“Even after all the work Ive tried to do on myself over the last two-and-a-half years, some days are just brutal,” Love writes.
Without basketball for going on seven months, Love has had to re-examine his relationship with his career and the game, and what truly is fulfilling. The absence of the NBA as well as the challenges of the pandemic have been difficult on Love, and he writes that he expects it’s been difficult for many. Being unable to work or having the routines of everyday life disrupted is hard.
“Way before I was in the NBA or even in college, my self-worth was all about performing. I was what I did, which I think a lot of people can relate to, whether theyre a chef or a lawyer or a nurse or whatever the profession. I just happened to play basketball.
When I wasnt performing, I didnt feel like I was succeeding as a person.”
As he continues to be outspoken about mental health, Love also wants fans to know that his openness does not equal complete recovery. The process is long, with many steps back that can counter incremental progress. Love tells a story of a simple day walking into an appointment with a therapist in which he felt far more at peace and comfortable in his own skin than any on-court accomplishment, even the 2016 title in Cleveland. But he notes that he’s dealing with plenty of challenges to this day, and especially this year, in balancing that comfort with missing basketball and the state of the world.
The topic of mental health has jumped to the fore in sports the past week or so in regard to Dak Prescott, who expressed many of the same feelings as Love in an interview with Graham Bensinger. Despite athletes returning to competition and the sports news cycle in full gear once again, Love puts into context the challenges that exist even for the successful and famous.