More players refuse to "Shut up and dribble"

Some NBA players are using their platform to bring awareness to mental health and the stigma surrounding "manning up".

Basketball is a fantastic sport. It is fun to watch, fun to play, and fun to write about (in my personal opinion). Recently NBA players Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have been using the game in an even more important way.

When top athletes speak, people listen, whether or not some individuals would like to admit it. When such prominent figures and role models open up about issues, big or personal, it impacts all sorts of demographics of listeners.

DeMar DeRozan, All-Star SG for the Toronto Raptors recently spoke out about his bouts with depression.

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. 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.
— DeRozan

Cleveland Cavaliers PF Kevin Love drew some inspiration from DeRozan, opening up about panic attacks, mental health, and unfortunate stigmas of manhood in a self-written article for The Player's Tribune.

Love describes a panic attack he experienced during a game in which he ran off to the locker room. He goes on to say that he hid it from everyone because of lifelong pressure to be tough and hide any weaknesses as a man.

It is very important for players like DeRozan and Love to speak out about these kinds of issues. The more we can normalize discussions about these kinds of issues, the more individuals are likely to seek the help they need, much like Love has.

If you are struggling with issues, mental health or otherwise, never be embarrassed to approach family, a coach, a teammate, teacher, or friend with it. Open and honest discussion is an important step in being the best player and person you can be.

For more from the NBA and all of basketball, check out more of our blog posts such as SLAM top 100 NBA players and Focus on strengths.