Lovin’ Kevin Love-A A +A
Saturday, July 5, 2014
IN his six seasons in the NBA, Kevin Love has been a most-improved player, a three-time All-Star, a two-time All-NBA second team member and an MVP candidate. He holds the record for the most consecutive double-doubles (53) in a season and he is the first player since 1982 to have posted more than 30 points and 30 rebounds in a game. Experts say he is arguably the best power-forward in the league today and outside of LeBron James, he is probably the most coveted player in the market this offseason.
It’s not hard to see why this Minnesota Timberwolf has been my NBA idol for the last four years and when I learned that he would be coming to Manila for the Master Game Face All-Star Challenge, I grabbed the opportunity in the same relentless way he grabs rebounds.
So, on June 21 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, clad in my Minnesota No 42 road jersey, I finally got to see Kevin Love’s 6’10” and 243-pound frame in the flesh. I also finally got to see him showcase his stroke from beyond the arc--draining nine straight at one point--and his flick-of-the-wrist strength during the shooting stars event. I’ve already watched and marveled a million times over these deadly weapons in his arsenal on TV but seeing it live was more awe-inspiring.
The experience has been pretty surreal for me but I had a couple of moments I could single out as the most memorable.
First was chatting with K-Love’s high-profile trainer, Rob McClanaghan who also trains Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant and who was shocked that I knew him.
I asked, “Sir, K-Love’s still training even when doing these promotions overseas?”
He smiled and replied, “Always.” Well, the guy’s a workhorse so no surprises there.”
The other one was when I got K-Love to sign my Slam magazine and the Timberwolves Yearbook which my Filipino friend in Minnesota mailed to me. K-Love was going back to his seat when I called him and gestured for him to sign. He smiled and nodded but he was surrounded by security guys and they were pushing my mags aside, still Mr. Love, really reached for them and prior to scribbling away, he took a moment to look in my direction, said, “I like your jersey,” and topped it off with a wink.
He could’ve stopped at the signing and I would’ve been okay with it but he went out of his way to give a fan something to really remember for quite a while.
What transpired there epitomizes how the NBA star conducted himself all throughout. He was very amiable and game as he answered all questions insightfully. His smile was genuine and infectious and I’m so proud to see how easily he has captured everyone’s hearts.
The name at the back of his jersey couldn’t be more appropriate. Nouia Eco
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 05, 2014.