Kevin Love has inspired people across the country to open up about their struggles with mental health and depression. It’s a battle he knows all too well. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers star has shared his experiences on mental health, including a panic attack in a game against the Atlanta Hawks that he detailed in a column in The Players’ Tribune.

Since coming to the conclusion that he was dealing with anxiety and depression, Love’s life hasn’t been the same. He’s since made it his goal to be the face of mental health and wants to eradicate the stigma around masculinity and mental health. 

It’s that honesty, vulnerability and desire to bring conversation to that topic that earned Love the prestigious Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs for his work. The Lake Oswego High School alum called receiving the award a “humbling” experience. 

When I think about those I am joining as an Ashe recipient, humbled does not even begin to describe the feeling. Billie Jean King. Muhammad Ali. Bill Russell. I’m not going to try to do justice to all that these trailblazing icons have achieved. But I want to recognize and remind you that when they spoke up, they were not greeted with the warm reception that I was. They knew that change isn’t always pretty, but that history would be on their side. In light of all that’s going on in our country today, I accept this award as both an honor and a challenge. A challenge to not only continue on my path, but to push beyond it and stay vocal even when silence feels safer.” – Kevin Love 

 

The 31-year-old has been one of the key figures in the NBA and NBAPA’s mental health program for players. COVID-19 reminded him of the importance of physical well-being and what can happen when people internalize their problems and stress. 

His Kevin Love Fund has helped generate conversations, spearhead research and ignite partnerships in erasing the stigma around mental health. On Monday, the former UCLA Bruin committed $500k through his foundation to establish the Kevin Love Fund Centennial Chair in UCLA’s psychology department. 

Love’s message is one that resonates with so many in the country, and can hopefully inspire others in the league to follow in his footsteps.