Shannon Sharpe commends Kevin Love for opening up about his struggles with panic attacks

SHANNON SHARPE: Kevin Love should be commended. It takes a lot. It took a lot for him to open up. And I think though, as he mentioned DeMar DeRozan, opening up allowed him to open up. You see, a lot of times athletes are viewed as invincible. Athletes are a microcosm of normal people– well, I say normal. But just because you shoot a basketball, Skip, just because you play baseball, or can catch or throw a football, it doesn’t exempt you from problems that people that do not do these things face.

He is dealing with panic and mental illness. Eddie Lacy, eating disorder. They have drug issues in professional sports. The same problem that afflict people that do not play professional sports–

SKIP BAYLESS: Yeah.

SHANNON SHARPE: –afflict people that do play professional sports.

SKIP BAYLESS: That’s true.

SHANNON SHARPE: And for him to open up about this and to become vulnerable, it gives you a glimpse into how– you know, I think, put it like this– it offers you a glimpse into who Kevin Love is, because he revealed he told no one, not his mom, not his dad. They say– or his closest friends. Skip, they say people, when someone says something about you, in order for it to affect you, you must first value their opinion.

He didn’t tell the people closest to him because he valued their opinion. He was wondering in his mind how would they perceive me, what would they think of me? Do they think I’m like crazy, crazy, that I need to be committed? What’s going on here?

So he withheld that from them, because he didn’t want the perception, their perception of him, to change. It took an awful lot, Skip, to do this. Because as an athlete, we look at ourselves as== being I was one for 14 years– we feel that we’re indestructible, we feel we’re invincible. And things that affect normal people, people that do not do what we do, that can’t possibly touch us. How can that possibly be?

Man, I play professional sports. There’s 500 people that play NBA basketball. Can’t happen to me. But it did. And it takes a big man, or a big woman, or a big person, to open up and share one’s most intimate, intimate–

SKIP BAYLESS: Yeah.

SHANNON SHARPE: And I just remember, as a kid, my grandmother said, boy, no matter how bad we got it, somebody’s got it worse than us. And Kevin Love basically said, you know, hey, I’m not the only one, someone probably has it worse than me, but this is what I have going on in my life, and I’m no longer afraid to share it with the world.

SKIP BAYLESS: Yup. Took courage.

SHANNON SHARPE: Yes.

SKIP BAYLESS: Took guts to put yourself out on display like that, your innermost issue. And I commend him for it. And I appreciated that LeBron publicly commended him, and said this will make you even more powerful than you were before.

SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah.

SKIP BAYLESS: Because it took so much guts and just raw courage to put this out there. And now, we go back to that flashpoint of the Cleveland season–

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