Kevin Love Q + A
KLove on Michael Beasley, starting and big contracts.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
One of my fondest memories from the summer of 2006 was the dominance of the Southern California All Stars. Coached by Jody Gardner and run by one of the Dons of the LA hoop scene, Pat Barrett, SCA touted a crispy lineup: Brandon Jennings at point guard, Daniel Hackett/Malik Story at the two, Taylor King at small forward, Renardo Sidney at power forward and Kevin Love at center. They ran the show that summer, boasting an average margin of victory of 30 points per game. They won five major tournaments and the only two games they lost that year came when Love was unavailable to play. Seeing Love and Jennings work the court was truly special and that particular squad is considered one of the greatest AAU teams ever assembled.
Looking back, I was fortunate to catch some of their games and during that period, I had a chance to get to know Kevin’s father Stan a little bit. A former college basketball star that played a few years in the NBA, I found him to be very friendly and knowledgeable about the game. We would talk about the recruiting wars, NBA contracts and shoe companies. In 2007, I had a chance to interview Kevin at the Gatorade POY luncheon in LA. He was on his way to UCLA and determined to make his mark in the NBA in the near future.
Kevin was back in L.A. on Wednesday at the 2010 Gatorade luncheon. He presented this year’s award to Pine Crest High standout and Kentucky-bound point guard Brandon Knight. SLAM had a chance to catch up with the articulate big man, who spoke about the many moves of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the LeBron James saga and the riches of free agency.
SLAM: How’s your dad doing?
Kevin Love: Everybody is doing great—the whole family. They just went back last night. They were just down here.
SLAM: I love your pops. I can talk hoops with him all day.
KL: Everybody does, man. Everybody does. He calls it how he sees it. Not everybody likes that.
SLAM: Well, I love it. That’s how I want it all the time. What have you been doing this offseason—where have you been spending your time?
KL: Here in Santa Monica so this was an easy trip for me. Been working out, doing my yoga and lifting a little bit. Playing my basketball at Saint Monica’s with Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, a bunch of different players down there. OJ Mayo. A bunch of guys who are working out getting ready for USA basketball.
SLAM: It sounds like there’s been some movement on that team so there are some opportunities there. Is that something that excites you?
KL: It excites me a lot. It’s going to be a lot more of a younger team than it was in Beijing just because I don’t think any of the players are coming back. I think from Athens, Amar’e and Lamar played and I think those are the only two other Olympic guys trying out. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I know Rondo is another new guy trying to make the team. I think we have a good young core of guys with a chance of making it and I’m crossing my fingers hoping I play well, letting my game take care of itself out there.
SLAM: I’m excited. I think it would be an interesting team to watch with the young faces, the guys who are coming up getting a chance to wear the colors.
KL: Yeah, it would kind of be like the game of tomorrow because most of the guys came out in 2006, 2007, 2008. A young group of guys—the players of tomorrow so to speak. You have a guy ahead of his time in Derrick, a second year all star and Kevin Durant as well. Those types of players are the guys I foresee on the team already but there’s going to be some other guys that make their way on the roster and it will be exciting to see.
SLAM: You guys are making a bunch of moves this offseason. Your team traded big Al. Talk about that a little bit. Is it going to be a lot different without him?
KL: It’s going to be very different. I was just mentioning that two guys that had a big influence on me were Kevin McHale, obviously he’s gone, and Al Jefferson who kind of helped with my post game and off the court stuff as well. It was tough losing him but at the same time it clears up some space for me to play more minutes and other guys on the team to play some minutes as well.