In recent years, Kevin Love has become one of the most outspoken athletes when it comes to discussing their own battles with mental health and trying to remove the stigma of seeking help for one’s depression, anxiety or other mental health problem.
Love opened up initially in a Players Tribune piece in 2018 titled “Everybody Is Going Through Something,” and he and with DeMar DeRozan became the NBA’s two driving forces in the league and players association working out a mental health program for players. Love has continued being an advocate for mental health off the court and will be recognized for that work at the ESPYs this Sunday when he receives the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which he told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt is “incredibly” humbling and only signals that he must continue his work.
“I’m incredibly humbled by it,” Love said. “It’s really a profound honor if you look back at that group of men and women who I admire. Billie Jean King, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, to name a few. It’s very, very humbling to see my name next to those. I just feel like I have so much more work to do. Those are people who put in a lifetime of work. With my name next to theirs, I have an obligation and opportunity to make a lot of change in the world of mental health.
“I know what Arthur Ashe stood for and what he was about, especially being around UCLA. It’s just tough for me even now to put it into words what this means because it’s so much bigger than the realm of sports.”
The Kevin Love Fund, which he established, will be a big part of that continuing effort and among his plans for what’s next is to endow a chair at his alma mater, UCLA, in the psychology department for research on mental health.