Cavs’ Love feared panic attack was heart attack

Kevin Love has been battling mental health issues. (Reuters pic)

NEW YORK: Kevin Love continues to speak out on his challenges with anxiety.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ five-time All-Star forward told the Today Show on Monday that he feared one of his anxiety attacks during the 2017-18 season might actually be a heart attack.

“I just wanted to get air, and so I ended up basically unconscious on the floor,” Love said.

Love penned an essay for Players’ Tribune in April detailing his issues with anxiety, which came to light because of a panic attack Love suffered during the second half of a game against the Atlanta Hawks. Love said in that essay he went “room to room, looking for something I couldn’t find.”

Love, 29, was questioned by teammates in a private meeting. He faced accusatory interrogation from others as well about why he couldn’t finish that game.

“I just kind of brushed it off because in our sport, or in life, and being a man, you’re taught to suppress it, you’re taught to in a lot of ways suffer in silence,” Love said.

The NBA encouraged Love to speak out, and San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan, acquired this summer from the Toronto Raptors, also came forward to document his issues with depression.

Love said he had fits of rage and had a tendency to “go dark” for weeks at a time before opting to seek medical help. Love said Monday he is hopeful talking about his own issues will encourage others to do the same.

For its part, the NBA named Dr William D. Parham as its first director of mental health and wellness.

“We have heard our players’ stories and are making mental health a priority now by bringing in Dr Parham,” NBA Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts said. “His many years of expertise and knowledge of the game allow him to make an impact in this new role right away.”