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Jahlil Okafor Credits Kevin Love for Helping Change His Life
- Updated: July 5, 2019
Yet, New Orleans Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor is one fellow NBA player who’s grateful for Love pointing him in the right direction when it comes to his own concerns.
Alex Shultz of GQ interviewed Okafor on his changed diet and asked about his comfort level in dealing with mental health issues, with the veteran citing Love’s influence as a big asset:
“I feel at ease about it. I credit Kevin Love because he’s the first person that got me to realize, wow, I might be dealing with the same things. From then on, I did my own research to help myself, and it’s changed my life completely. I’m in a much better place.”
In 2015, Okafor was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as the third overall pick, but his solid on-court play as a rookie was marred by both injuries and off-the-court issues. Injury problems persisted during his second season and, in November 2017, led the 76ers to decline the fourth-year option of his rookie contract.,
One month later, Okafor was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets and played 26 games for them before signing with the Pelicans as a free agent after the season. During the 2018-19 campaign, he then averaged 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Those numbers with the Pelicans remained far down from Okafor’s rookie season, but he’s now in a much better frame of mind. Having played collegiately at Duke University, he may be end up playing an important role this season as a mentor to the team’s top rookie, fellow Blue Devil Zion Williamson.
As for Love, he’s set to begin the first year of a four-year contract extension he signed with the Cavaliers last year. Even though the signing had seemingly put an end to trade rumors, his name continues to come up when possible trades are discussed. Yet, with his improved approach to mental health now in place, it’s doubtful that he’s worried about any prospect of being traded.