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NBA star Kevin Love wanted to 'pay it forward' by giving financial help to arena workers

The Cleveland Cavaliers star said it's time for athletes to "step up and be community leaders" to help with the financial stress created by the coronavirus.
/ Source: TODAY

Kevin Love believes that a sense of community can help people manage the anxiety created by the spread of the coronavirus across the country.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star forward has backed that sentiment by making a $100,000 donation through the Kevin Love Fund to give financial support to the Cavs' arena workers due to the suspension of the NBA season.

"Obviously it's been an incredibly stressful time for a number of people,'' Love said on TODAY Wednesday. "A lot of 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 athletes."

Love's gesture inspired several NBA team owners as well as NBA stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zion Williamson, Blake Griffin and Steph Curry to also donate money to support their team's arena staff with the NBA season halted as a result of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has particularly hit home in the NBA, where at least seven players have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.

"It was just a way for me to try and help navigate this incredibly stressful and anxiety-ridden to just pay it forward and really help them,'' Love said. "I think it's more of a time for us to step up and be community leaders and do what's right for the people that are having a stressful and tough time."

Love has also been an outspoken proponent of mental health awareness, which has included sharing his own struggles with anxiety and panic attacks.

He has teamed with fellow NBA stars to put a spotlight on mental health as many American workers living paycheck to paycheck find themselves without steady income as bars, restaurants, schools and other businesses have been closed across the country to slow the spread of the virus.

"I think during those times you can feel incredibly hopeless, and I think that's at the root of all anxiety and depression first and foremost,'' he said. "I think it's incredibly tough and not good to do is just sit at home and be by yourself and not reach out to anybody.

"I think people are looking for that sense of community, the feeling of being integrated into something bigger than themselves."

Love was joined on TODAY by Michelle Craske, a professor of psychology, psychiatry, and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, who gave people some tips on how to manage anxiety during this stressful time.

People need to realize that feeling anxious is normal because many others are feeling that way, so it's important to recognize we are all in it together, Craske stressed.

Craske also emphasized the importance of staying connected with friends and family, whether it's through phone calls or FaceTime or online.

"Social connection and support is one of our most effective tools for managing stress and anxiety,'' Craske said.

Love struck a hopeful tone as he addressed that uncertainty that so many are feeling right now.

"I said last night in a PSA for the NBAthat nothing unites us like a common enemy,'' he said. "I think if we can attack this together, human beings can be extremely, extremely resilient and we will get through it.

"If we can stay connected and be together throughout this time, I think that's gonna allow people to be a lot healthier in the long run."