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NBA star Kevin Love has been honored by a Boston-based foundation for his work to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.
The Ruderman Family Foundation honored the Cleveland Cavaliers star with its annual Morton E. Ruderman Award on Thursday.
In its statement, the foundation said that Love "has repeatedly taken steps to eradicate the mental health stigma by sharing stories of his struggles with depression, anxiety, and other challenges," sharing Love has established his own fund, the Kevin Love Fund, with the goal to help more than one billion people within a five-year period.
Love expressed his gratitude toward the organization for honoring him with the award, highlighting other professional athletes who have publicly shared their mental health struggles.
"Over the past few years, athletes around the world have shown us incredible courage by shining a light on the mental health toll that comes with extreme pressure. In doing so, they helped kickstart a cultural shift around mental wellness. When I first spoke out about my mental health struggles, it transformed my life," Love said in his statement.
"Our goal at the Kevin Love Fund is to inspire people to live their healthiest lives while providing tools for both mental and physical health. We are on a bold mission to impact one billion lives over the next five years."
Love, who has won an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal, shared his mental health struggles in a 2018 Players Tribune essay, revealing that he had been seeing a therapist for several months following a panic attack during a game.
Love recently established the Kevin Love Fund chair at his alma mater, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) psychology department to diagnose, prevent, treat and destigmatize anxiety and depression, according to the statement.
"In both word and action, Kevin has played an instrumental role in destigmatizing mental health and bringing this long-overdue conversation out in the open, while expanding access to much-needed resources," Ruderman Family Foundation President Jay Ruderman said.
"He has served as a high-profile role model for countless people facing mental health challenges, who can now use his courage and determination as a guiding light. We are proud to honor Kevin with the Morton E. Ruderman Award for these inspired efforts."
The Morton E. Ruderman Award, named after foundation founder Morton E. Ruderman, past recipients include actress Tajiri P. Henson, U.S. Olympian Michael Phelps, and actress Marlee Matlin, according to The Associated Press