NBA Stars DeMar DeRozan & Kevin Love Partner For Powerful Mental Health PSA

By Paul Fuhr 05/02/18

The stigma-breaking PSA is part of a bigger NBA mental health initiative called Mind Health.

DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan Photo via YouTube

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan have teamed up for a powerful new PSA to encourage mental wellness.

The 30-second spot, timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, will air widely during the NBA Playoffs. With the help of Love and DeRozan, the PSA aims to break the stigma around mental illness.

What’s more is that the PSA is part of an even bigger initiative from NBA Cares called “Mind Health,” for which the League has launched a brand-new website. The initiative aims to help others get educated on how to recognize and manage stress, anxiety and depression, all the while fostering communication skills and providing support.

The NBA also announced that the guided-meditation service Headspace will release “mental training content” this summer to help athletes better prepare for competition. 

“Everyone walks around with something that you can't see,” Love says in the PSA. “The best thing I did was to come out and say, ‘Hey look, I need some help.’”

Earlier this year, Love wrote a stirring piece for The Players’ Tribune, revealing that he suffered from panic attacks—an admission that he hoped would change public attitudes toward mental illness.

“If you’re suffering silently like I was, then you know how it can feel like nobody really gets it,” Love wrote. “Partly, I want to do it for me, but mostly, I want to do it because people don’t talk about mental health enough. And men and boys are probably the farthest behind.”

Likewise, DeRozan had previously opened up on Twitter and to The Toronto Star about his struggles with anxiety.

“It’s one of them things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day,” the 28-year-old All Star said. “We all got feelings... all of that. Sometimes... it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”

Since revealing his struggles online, DeRozan says he has been “overwhelmed” by the support he’s received. Love echoed these sentiments. 

"I think the fact that [mental illness] does ring home to me and is so near and dear to my heart and the people around me, I'm more than willing to help people,” Love said. "This could be life work, not only for myself but a number of guys that are going to step up in the process. And as I quoted DeMar's tweet and got back to him, he opened the door for me so I respect him and love him for that.”

The two All-Stars’ PSA isn’t just a bold move for the NBA—it’s an encouraging step against mental illness overall, which should keep the conversation going around mental health.

“Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing,” Love observed. “What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing.” 

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Paul Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and two cats, Vesper and Dr. No. He's written for AfterParty MagazineThe Literary Review and The Live Oak Review, among others. He's also the host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and addiction recovery. More at You can also find Paul on Linkedin and Twitter.