Kevin Love on ‘The Last Dance’: Toughest part of job remains ‘off the court’ scrutiny
Kevin Love can relate to Dennis Rodman.
OK, maybe Love does not color his hair. He does not have piercings or tattoos all over his body, either.
But when Love watched “The Last Dance” documentary on the Chicago Bulls, he did not just marvel at Rodman’s rebounding. He said he nodded in agreement when he heard Rodman’s explanation on the toughest part of his job.
“‘Playing and being on the court, this is a safe haven,’” Love said to USA TODAY Sports. “Yeah, we have a bullseye on our back and whatever. But it’s all the other (expletive) off the court.”
Love has not exactly sparked the same kind of attention as Rodman,who has earned a mixed reputation because of his feisty on-court play and his volatile outbursts. Rodman had once dated Madonna and Carmen Electra. And the documentary detailed Rodman receiving permission to party in Las Vegas during the Bulls’ 1997-98 season. But Love received his fair share of scrutiny, too.
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Kevin Love has spent the last six seasons with the Cavaliers after a trade from the Timberwolves. (Photo: Alonzo Adams, USA TODAY Sports)
After the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Love in 2014 in a four-team trade, Love encountered various challenges. He had to adapt as the team’s third option behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Cleveland-based reporters indicated that James was sending a message to Love when he lamented in a tweet, “Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN.” And Love often became the subject of trade rumors.
Love helped the Cavaliers appear in four consecutive NBA Finals and overcome a 3-1 series deficit to defeat Golden State in the 2016 NBA Finals. That run does not match the Bulls winning six NBA titles in eight years. But Love became used to the media attention.
“I always had the idea back then because there was no social media and there wasn’t that scrutiny,” Love said of the '90s Bulls. “But it’s almost like LeBron. MJ was a planet and you take everything in his orbit. I didn’t realize that. This isn’t a parallel. But it’s a crazy time with the media, especially when they went down 2-0 in New York (in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals) and he went gambling with his dad. The media made a big deal about it and was trying to tear him down. That was interesting as well. I didn’t know that. I was too young to know that was going on.”
Love was born in 1988, and he did not exactly remember the Bulls’ first three-peat from 1991-93. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Love, who grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, joked he “would’ve been able to see them beat the Blazers” during the 1992 NBA Finals. Instead, he grew up watching the Bulls shortly following Jordan’s initial retirement in 1993.
Therefore, Love has both received a history lesson and rekindled pleasant memories seeing Rodman play.
“'The Last Dance' has been incredible,” Love said. “At the end of the day, if we have nothing to talk about, I can talk about that all day. It’s so fun to watch.”
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