It took a lot of courage for Kevin Love to go public with his mental health struggles in 2018.
In an essay on The Players' Tribune, the Cleveland Cavaliers star opened up about his personal battles with anxiety and depression, and shared what led him to become an advocate for mental health in the NBA and beyond.
Mental health isn't just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn't have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing. No matter what our circumstances, we're all carrying around things that hurt - and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside. Not talking about our inner lives robs us of really getting to know ourselves and robs us of the chance to reach out to others in need. So if you're reading this and you're having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you're not weird or different for sharing what you're going through.
– Kevin Love
Since then, Love has used his platform as an NBA player to help eliminate the stigma around mental health and challenged the norms around mental wellness and masculinity. For his efforts, the former Lake Oswego Laker will be awarded the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award during this year's ESPY Awards broadcast on Sunday.
"If I can help just one child that is suffering to make sense of what they are experiencing, I know my efforts have been worth it," Love said in a statement via the ESPYS Twitter.
"If I can help just one child that is suffering to make sense of what they are experiencing, I know my efforts have been worth it."@kevinlove will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for his work as an advocate of mental health and removing the stigmas surrounding it. pic.twitter.com/vGcKnuIURz— ESPYS (@ESPYS) June 17, 2020
Love launched the Kevin Love Fund in 2018 to continue the conversation around mental health and has appeared at conferences to show others they are not alone in their struggles. When the COVID-19 crisis began, Love pledged to donate $100,000 through the Kevin Love fund to help ease the financial burden for Cavaliers arena and support staff.
It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need -- whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events or checking in on your colleagues and family. -- Kevin Love
Love will join sports legends and global icons like Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Pat Summitt as an Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient.
Listen and subscribe to "Sports Uncovered" for free wherever you listen to podcasts.