“Face your demons head on and live outwardly. Doing that is such an extremely liberating experience. I never imagined I’d be in a public setting saying that, but I’m here, and I’m happy to inspire.”
From a young age, Kevin’s life has revolved around basketball. We may know him as a power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but his love for the game started long before our love for this player.
Grounding Through Gratitude;
Playing basketball in high school and all the way through university, Kevin found his feet up in the air, more than on the ground. With consistently changing environments, waking up in new cities daily; establishing a way to remain centred and ground himself, was key.
“First and foremost, it was really tough. Even early on in my basketball career, I was changing cities week to week and even bi-weekly. It was really a grind, so you have to find a way to keep centered, keep balanced and establish some gratitude day to day.”
“I just finished my 12th season in the NBA, so the travelling can become hectic. Depending on the particular city that we go to, I like to take my shoes and socks off, find a piece of grass and ground myself. Oftentimes before a game, after landing in a new city, me and a few team-mates will grab a coffee and sit in the grass.”
In today’s world, establishing structure, stability and sustainable ways of moving through our days can be tough. But “It’s the little things”, stated Love, that add up and make all the difference.
“Overall, finding ways to establish that connection is an extremely important exercise of mine. I think these kinds of practices get lost on a lot of people as they move through life at such a fast pace.”
Growing up in the world of basketball, it would be truthful to label Kevin Love, a basketball player. Just as we would be able to label a dancer, or a doctor; without knowing the various levels of their personal and recreational lives.
Although, if we were to step outside of the box, and see things for more than the labels we’ve bestowed upon them, we could free ourselves from restrictions and reach potentials that may not have seemed possible.
Kevin believes that as we emerge from these times of social justice and covid19, inspiring and encouraging people to move towards happiness is essential.
“The push and the drive towards happiness and away from hopelessness will continue to evolve if we give it the voice it needs. The opposite of happiness is hopelessness, so I think that choosing to move towards happiness and away from hopelessness is key.”
Part of playing in a league such as the NBA, entails that PSA’s and the reach of one’s voice has the ability to influence not just tens of millions, but hundreds of millions of people.
“Nothing robs us of our human potential like mental illness. So for myself, early on, I was like, ‘I’m gonna share my story so I can help that one kid’, not even realizing that when you scale up these messages through a platform such as the NBA, you can reach tens of millions of kids.”
With the NBA not only supporting but being a ‘driving force’, pushing the players to make a larger scale impact, it is no surprise that both on and off the court, the league has bred true team players.
“It’s an incredible feeling seeing your team-mates, as well as friends, pushing towards the difference that the world needs.”
Whether it be Chris Paul, a fellow league member, supplying underprivileged kids throughout the United States with electronics and schooling supplies; or LeBron James, being hands on with the I Promise School, a foundation which gives youth an opportunity at education; being immersed with such inspiring individuals is something that Love bestows great gratitude towards.
You Never Know;
Our words, actions and intentions have ripple effects. Whether broadcasted through platforms such as the NBA, social media, or simply within our day to day lives, we hold great influence whether we realize it or not.
“You never know the impact you’re going to make when you speak your truth, and nothing hurts like the things we don’t say. In sharing your story, you’re able to free yourself and reach more people than you thought possible.”
For Kevin, coming to this realization, changed not only his life, but the lives of those closest to him.
Up until a few years back, Kevin stated that he had placed ‘blinders’ on himself. By disregarding the consequences of his actions, he wasn’t aware of the negative impact that his behaviour had on others, just as they weren’t aware of what he had been battling in the dark.
“My friends didn’t even want to be around me, and for good reason. Until I exposed myself outwardly, started to peel the layers back, and said, ‘Hey this is what I’ve been dealing with’, is when things started getting better. Not only for myself, but for everyone who my actions had been affecting.”
We all come face to face with challenges and trials, some of which have the ability to heal on their own, while others seem to be an unending battle. Kevin’s ability to assess the issues in front of him and focus on the ‘bigger picture’, is what turns his steps from stumbling, to one’s of strengthening, both on and off the court.
Strength in Stumbling;
With a relentless curiosity consistently moving him forwards, Kevin has also found ways to use setbacks as opportunities for growth.
“I think looking at life’s challenges with openness, allows room for growth. A former coach of mine used to say, there’s wins and there’s lessons, never losses.”
In times such as these, when the future seems so unclear, and our lives, equally as uncertain, feelings of fear are easily provoked. Whether it be students who are unable to return to classes, or professionals whose lines of work have become corrupted; the dance of life as we know it, quickly takes on the role of a stumble.
Focusing on the task at hand and conducting ourselves with integrity, is the glue that holds us together.
Life is about each experience and savouring the ‘getting there’. The moments leading up to our goals are where the true enjoyment and shaping of character resides.
“I’m always putting the carrot just beyond what I consider success, and that allows me to get the best from myself every time.”
More often than not, we tend to get ourselves down when we don’t ‘hit it out of the park’ on the first swing, but Kevin rests assured that every next attempt is going to be that much better, having learned and gone through that experience.
“People tend to be so focused on the end result, completely disregarding the present moment. The most satisfying, the most fruitful, and what really sets in with me, is the journey. It’s all about the grind, and everything that went into getting me to that next check point.”
After publicly experiencing his first panic attack in November 2018, Kevin took the time he needed to work on himself and to better understand his own state of mental health.
“I remember the moments before pressing send on my article. My agent had been telling me how everyone was going to look at me differently, everything would change, and an entirely new world would open up.
I was just so done with suffering in silence and living in the shadows. After I hit send, the community of people going through something similar, flooded into my life.”
“The best advice that I could offer, is to speak your truth, face your demons head on and live outwardly. Everyone goes through life and work at their own pace, and in a lot of cases dreams don’t have deadlines.”
Kev says that in following his own advice, he’s been able to find the liberation he sought after for so long, and wishes to spread his message of hope to those seeking.
“I never thought that I’d be in a position to publicly say that, but I’m hoping to inspire.”
There’s a fine line between living life as your authentic self, and sharing that with the public. Oftentimes we end up expressing ourselves in ways that aren’t genuine or true to who we really are, which is something that Kevin experienced first-hand.
“I think that in the world of having a social footprint, becoming lost and absorbed in that reality is fairly easy. Early on, in my twenties, I was chasing and trying to get confirmation from people that I didn’t know. I was seeking to be embraced by people that were out there; rather than seek confirmation from within and embracing myself.”
In being honest with himself, Kevin was able to take a step back and say, ‘I’m not really that person.’
By being able to reconnect with himself authentically, he’s become open and willing to share from a place of genuineness, which he says, ‘feels really good.’
We asked Kevin one final question, what he knows 100% to be true.
He left us with;
”Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family, and both are love.”
With a friend group that Kevin wouldn’t trade for the world, and a support system both near and far, Love’s loyalty lies in the relationships he’s built, and the one’s that have built him up.
“It’s life, you’re gonna mess up. Nothing is perfect, and nothing ever will be; but if you have those people who are loyal to you through thick and thin, they’re not going to care one bit about that, they’re gonna catch you when you fall.”
At TrooMe, we believe that loyalty and love go hand in hand.
Loyalty towards self, guides our morals. Loyalty towards others, guides our manners, and loyalty towards the bigger picture, guides our movements. And if anyone is a perfect example of loyalty in motion, its Kevin Love.
May we follow the example that he is setting, by always speaking our truth, facing our demons head on, and knowing that if we fall, someone will be there to catch us.
By supporting the Kevin Love Fund, you are joining Kevin in the fight to prioritize mental wellness alongside physical health. Together, you will impact lives and spread the word that “…no matter how big or small it seems to you… you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.”