Kevin Love, one of the biggest advocates for mental health in the NBA, committed on Monday to donate $500,000 to establish the Kevin Love Fund Centennial Chair in UCLA’s psychology department, the school announced on Monday.
The news comes just one day after the Cleveland Cavaliers star and former UCLA standout won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS for his mental health advocacy work.
Love’s donation, per the release, will support both teaching and research activity at the school that helps diagnose, prevent, treat and destigmatize anxiety and depression.
“I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that people are feeling. Recent events, including the novel coronavirus outbreak, have put our society under enormous stress,” Love said in a statement. “I am happy to be able to help UCLA, my alma mater, work toward solving some of society’s biggest underlying issues.
“I hope one day we are able to erase the stigma around anxiety and depression, and we can only do that by improving diagnosis and treatment, fostering public conversations about mental health and encouraging people to seek help when they need it.”
Love was averaging 17.6 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Cavaliers this season, his 12th in the league, when the NBA suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-time All-Star spent one season with the Bruins in 2007-08, where he averaged 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds while picking up consensus All-American honors and leading them to the Final Four.
The 31-year-old first opened up about his anxiety and panic attacks in 2018, just one week after San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan shared his similar experiences. They were among the first in the league to do so, which sparked several other NBA players and professional athletes across the sports world to speak out about mental health.
Former Iowa State star Royce White first brought up the issue upon arrival to the league in 2012, but lasted just more than a year after reported clashes with the Houston Rockets over his general anxiety disorder.
Love has continually pushed the issue forward ever since he first opened up about the subject. He’s spoken out about mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, too, in an effort to help those who have been impacted the most by the virus.
“When heroes like Kevin come forward and share their vulnerability, it shines a light on anxiety and depression, and that helps chip away at stigma,” Michelle Craske, a UCLA distinguished professor of psychology, psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences, said in a statement. “I want to thank Kevin for his leadership and his courage to share his personal story with the world. He has inspired and provided hope to many. Through his continued efforts, he is changing people’s lives.”
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