Kevin Love Speaks About State of NBA's Mental Health Treatment

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14:  A detailed view of a Spalding NBA basketball going through the net while players warm up prior to the start of Game One of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoff between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on April 14, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love has opened up about his own mental health and hopes to destigmatize the issue. 

Appearing on The Today Show in an interview with Carson Daly, Love addressed the situation he deals with on a daily basis:

While NBA players like Love and DeMar DeRozan publicly raise awareness for mental health concerns, ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan reported that some team owners want access to the full range of players' medical records:

"The union insists that mental health treatment be confidential, but some NBA owners, who in some cases are paying their players hundreds of millions of dollars, want access to the files of their 'investments.'

"Confidentiality, says Love, has to be non-negotiable. Without it, he says, he never would have become comfortable enough to announce from that All-Star dais that he was seeking treatment."

Houston Rockets assistant coach John Lucas told MacMullan he believes 40 percent or more of NBA players have mental health concerns, and Dr. William Parham—who serves as the director of mental health and wellness for the NBA Players Association—said that number wasn't an exaggeration. 

"It's an epidemic in our league," Lucas said. "I'm talking about everything from ADHD to bipolar [disorder] to anxiety and depression."

Another issue is that many players don't realize they are struggling with mental health or don't seek treatment. 

An Eastern Conference coach told MacMullan: "I've got three guys on my team—two on medication. Some days they're fine. Some days they aren't. I'm trying to be as sensitive as I can, but I'm not a doctor or a psychiatrist, and sometimes I'm asked to be." 

DeRozan has also spoken out about his struggles with depression and anxiety.

"You think when you come from a difficult environment that if you get out and you make it to the NBA, all that bad stuff is supposed to be wiped clean," he told MacMullan. "But then this whole new dynamic loaded with stress comes your way."

"With an investment in player wellness, these athletes can perform at an even higher level than they are now," Parham added. "But they have to be willing. Otherwise, nobody can help them."    

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