Los Angeles (AFP) - Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love revealed on Tuesday he has regularly suffered from panic attacks, breaking his silence on the issue in a bid to encourage more players to talk openly about mental health.
In an essay on The Players' Tribune website, Love said he had suffered his first panic attack on November 5, when he was forced to exit early during a defeat to the Atlanta Hawks.
That episode left him needing treatment in the Cleveland Clinic. Love also reportedly told team-mates a panic attack forced him to leave a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in January after only three minutes.
"For 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else's problem," Love wrote in his essay, titled "Everyone is Going Through Something."
"Sure, I knew on some level that some people benefited from asking for help or opening up. I just never thought it was for me.
"To me, it was form of weakness that could derail my success in sports or make me seem weird or different.
"Then came the panic attack," the 29-year-old five-time All-Star wrote.
Love has not played since January 30 as he nurses his way back to health after suffering a broken bone in his left hand.
He decided to speak out in order to "create a better environment for talking about mental health." "That's where we need to get to," Love said.
"I want to make it clear that I don't have things figured out about all of this," he added. "I'm just starting to do the hard work of getting to know myself. For 29 years, I avoided that. Now, I'm trying to be truthful with myself. I'm trying to be good to the people in my life."
Love's disclosure won approval from team-mate LeBron James.
"You're even more powerful now than ever before @kevinlove!!! Salute and respect brother," James wrote on Twitter.