Kyle Korver’s delicate balance: time to grieve, time to play
Tue., April 17, 2018
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – Kyle Korver is getting daily treatment on his bruised right foot and taking medication to fight off a “nasty little bug” that has made its way through Cleveland’s roster.
Only time can heal his broken heart.
As he begins chasing a championship, Korver is wrestling with the recent death of his younger brother, Kirk, who died at 27 from complications following a sudden illness.
Following Tuesday’s practice, Korver paused several times while discussing a “very complicated month” that has changed his life and split him in two. He’s walking an emotional balance beam.
“You come back from dealing with death and the family and you hold that in one hand and you hold the playoffs here in another hand and it’s interesting to kind of balance both of those at the same time and try to get yourself ready to play basketball,” he said. “And, I’ve been hurt. I feel like it’s been a very complicated month in my mind, but I feel like I’m in a good spot right now and I’m ready to play.”
Korver was on the floor for just four minutes in the 98-80 loss to Indiana in Game 1, but he’s feeling better and expects to have more of an impact as the Cavaliers try to even the series Wednesday night.
The 37-year-old swingman has been comforted by his wife, Juliet, his family and an overwhelming outpouring of support from teammates, opponents and many in the NBA community.
The words and flowers and text messages have brought some peace, but Korver remains conflicted on how to mourn, how to express his grief.
“You know that you don’t cry when you think about your brother? Is that good? I don’t think that’s good,” he said. “I feel like I’m trying to go through all the emotions and stages and waves that people tell me about. I understand that this is part of life and when you go through something like this, it’s amazing how many people come up to you and talk about their own stories that they’ve had. There have been so many.
“They’re hard and they’re hard to hear, but it’s also very comforting to know that you’re going through this with a lot of people and a lot of people care about you.”
Korver was also warmed by reaction to a video of him speaking at Kirk’s funeral. Flanked by his other brothers, Kyle and Klayton, he looked at his parents and said, “You will always have four sons.”
“I’m told a lot of people have watched it and it meant something to a lot of people,” Korver said. “I think if your brother has to die, you want something good to come of it. You know, it will take a long time to see the good that comes from that. I don’t really know if I have the head space right now to think about all that.
“It means a lot that people received that all well and commented. I’ve been told it’s been helpful.”
His job hasn’t provided much sanctuary, mainly because Korver has been injured. He hasn’t been able to move the way he normally does, cutting across the baseline or coming off a screen to knock down a 3-pointer.
“Whether it’s good or bad, I just want to play really hard,” he said. “But I couldn’t, I haven’t been able to just because of it. It’s good to have something now to kind of sink into, just for a little bit of every day kind of get lost in and try harder.”
Korver was starting before he left the team following a March 19 win over Milwaukee to be with his family in Iowa. Coach Tyronn Lue wanted him back with the first group for the playoffs, but couldn’t because of the foot injury so Rodney Hood started Game 1.
It’s possible Korver could start Game 2, with Lue considering a lineup change. Lue hinted he used what he thinks is his best lineup only for a brief stretch on Sunday “when Kyle was out there for three minutes.”
The Cavs need his shooting, and Korver wants to deliver.
There’s another game to play, some time to clear his mind and maybe for some 3-pointers to fall.
“I tried that the other night and I got taken out real quick,” he said with a smile. “It will be good. Hopefully there will be some opportunity for me tomorrow.”
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