In a powerful piece entitled “The Courageous Fight to Fix the NBA’s Mental Health Problem”, ESPN journalist Jackie MacMullan sheds light on the mental health issues that are plaguing almost half of the league, as reported by Dr. William Parham, the NBA’s director of mental health and wellness.
However, only approximately 5 percent of those players are actually seeking treatment, particularly due to the stigma surrounding the subject. As men in an elite league like the NBA, there’s extra pressure to be tough and not display weakness, even if that weakness is eating them alive.
One by one, celebrities, famous athletes, and your average Joe alike are falling prey to suicide as they perceive it as their only way out of their misery. Society has sloughed off anxiety as stress and depression as unnecessary sadness, so many sufferers have remained silent.
Money can’t buy your happiness or mental stability, as boldly stated by San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan in opening up about his own battle with depression.
“People say, ‘What are you depressed about? You can buy anything you want,’” said DeRozan, who is signed to a 5-year $139,000,000 contract. “I wish everyone in the world was rich so they would realize money isn’t everything,” he added.
Thankfully, people like DeRozan and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love are a couple of the bold few who are seeking treatment and speaking out about this taboo topic.
In an interview with Carson Daly, Love shared the intimate and scary details of a panic attack he suffered during the third quarter of their game against the Atlanta Hawks:
“I had a moment where I thought I was gonna die. I had never experienced something like that. I thought I was having a heart attack… heart racing, I was running around looking for something that I couldn’t find. I just wanted to get air, so I ended up basically unconscious on the floor and putting my hand down my throat and trying to get something out of there, but there was nothing there.”
While he’s received both skepticism and backlash for doing so, Love hopes that using his voice to erase the stigma surrounding anxiety and depression is worth the risk.
Others have showered him with overwhelming encouragement, including teammate LeBron James who tweeted his support for Love.
See Love’s full interview with Carson Daly in the video below, and be sure to share this important message with your friends on Facebook. Together, we can shatter the stigma.