It was apparent from the beginning that Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love was something special on the court — but now, his work off the court is garnering just as much attention.
The former UCLA Bruin has racked up numerous accolades over a decade in the NBA, including five All-Star selections and a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016. Still only 30 years old, Love has accomplished feats most people can only dream about.
Many NBA players relish the fame that accompanies such a decorated career in professional sports — but Kevin Love wasn’t always comfortable in the spotlight.
“People look at you like you’re a star or a celebrity or larger than life, but I always just wanted to be a guy,” he told AOL.com. “I didn’t like to go out in public because in some way, I felt like I was under a microscope or doing something wrong.”
That social anxiety turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. On November 5, 2017, Love was thrust into the national spotlight after abruptly leaving a game against the Atlanta Hawks in the third quarter. Initial reports began to circulate about the “unspecified illness” that briefly landed him in a Cleveland hospital. It wasn’t until four months later that Love revealed the true reason behind his mysterious exit — a panic attack.
“It was like my body was trying to say to me, ‘You’re about to die,'” he explained in an essay for The Players’ Tribune in March. “I ended up on the floor in the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.”
Unfortunately, that initial diagnosis may have created more questions than it did answers.