Q&A: Kevin Love

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 with No comments
Courtesy of Dime

How and when did you start drinking chocolate milk before and after practice?
My earliest memories drinking chocolate milk were when I was super young. My brother was older than me, and we’d be playing various sports inside and out, and the first thing we’d reach for was chocolate milk. That was before we knew the benefits and it was backed by science. You could say we knew what we were doing. We’d probably go through a gallon every couple days. We were outside running around so much, on the blacktop playing basketball, and that was our drink of choice.
You’re a huge student of the game and you’ve talked to Kevin Garnett about footwork, John Wooden and Bill Walton while you were at UCLA and Kevin McHale when you first came into the league. What’s the best bit of on- and off-court advice you’ve ever gotten?
They’re both one and the same because it’s so applicable. Kevin McHale taught me, or told me to ‘chase the game,’ or ‘chase what you love,’ and ‘everything you love will chase you right back.’ For me it was chase the game and the game will chase you right back. The game has been very good to me, even from an early age. He taught me that my rookie year, and it’s done pretty well for me sticking by that, so it’s a little testament that hard works pays off, but it’s more than that.
Is there anything basketball-specific you’ve heard? Obviously, you watched old tapes of Unseld, but besides the outlet pass, what do you use on the court?
Which I was gonna —
Sorry if we stole your answer.
No, that’s OK. One that’s very simple just because I don’t wanna take up too much time thinking about it, but Mike Miller and James Jones they both have their little ‘let it fly,’ wristbands on, so I try to live by that.
You wrote a Players’ Tribune piece before the season, so what sorts of things have you taken away from the Cavs so far this year?
That’s actually a funny little segue. I think chasing the game is the perfect example for the season. Quiet all the noise that’s out there because we’ve had so much going on with this team — as far as the TV games and the social media landscape and every city we go people want a piece of us — I think quieting that noise and just doing right by the team has been the mantra for this team the whole year.
You’re pretty active online, do you generally stay away from what’s written about you? Is that a motto of yours: don’t read about yourself?
At the end of the day, it’s 2015 and you have to play the game a little bit. That doesn’t necessarily mean reading the stuff, because I don’t, but I think still being active on there and knowing that you do have a lot fans out there is something that I hold close and still want to be a part of. So it does have a deeper meaning for me, but on the surface it’s not really my go-to thing.
So it’s a balancing act: interact with fans, but don’t let the other stuff get in the way of your goals…
Exactly, and I like to be in the know and have a lot of information, but really only what’s on my sideline out there.
Have you been following this year’s UCLA team? Do you still watch a lot of college hoops?
Not as much as I used to, and with the UCLA team, I guess I’m a late adopter. I watched them in the Pac-12 Tournament and a few games early on. But now, I wanna see how they do in the Tournament and Sweet Sixteen. It wasn’t expected. I don’t know if a lot of people even thought they’d be in the NCAA Tournament, so I’m obviously tipping my hat to them and rooting for them going forward.
Not sure if you watched HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” but he did a piece on Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA and during that segment O’Bannon mentioned a game you were a part of: “NCAA Basketball 09.” You were on the cover of the game, so do you ever think about college athletes getting paid versus the unpaid amateur status college’s hold so dear?
Oh all the time. And this the perfect time to ask that question. The same could be said for the college football playoff system, and how much money the schools and the NCAA are making off these products — which are the athletes. Every round you advance, your school and NCAA make more and more and more money and it’ll be interesting to see because these kids will be the No. 1 picks all the way down to the 12th, 13th, 14th man. But they’re only getting their monthly stipend, which probably won’t get them that far. Especially for the rather large football and basketball players; it’s just not going to do that much for them. It’s an interesting debate, and could go on forever until something changes, but who’s to say what’s right or what’s wrong?
Is that something you ran into at UCLA? Maybe that monthly stipend just wasn’t enough and it affected a teammate’s decision to declare early or stay in school?
Our football team was very good, they aren’t as good as they are now of course, but those guys are so big — I’m thinking about just so much food — and having to feed themselves outside of their training table and eating with their team. More often than not, they’re gonna go through that [spending their personal money on food].
As far as it affecting guys on our team, I think we — between Russell [Westbrook], Darren [Collison], myself and Luke [Walton] –I think we pretty much knew we were gonna make it to the next level, so I don’t know if it affected our decision. But Luke, Russell and myself, we ended up leaving and Darren ended up staying.
Have you been watching Russell put up a triple-double every other night?
Yeah, it’s unbelievable and it’s fun to watch. Every night I’m looking to see when Oklahoma City is playing and what Russell did. I think everybody is kinda at that point now. He’s just in the zone, and it’s cool to see.
Let’s come back around to the question I wanted you to think about at the beginning: what do you always hope people will ask you, but they never do?
Let me ask you this: what is the most commonly said thing?
Iverson was the most illuminating, but most people want to talk about their family, whether it’s their kids or parents. Like I said at the opening, most guys don’t know how to answer it, which is why we wanted to let you think about it a bit. 
As far as the family, I’m pretty private. So I don’t know if I really want to talk about that, but I just had a conversation about my Aunt, who won the Iron Man Triathlon in 1982, so that’s cool — since I can’t think of anything.
So athletics run in your family, obviously.
They do. That and music, but we don’t have to get into that.
Are you not musically inclined?
No. Not at all.
What would be the go-to karaoke song you’d feel comfortable singing in front of other people?
It would have to be something old school…
We were thinking Beach Boys. 
Yeah, probably keep it in the family, so Beach Boys.