DeRozan on inspiring Love: ‘Made me feel pretty damn good’

DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors is proud Kevin Love said he inspired him to talk about his mental-health issues.

DeMar DeRozan had no idea what his acknowledgement that he suffers from depression would mean in the big picture.

Mental health is about as personal an issue there is, but the outpouring of support, understanding and inspiration has been overwhelming for the Toronto Raptors All-Star guard.

In terms of inspiration, by far the most public was that of fellow NBA All-Star Kevin Love, who said in his essay on The Players’ Tribune published Tuesday that DeRozan coming forward spurred him to both seek help for his own issues and the make them public as well.

“Mental health is an invisible thing, but it touches all of us at some point or another,” Love wrote. “It’s part of life. Like DeMar said, ‘You never know what that person is going through.’

“Because just by sharing what he shared, DeMar probably helped some people—and maybe a lot more people than we know—feel like they aren’t crazy or weird to be struggling with depression. His comments helped take some power away from that stigma, and I think that’s where the hope is.”

For his part, DeRozan was touched by Love saying he was inspired by DeRozan.

“It made me feel, you know, pretty damn good, honestly,” DeRozan said about Love’s essay. “So it’s cool to be able to help somebody.

“It made me feel great. That was my whole intent of me speaking out. I understand it’s hard to step up and do a thing like that, so if I had to be the sacrificial lamb to open up that gate to make everybody else feel comfortable, and share their story, and help the next person, that’s what it’s all about”

In an interview with the Toronto Star last week, DeRozan said his bouts with depression can often become overwhelming.

“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,” DeRozan told The Star. “Sometimes … it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world’s on top of you.”

On Tuesday night, DeRozan, 28, said the response to the article has surprised him.

“The last week has been one of the most incredible things that I have witnessed, period,” DeRozan said after scoring 25 points in the Raptors’ 106-90 win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks. “Everything I got back from it was so positive.”

He said he has not talked with Love since his essay appeared in The Players’ Tribune, but it’s on his to-do list.

“Not yet. I’m pretty sure I will,” he said when asked if he’s spoken with Love. “I’mma reach out to him somehow in the next couple days, for sure.”