Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for sparking a national conversation about mental health. Two years ago, he wrote an online essay detailing his struggles with mental health, including having a panic attack during a game. As a result, other athletes and fans began sharing details of their own mental health challenges and sharing resources on how to get help.
Love created the Kevin Love Fund and has continued speaking out. During the COVID-19 crisis, he’s shared tips on how to cope with the stress and isolation caused by the pandemic. At home, Love opened a box with the trophy inside, proclaiming, “It’s nice and shiny.” “In light of all that’s going on in our country today, I accept this award as both an honor and a challenge,” he said, looking into the camera. “A challenge to not only continue on my path, but to push beyond it and stay vocal even when silence feels safer.”
Kevin Love isn’t slowing down his push to raise mental health awareness. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward, who has been outspoken in his own struggles with panic attacks and anxiety, committed $500,000 through his foundation to UCLA’s psychology department on Monday. Love played one season for the Bruins (2007-08) and he’s helping his alma mater’s work in diagnosing, preventing, treating and destigmatizing anxiety and depression.

The Cavs went 4-4 in the eight games with Drummond, who has been coy about his decision. But all signs point the same way. It’s a strange time in the NBA. The salary cap was headed south already because of the fractured relationship with China. The pandemic only exacerbates the impending revenue loss. Drummond doesn’t have much of a choice remaining.
Storyline: Andre Drummond Free Agency
Nothing has changed on the Love front. Even though he was peeved at various points this season — openly pouting, venting and verbalizing his misery — that was during a time when Beilein was still around and the team looked like a dumpster fire. Love has a phenomenal relationship with Bickerstaff that goes back to their days in Minnesota. Bickerstaff will have a better understanding of how to keep Love engaged and happy.
Would Love still prefer to play for a contender? Of course. It’s incredibly challenging to go from four years of chasing titles to two straight of chasing lottery ping-pong balls. The Cavs being more competitive, just as they were in the 11 games under Bickerstaff before the league shutdown, helped. How the Cavs start 2020-21 — if Love is still on the roster — will be key. But enough has changed since his desire to be traded that it won’t be harmful to keep Love around and the veteran won’t force his way out.
Storyline: Kevin Love Trade?
Those are the kinds of numbers the Cavs continue to focus on. They see plenty of value in keeping Love, whose bloated contract, injury history and age play into being the centerpiece of trade chatter. If the Cavs get what they deem a fair offer, they will pursue some combination of draft picks and young players — as unrealistic as some NBA officials consider that demand. That’s the rub. The Cavs’ view of Love doesn’t align with the rest of the league. Until that gap narrows, Love is likely to stay in Cleveland.
When Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love decided to go public with his mental health and wellness experiences in 2018, he admitted he was concerned about putting himself out there, telling the world about panic attacks and anxiety in a first-person essay titled, “Everyone is Going Through Something” on The Players’ Tribune.
Storyline: Mental Health
“While I thought that through pretty thoroughly, I had spoken to my agent (Jeff Schwartz), and he knows how these things go when people live their life in the open,” Love told USA TODAY Sports. “He totally got it and said, ‘You’re going to open up yourself to a lot of people. A lot of people will be talking about this, and people are going to recognize you for more than basketball. Are you sure you want this?’
For his efforts, especially with young people dealing with mental health and wellness, Love will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at Sunday’s 28th ESPY Awards show (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). The award, named after the tennis great, is given each year to a person whose contributions transcend sports. “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.”
Storyline: Mental Health
“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 Cleveland Cavaliers announced that they will recognize June 19, also known as Juneteenth, as an annual paid holiday for the entire organization. It will go into effect this Friday. Juneteenth — sometimes referred to as Freedom Day — commemorates African-American freedom. On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free.

Cavaliers keeping Tristan Thompson?

“He’s just so valuable for this team and this organization. I really hope that he’s back.” Love isn’t the only one. Multiple sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs want Thompson to stay. The front office discussed an extension with his camp earlier this season. While those talks quickly broke down and the Cavs eventually traded for two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond, the Cavs plan to at least try to re-sign Thompson this offseason — even if it’s a one-year, mutually-beneficial deal that allows him to hit free agency in the summer of 2021, where more teams will have cap space and the impact of COVID-19 may soften.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 124 more rumors
After all, given what he’s already accomplished during his career and how he played in 57 games this season, would coming off the bench and possibly playing fewer minutes than usual really be that appealing? The draft, which is scheduled for Oct. 15, three days before free agency, could add another wrinkle to this, especially if the Cavs take Memphis big man James Wiseman or USC’s Onyeka Okongwu. “It’s 50-50,” a source said when asked about the chances of Thompson returning to Cleveland.
It’s only been about a week since the Cleveland Cavaliers’ jagged 2019-20 season abruptly ended. But it didn’t take long for promising young guard Collin Sexton to set a lofty goal for next season, one that will drive him during a longer-than-usual summer. “I want to push towards that All-Star Game,” Sexton said during a Zoom call with reporters on Friday. “I know what (that stage) feels like and it just makes me hungry and makes me want to work that much harder. That’s what’s next for me.”
No surprise, but several team executives tell me that they are anticipating that the economic fallout of the stalled season will lead most, if not all, big-ticket player options to be picked up in the offseason. That includes Gordon Hayward ($31.9 million), Andre Drummond ($28.8) and Nicolas Batum ($24 million). San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan ($27.7 million) likely will, too, but with the Spurs rebuilding, DeRozan, 30, could roll the dice on there being one more big contract out there for him in the fall.

Jazz very unlikely to move Mike Conley

Given how the season has gone, do you foresee the Jazz moving Conley in the offseason for better roster balance and to free up more time at the one for Donovan and Jordan Clarkson? (I’ve heard Kevin Love’s name being thrown around.) – KC M. There’s almost zero chance of the Jazz moving on from Conley. First, they don’t want to. Second, even if they did, it would be exceptionally difficult to do so given his contract. Third, people need to stop associating Kevin Love’s name with the Jazz. Conley was playing his best basketball of the season, especially so because he’s finally gotten comfortable with the system. So Conley will almost definitely be in a Jazz uniform next season.
Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond is known for his rebounding prowess. The University of Connecticut product has averaged 13.8 rebounds per game for his career, but when he was playing for the Detroit Pistons, one of his teammates attempted to lower that total. Drummond revealed that he actually punched that teammate for stealing his rebounds. “I’ve put my hands on my teammates before,” Drummond said on the Mickstape Podcast. “It doesn’t matter who. It was in Detroit, he’s actually one of my really close friends, too. “I had to put my hands on him when we first got him. I told him to do something and he didn’t do it. I gave him a warning and he still didn’t do it.”
Sensing the enormity of the moment, Bickerstaff wanted to create a platform for everyone to speak freely about those raw emotions, share their own experiences, voice their concerns and present ideas on the best path forward. One member of the organization fought off tears while discussing the fear — and accompanying tremble — that runs through when being pulled over. He explained how meaningless his accomplishments are in that moment. Same with the neighborhood he now lives in and his NBA status. When those police lights go on and reflect off the rearview mirror, he’s consumed with thoughts about becoming the latest causality of this systemic problem. That first-hand experience is not only shared by many in the NBA, but countless African Americans throughout the country. Bickerstaff can relate.
“Our league is more than basketball. Our players are more than just athletes. They are spokesmen. They are fathers. They are brothers. They are sons. They have opinions and they share in the fears that all of our community have,” Bickerstaff said Tuesday while recapping the coronavirus-impacted 2019-20 season. “We’ve had conversations with our guys about it, and they’ve verbalized it to us, both of the fear that they have of police interactions and the fear that they have of fitting the description. All of those things, as sad as it is, are still prevalent.
“This is a two-sided issue. Either you’re for equality or you’re not, there’s no neutral. I think that’s where we’ve been caught for too long, we’ve let people off the hook in being neutral. I don’t think we can do that anymore. Racism is not just a black problem. It doesn’t just impact black people. It won’t change unless we all make a conscious decision and effort to help change it. All the coaches in the league — white, black, Filipino, Hispanic — we all have a responsibility to speak out on this. If you don’t speak out on it, you’ve made a choice. And that is the choice to be on the side of wrong, in my mind.”
All due respect to Kevin Durant and the other ballers from Prince George’s County, recently celebrated in the Showtime documentary “In the Water,” but the District’s history of great basketball dates back to … well, damn near its creation, back to when Edwin B. Henderson introduced the game to the city, to the Washington 12 Streeters at the Colored YMCA more than a century ago, and to Howard University soon after. Henderson, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2013, learned the game at Harvard in 1904 from the inventor of the game, James Naismith.