While some NBA players are assessing their options during the lockout and talking of the possibility of playing basketball in Europe, Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love is taking up an opportunity to play a different sport. The double-double machine hopes to translate his athleticism into bumping, setting and spiking as a professional volleyball player.
Love never really played volleyball before, but at 6-foot-9 or so, he should be a natural. He’s set to play in Manhattan Beach Open next month to test his pro volleyball skills. OK, Love also admits he’s also looking at other options should the lockout cut into or cancel the NBA season, but let’s be honest, the volleyball is the most interesting part.
Kevin Love joined WFAN with Boomer and Carton to discuss the start of his volleyball career, his transition to becoming good in the NBA, if he’s watching the lockout, if the players learned anything from the NFL lockout, why players were happy the Heat didn’t win it all, and what he’ll do if there is no NBA season.
Were you a volleyball player before?:
“I wasn’t, I wasn’t much growing up, but it was just a great opportunity to be involved with Jose Cuervo, who kind of built the sport from the ground up. It was just a home run.”
How does a guy from the West Coast who is 6-foot-9 not grow up playing volleyball?:
“We actually don’t have the sport, whether it’s the beach, obviously in Portland, or even on the basketball courts inside.”
How long did it take you to learn you could be a pretty good NBA player?:
“I always knew early on, the biggest thing for me was just the opportunity. Early on, I kind of just had to set myself up and work my way through the ranks. I had great veterans my rookie year that really helped me along the way. Everything happens for a reason. Big Al Jefferson, my rookie year, went down and I came in and stepped in midway through the season and played a lot of minutes.”
Are you keeping tabs on the NBA lockout?:
“I think everybody in our position has to be involved. We’re just looking at the owners and looking at the NBAPA and we’re almost on polar opposite sides. We’re just trying to make leeway and get to a proposal and make something happen just like the NFL did. … The sooner we can get that done and the sooner we can start playing basketball, the better it’s going to be for the sport.”
Did you guys learn anything from the NFL lockout?:
“Obviously the disputes are a little bit different in the NFL than they are in the NBA. I think in the NBA we’re a little further apart on what we’re going toward. But I think we can kind of look at the groundwork … and hopefully come to a deal.”
Who’s the toughest guy you’ve played against so far?:
“I think a Minnesota guy, a guy like Kevin Garnett, especially when he came off his Defensive Player of the Year a couple of years ago.”
Did guys around the league enjoy the fact that the Heat didn’t win the championship?:
“Oh yeah, great amount of joy out of it. Plus, for me, they say nice guys, good guys finish last. But Dallas, they just had a slew of great guys and veterans on their team that made for just a great team. It wasn’t just two, three, four guys on the team, like Miami I kind of felt it was. Around the league, it was kind of a consensus that guys were happy.”
What are you going to do if there’s no NBA season?:
“Everybody seems to be doing something. There’s a few things in the works that people are putting together for different players with my agency and my management company.”
Would you consider Europe?:
“I think you have to consider it. If it’s the right opportunity for you and it pays well, it’s something you have to do. That’s why I’m out here taking part in the volleyball.”