Kevin Love and basketball world rally around Ricky Rubio as he steps away for mental health

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Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Rubio’s decision to step away from basketball to deal with his mental health is resulting in strong support from the basketball world, including former Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love.

The exact reason for Rubio’s decision has yet to be disclosed, though it will preclude the veteran guard from competing in the upcoming FIBA World Cup later this month.

Love’s support comes as no surprise, considering that he’s become one of the most prominent voices in all of sports when it comes to the issue of mental health. In addition, he and Rubio were teammates with both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cavaliers.

In Love’s case, he’s openly spoken about issues he was forced to deal with both before and during his NBA career, including panic attacks and family issues.

Patrick Beverley, whose NBA career has been marked by periodic outbursts, has also taken steps in recent years to address his own mental health concerns. In 2019, Beverley began to make more of an effort to contain his sometimes volatile on-court behavior. That came after a season in which he was assessed 14 technical fouls and also clashed with a fan.

Love agreed earlier this offseason to a new deal with the Miami Heat, who added him during the 2022-23 season after he was bought out of his remaining contract with the Cavaliers. While his new deal isn’t as lucrative as his previous four-year, $120 contract with the Cavs, the 34-year-old Love appears content to potentially close out his career with the Heat.

Beverley signed a contract last month to play for the 76ers, a deal he no doubt hopes will offer some stability. That’s because since the start of the 2020-21 season, he’s played for four different teams and was also briefly a member of multiple other NBA organizations.

Rubio’s announcement will no doubt lead to additional players offering similar signs of support. As one of the more respected veterans in the NBA, Rubio has a stature in the game that serves as a reason for such an assessment.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.