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Kevin Love: Time for players to 'be more than just athletes'

Cavaliers forward explains why he donated $100K to help Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse workers

From NBA media reports

Mar 18, 2020 12:50 PM ET

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Kevin Love was one of the first NBA players to donate money to help offset the lost wages part-time workers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse would suffer in the wake of the outbreak. On March 13, he offered up $100,000 to help the workers in Cleveland address what he described as their “sudden life shift.”

The Cavs star also appeared in a video from the NBA in which he stressed the importance of compassion and empathy as people around the United States and the world deal with the affects of COVID-19. Love was on Wednesday's edition of the "Today Show" and said his desire to help and speak out so much during the coronavirus pandemic was borne from a desire to help how he could as an NBA player.

"You have people living paycheck to paycheck so I felt this is really the time, especially for us NBA players to walk the walk and be more than just athletes," Love said. "We see people in the community, we see people working in our arena at least 41 nights a year, us playing home games. So it was just a way for me to try and help navigate this stressful and incredibly anxiety-ridden time.

"To just pay it forward and really help them. It’s been tough, just trying to normalize the conversation around what is going on. People are feeling a certain way about it so I think it’s more of a time for us to step up and be leaders, to be community leaders and do what is right for the people that are having a very stressful and tough time.”

Love isn't the only player to donate money to part-time workers in NBA cities, as other players and teams have made similar commitments. Reigning Kia MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is making a $100,000 pledge on behalf of his family and fellow Bucks star Khris Middleton is also donating $100,000. 

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans said he would “cover the salaries” for workers at the team’s arena for the next 30 days. Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons pledged $100,000 for workers there. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player diagnosed with coronavirus, pledged $200,000 to part-time employees as part of a $500,000 overall donation to help in relief services.

 
Kevin Love reminded fans that empathy and compassion are key in these times.

Dr. Michelle Craske, a psychologist and professor at UCLA -- which is Love's alma mater -- joined Love on the interview Thursday and spoke about the importance of dealing with anxiety from the coronavirus pandemic in meaningful and helpful ways. Love has had a well-documented, long-term battle with anxiety and depression and has worked closely with Craske over the years in helping to bring the issue to light both in the NBA and in Cleveland.

Love said in Wednesday's interview that Craske has helped him keep aspects of the coronavirus pandemic in perspective.

"She had a great saying yesterday that I hadn’t heard and its social distancing doesn’t mean social or self-isolation. I think during those times you can feel incredibly hopeless and I think that is at the root of all anxiety and depression first and foremost," Love said.

"Obviously we have been distanced right now from pretty much everyone else to groups smaller than 10 people, so it’s really, really important to be empathetic to that. Continue to tell people what you are going through, I know it’s a very stressful anxiety ridden time, like I said last night ... nothing unites us like the common enemy. I think if we can attack this together human beings can be extremely, extremely resilient and we will all get through it. But we need to stay connected and be together during throughout this time, I think that’s going to allow people to be a lot healthier in the long run.”


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