Kevin Love’s mental health activism seems to be catalyst for ‘unprecedented’ change NBA could make

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest paradigm shifts that has occurred in sports over the last few years has to do with mental health amongst professional athletes.

For decades, the only kind of mental approach to sports and competitions that was respected revolved around toughness, grit and leadership. Players who struggled mentally were often labeled as soft and derided by fans, pundits and fellow players alike.

These days, a lot has changed, and athletes across the sports world now speak candidly about their own mental health struggles. Cleveland Cavaliers veteran Kevin Love is a big reason why.

In 2018, Love penned an essay for The Players’ Tribune in which he opened up about his own mental health struggles. Since then, countless athletes have admitted to having their own struggles.

It’s been a special thing to see as society as a whole gains greater appreciation and understanding for the needs of mental health monitoring and support.

Now, it looks like the NBA will be officially taking those important considerations a step further by potentially allowing players to cite mental health issues as an ailment similar to a physical injury.

“In what would be an unprecedented and progressive change for American pro sports, the NBA and NBPA are discussing measures to allow players to cite mental health issues as an ailment similar to physical injury, per sources with knowledge of the talks,” Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote. “Similar to when players treat external injuries, this new addition would give players the ability to treat their mental health concerns with the same gravity, allowing for things such as the seeking of second opinions and psychiatrist visits.

Chicago Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love have been at the forefront of shedding light on mental health battles and bringing awareness and acceptance to the issues in recent years.”

DeRozan is just one player that has directly cited Love for his bravery to come forward and start the conversation about mental health in sports. Other athletes that have credited Love include Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and former NFL star Brandon Marshall.

Brandon Marshall and Kevin Love

It is fantastic that the NBA is considering making such a strong move. Surely, Love is feeling proud and grateful of the fact that his brave decision several years ago has had such a major impact.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Cavaliers Nation.