Get With The Times -- A Recap of a Kevin Love x NYT interview

On Thursday night, college students around the nation tuned in to a special interview given by NBA superstar Kevin Love to Juliet Macur of the New York Times about mental health as part of their new event series, “Get With The Times.”

Kevin Love is a current member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, 5-time All-Star, and has won a championship with the Cavaliers. In November of 2017, however, Love suffered a panic attack that resulted in him having to leave a game versus the Atlanta Hawks. Prior to the attack, Love had suffered from depression and anxiety in secret, fearing the stigma surrounding mental health.

In the aftermath of that attack, Love decided to tackle the issue at its root and wrote an article for “The Players’ Tribune,” detailing the attack, and his struggles with mental health, which was the main topic of the interview.

(Personal photo of the interview. He’s articulate, athletic, good-looking, AND smart. 10/10.)

The interview lasted for about an hour and included questions from Macur, as well as outside questions from college students. One of the more striking things that Love said during the interview came in the beginning when he was asked why talks like this one were important. His reply was that “talks like this are typically reactive, not proactive, and I want to be proactive.” He used the example of school shootings, which was striking because of how truthful that is. As a society, we don’t like to talk about how to improve mental health until something has happened that’s past improvement.

Credit: The Players' Tribune

A recurring theme throughout the interview that was also striking to observe involved the massive stigmatization surrounding mental health issues, especially concerning men. During the talk, Love admitted that the reason he tried to hide his panic attack from people was “the fear of being labeled weak” and feeling as if he had to hide his emotions and “do what young men are taught to do.”

Love also spoke about how his article prompted other NBA players like Demarcus Cousins and Channing Frye to open up to him about their own struggles, and how he received an outpouring of support and people expressing a similar sentiment. To me, the fact that a man who so many young boys idolize can get up and admit that he still struggles under pressure is a huge sign of progression towards changing toxic masculinity and defeating stigmas. He spoke about the dangers of staying silent when you need help, and said that “nothing haunts you like the things you don’t say.”

The interview concluded with a question from the audience asking Love what advice he could give to college students. One of the things he said, that I’m mentioning because I’m a strong advocate for it, is learning the power of meditation and finding a way to create headspace.

Another thing that resonated with me was his statement that we should, “live by admitting who you are, to get what you want.” I think that for so many college students, with everything constantly changing around us, easily can start to lose sight of who we are at our base, and try to hide the parts we don’t like, which is when the problems begin.

As the writer covering this event, I was required to stay for the entire interview, but the thing is that once it started, I wanted to stay. Like I said, seeing such a prominent, “manly” figure admit his weaknesses and turn around his moment of vulnerability to help others was powerful. The dangers in staying silent when help is needed can’t be stressed enough, and like Love, we need to try to be proactive, not reactive in our discussions about it.

 

For anyone wanting to join the discussion, check out the highlights of the interview, and read Love’s article, “Everyone Is Going Through Something."

 

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