Wolves forward Kevin Love with participants from his basketball camp over the weekend in Eden Prairie.
, Photo courtesy of the Timberwolves
Wolves' Love makes camp fun
- September 24, 2012 - 11:14 PM
The music was loud, and constant. Saturday morning the Eden Prairie High School gym was lined on both sides with parents equipped with cameras and the contest was on.
A bunch of kids were playing lightning. If you played hoops, you might have referred to it as elimination, bumpout or bump. It's a shooting game in which you have to make shots to avoid elimination, and the biggest kid of the bunch, Kevin Love, was being pushed.
One by one kids were bumped out until a little fellow less than half Love's size knocked the big guy out. The kids cheered, Love laughed, picked the kid up and ran him around the court.
Here is further proof that Love, the Timberwolves star, gets it.
Love was startlingly clean-shaven and shorn considering his Paul Bunyanesque look of last year. The reason? A very cool commercial, he said, revealing no other details.
"I haven't even told my best friend," he said.
Fresh off winning a gold medal in London, Love came back in the Twin Cities in time for his Procamps two-day program at Eden Prairie, which drew more than 200 kids.
These camps are held all over the country. They are run with impressive precision and look to be a lot of fun. One person who works a number of these camps said the key to a successful camp is the degree to which the star buys in. And, he said, nobody buys in more than Love.
There was Love, walking from game to game, high-fiving players. There he was, sneaking up to poke a kid on the left shoulder, then running right, laughing. And there was Love, at center court, taking on a boy who barely reached past his knee in the video game Baller Beats (one of the camp's sponsors).
Finally Love, his T-shirt soaked with sweat, took some time to talk. And it sounded like this camp was as much fun for him as it was for the kids.
There is a reason for this. Love grew up going to camps just like this, and the memories are still vivid.
"I remember I went to A.C. Green's camp," he said. "Brian Grant's camp. I still remember to this day the impact it had on me, actually getting to know the kids, getting to know the coaches, to be able to touch an NBA player, in living color. It was a big deal for me."
Love has shown a knack for connecting with fans from the start. He was an early user of Twitter. He has worked with the Timberwolves Fast Break Foundation, done coat drives and has worked with St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Love put a lot of energy into this as well, grinning and running from one team photo to the next. Answering questions from the kids -- the most common was, "How big are your shoes?" followed by "What will be your starting five this fall?"
Love deferred to coach Rick Adelman on that one.
"When they're out there smiling, it geeks me up," Love said. "When they're having fun, that's what gets me going."
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