to make it clear that I don’t have things figured out about all of this,” said Love. “I’m just starting to do the hard work of getting to know myself. For 29 years, I avoided that. Now, I’m trying to be truthful with myself. I’m trying to be good to the people in my life. I’m trying to face the uncomfortable stuff in life while also enjoying, and being grateful for, the good stuff. I’m trying to embrace it all, the good, bad and ugly.”