This week’s conversation is with NBA stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love and it’s unique.

It comes from a live panel we did at Aspen Ideas Festival a few weeks back.

Presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with The Atlantic, the Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation’s premier, public gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to present and discuss the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.

I was invited to host a panel on mental health in sports.

Earlier this year, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs, each publicly discussed their challenges with mental and emotional well-being.

Their honesty started a national conversation about breaking through the stigma and fear of openly discussing mental health issues in professional sports.

In this very personal conversation, the superstar athletes share their experiences with anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

What they reveal about mental health actually reveals much about their mental strength.

I hope this is only the beginning of an era where athletes and for that matter anyone – across any walk of life – has the courage to be vulnerable and have those difficult conversations.

“Mental illness and mental wellness as a whole, it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what gender, socioeconomic status. Nothing. None of that matters. Throw that out. It doesn’t discriminate.”

In This Episode:

  • How to define depression and anxiety and it’s global prevalence
  • Why DeMar came forward and wanted to publicize his struggles
  • The moment where everything fell apart for Kevin
  • DeMar paving the way for Kevin to come forward
  • The importance having the courage to be vulnerable
  • How people become depressed
  • DeMar’s college experience … what he wishes he could change
  • The issue with identify foreclosure.. why it allows you to be great but causes problems in the long term
  • What Kevin realized from seeing people like Anthony Bourdain commit suicide… success is not immune to depression
  • Why having money doesn’t fix mental issues
  • What Kevin has done to help with his anxiety
  • What DeMar has done to better manage his depression… a willingness to be more vulnerable

 

Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS

 

Quotables:

“Basketball for both of us has always been a safe place. It’s when we step away from the floor that we lose some sort of that control and feel very isolated. We are looked at as Superheros, but there are so many layers to the human being.” – Kevin Love

“It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to want to be better. It’s okay to break yourself down, to build yourself back up, to be something stronger.” – DeMar DeRozan

“People forget to look at us as human beings. All we want to do is have that human connection. So much of that is lost when I’m away from basketball. It can be isolating going out in public. It’s a tough thing to go through.” – Kevin Love

“I got tired of feeling like I had to be the toughest person everyday, all day. That’s how I grew up. I remember my dad telling me, ‘You better not cry. You better be tough.’ I’m like, ‘Goddamn, I’m six years old.’ You just had to be hard all the time.” – DeMar DeRozan

“Success does not make you immune to depression. This thing doesn’t discriminate. Whether it’s you or somebody you know, someone is dealing with this. They might be suffering silently. We can’t be afraid of having these conversations.” – Kevin Love

“My kids look at me like I’m the greatest person on Earth. They could give a damn if daddy had a bad game. It gave me a different type of appreciation for myself because I am looked at as something greater than just an athlete.” – DeMar DeRozan

“I’m thankful to be in a league where we’re not only supported to talk about such tough topics, but they actually push us to speak about it. To be more than basketball players.” – Kevin Love

“We’re all people at the end of the day. We all need to find ways to have empathy, pay it forward to the next person, and then just set up our kids and the youth to be better as well.” – Kevin Love

 

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