Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star, received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the ESPYS, which air on Sunday, June 1, 2020.
Love received the award due to his work as a spokesperson for mental health and wellness. The NBA star wrote a personal essay titled “Everyone Is Going Through Something” about a panic attack he had during a game in 2017. The essay was published in The Players Tribune on March 6, 2018.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is named after the former tennis star and is given each year to one person whose contributions transcend sports.
Love Receives the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2020 ESPYS
Because of his work to destigmatize mental health issues and the creation of the Kevin Love Foundation to deal with maintaining mental health, Love was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
“It is an absolute honor to receive this award and I am incredibly humbled by it,” Love said in a statement. “In telling my story, 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.
“And I hope one day we are able to erase the stigma around mental illness, starting with public conversations around mental health and encouraging people to seek help when they need it, followed by research, action, and change.”
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman told cleveland.com that Love displays courage and vulnerability over the past couple years in talking about mental health.
“His overwhelming desire to seek help for not only himself but others like him sheds light on the true spirit of his character,” Altman told cleveland.com. “The global impact felt through his personal journey and the continued work of his foundation makes us all proud. And to witness up close the evolution of his achievements both on and off the court, I can’t think of a better person to receive such a prestigious honor.”
Love Has Been Open About His Struggles With Anxiety
In his essay “Everyone is Going Through Something,” Love detailed his struggles with anxiety and the panic attack he had on November 5, 2017.
“It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before. I didn’t even know if they were real. But it was real — as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle. Since that day, almost everything about the way I think about my mental health has changed,” he wrote in the essay.
He took time in the essay to talk about the fact that he was not comfortable talking about things other than basketball with the public until his decision to write the essay.
“If you’re suffering silently like I was, then you know how it can feel like nobody gets it,” he wrote. “Partly, I want to do it for me, but mostly, I want to do it because people don’t talk about mental health enough. And men and boys are probably the farthest behind.”
The ESPYS will be hosted by Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson. Guest stars Halle Berry, Simone Biles, Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, Malcolm Jenkins, Chloe Kim, Peyton Manning, Patrick Mahomes, Matthew McConaughey, Robin Roberts, Breanna Steward, Mike Trout, Lindsey Vonn and JJ Watt.