Kevin Love is one of the major voices in the sports world when it comes to mental health advocacy.
For years, Love has spoken about his own challenges with mental health and tried to remove the stigma that athletes deal with when it comes to being open about the issues they face in their respective lives.
One such player that has recently spoken about his own mental health issues is Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons.
Despite all of the strides athletes have made in recent years when it comes to mental health advocacy, there are some fans out there who have claimed that Simmons has simply been “faking” it.
Love offered a strong message to such fans while speaking to Anthony Puccio of Front Office Sports.
“It’s hard to argue feelings, first and foremost,” Love said. “I think a lot of people like to throw shade at a safe distance. I learned from the late, great Flip Saunders that everybody has a part to play, everybody gets to contribute a verse. I understand a scorned fan. I understand Philly fans — they’re a blue-collar type of place. You go there, it doesn’t matter who you are — even if you’re on their team and you don’t play well, they’re gonna let you know.
“There’s a lot to unpack there with Ben, but knowing him and being a friend, I think, yeah, mentally and with his back physically, he’s getting better, and it’s a work in progress every single day. Look at it in terms of that — time has the ability to heal all.
“When I went back to Minnesota my first year, I got booed pretty well. They still gave me a nice video. People there are just Minnesota nice, they’re great, but as time went on I’ve kept so many of those relationships. Even seeing the fans this year, being back there, you realize it’s all love. So a lot of those people that felt scorned have said, ‘Let’s celebrate the team we have with Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards.’
“I really hope Ben returns to play and plays well. I know the first several times he goes back to play against Philly, he’ll feel some sort of way, but in his heart, in his head, he’s a really good person. He just got caught in a tough situation that wasn’t the easiest on all sides of it, whether it be Doc [Rivers], Joel [Embiid], the organization — I’m hoping everybody had a good landing spot at the end of it.”
Love’s words are definitely strong ones, and it is clear that the five-time All-Star fully supports Simmons’ decision to sit out.
Right now, Simmons is out with a back injury while his Nets teammates look to climb up in the Eastern Conference standings. The Nets sit at the No. 10 seed in the East.
As for Love and Cavs, they sit at the No. 7 seed and also look likely to participate in the play-in tournament. In fact, the Cavs could be locked into a spot in the play-in if they lose and the Toronto Raptors win on Tuesday.
Possible Eastern Conference Playoffs scenarios for today ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Xyx7Tz7Xrp
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 5, 2022
The Cavs and Nets could end up meeting in the tournament to try to earn a spot in the 2022 NBA Playoffs that are set to begin in a little less than two weeks.