Kevin Love has been the subject of a lot of discussion this NBA offseason, so when we were offered the chance to sit down with the UCLA graduate and Minnesota Timberwolves (for now) star while he was supporting Activision at E3, we jumped.
Mr. Double-Double put down the Call of Duty controllers and took the time to talk to us about a few things, including the NBA Finals, college players pay-to-play, what he’s doing this summer, and his favorite late night foods at UCLA…
COED: You won’t remember this, but funny enough you were the first interview I ever had. We were in Time Square for your beach volleyball gig. The lockout is over and done with, but are you still playing any beach volleyball?
KL: That’s funny. No, I’m actually not. I’ve been trying to get down to Manhattan Beach lately. My sister just moved down to Los Angeles, so I have an excuse to get down there, so–haven’t played yet, but I’m hoping to plan on it, to get down there.
COED: Well, you’ve got some experience in Los Angeles. Was that the reason your sister moved there? Or did she just want to go there by herself?
KL: Yeah, she just wanted to get out of the house in Portland–and, you know, she’s 20 years old now. Just wanted to, I guess, live there and still be on the West Coast, close to family.
COED: While we’re talking UCLA and LA, can I just get some quick comments on your opinion on Ed O’Bannon’s “pay to play” lawsuit or how you feel about that?
KL: I think that Ed definitely has something there. They use our likeness in a lot of their ads throughout the tournament, throughout the year. I think it’s definitely a big deal to see players not getting paid while they’re in school, but after they leave they’ll keep using their likeness and I think it’s a very big deal.
COED: That’s a great point. So, you’re in Los Angeles right now. I can’t imagine that you’re the only NBA player in LA. I spoke to James Harden and Bradley Beal yesterday, but have there been any behind-the-scenes talks or discussions in regards to players approaching you, asking you, trying to get you to come to their team? Or…
KL: [Laughter] No, not really. I mean, I’m just kind of sitting pretty at this point letting everything unfold as it may. As far as when I talk to players, most of the guys are talking about the World Cup this summer for us–not the football, or soccer, one–but, the world championships have changed the name to the World Cup. So we’ve been talking about that and when it starts and being in Vegas on July 28th. Right now I’m just working on getting better.
COED: We’ll be seeing you guys play a tune-up game here at Madison Square Garden. So, that’s pretty much what you’re working on this summer? Staying in shape for this tournament?
KL: Yea, absolutely. I mean, there’s always space to refine your game and your body as well. Different stuff to work on and get better at. You know, the best players are made in the summer and you bring it when training camp comes. But, for us, we’re playing for USA basketball.
COED: Can I ask you, what specifically are you working on this summer? I know you’re offensive game is pretty good. Obviously, you can still always tweak that, but what’s something you’re concentrating on this summer?
KL: Yeah, listen, always being able to refine my offensive game, but on the other side of the ball I think on the defensive end you can always improve. I was mentioning a guy like Boris Diaw. I don’t know how he does it. He just uses his body–
COED: [laughter] That body is getting bigger though, as time goes on. [laughter]
KL: It’s really kind of almost a funny thing to say, but watch how he defends ,though. He’ll defend LeBron James, Blake Griffin, LeMarcus Aldridge, myself and he does an absolutely great job at using his body–cutting off angles, help defense, so he’s the guy that I’ve been very impressed with. But, people normally wouldn’t put out and say, “hey that guy is an X-factor.” But, he really is for the Spurs.
COED: So are you watching the series?
KL: [I was] just going to say, last night was quite the shootout.
COED: It was.
KL: It was unbelievable.
COED: It was a great game. Can I get a Game 4 prediction from you? I’ve got to shoot from the hip here.
KL: It’s not like I’m really going out on a limb here. I’m saying that the Heat are going to win it, because in games where they have lost, they always come back. 13 times in a row, the big three have come back and won. I’m thinking that the Heat are going to get a W just because [they’re] at home too.
COED: Alright, fair enough. Let’s talk about another type of gaming here: who would you say is the best gamer in the Minnesota Timberwolves locker-room right now?
KL: Oh man, best gamer? Well, I’d say there’s a few that have–some guys don’t even play like some of the eastern bloc guys don’t play very much. I think Ricky plays a lot of video games. I think Chase Budinger is the same way. Actually, I don’t know how to answer that .
COED: Alright, fair enough, fair enough. Are you a gamer? I know I asked you a while ago if you play [NBA] 2k. Do you play like Call of Duty?
KL: Yes, of course.
COED: What kind of Call of Duty player are you? Do you play online at all?
KL: You know, I’ve kind of stayed away from playing online, even though that’s where it gets most intense, because a couple of years ago I did the XP event and I was playing against kids that were about half my age and I was just getting wrecked by them. So, that took a shot for the humbleness in me, I guess. It really brought my head out of the clouds, as far as gaming goes, and brought me down to Earth.
COED: Fair enough, fair enough. So, what are they showing you, as far as games and stuff, today?
KL: Today, they showed me – well they’re about to show me Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. They showed me Skylanders Trap Team for the younger demographics, and then I’m still yet to check out Destiny. I’m just getting started on what they showed me, but as far as what I can see it’s all pretty unbelievable.
COED: Yea, from what I can tell, all three of those games look great. Last question, we just published a big feature on our site about late night foods. What was a staple late night UCLA food for you after a long night of – practice? [laughter] Or whatever it is that you players do at UCLA.
KL: If we were going the Italian route, I’d say Enzo’s Pizza is pretty legendary. They have the 23-inch pizza. Diddy Riese Cookies, another one people would always go to. No matter what night it was of the week, they had these ice-cream sandwiches you can get for a $1.25 or a $1.50 that people would line up all the way around the block for. So, I’d say probably those two places. Used to be Jerry’s Deli, but it’s not there anymore.
COED: Does Fat Sal’s Deli ring a bell?
KL: Of course! Of course, that’s another one. It’s a pretty big deal there. Yeah, college life goes to those three right there, but you do that too soon, you might have that freshman 15 they’re always talking about.
COED: [Laughter] I don’t know what you’re talking about at all, man.
COED: Thanks a lot dude. I appreciate it. Hopefully I’ll talk to you in two years from now or something, but enjoy the rest of your time in Los Angeles–and I’ll see you in Madison Square Garden for World Cup basketball.