Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Kevin Love: Every single rebound

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 10, 2011 - 9:34 AM

Timberwolves forward Kevin Love's 31-point, 31-rebound game and nightly double-doubles that his coach terms "ridiculous" already are becoming the stuff of legend. So much so that you might not know where to separate fact from fiction about a ball-grabbing fiend who has shortish arms and can't jump. Did a pack of wild dogs really steal him away when he was 2 and teach him everything he knows about rebounding?

Love talked recently with Star Tribune beat writer Jerry Zgoda about his craft. In his own words, he explains how, at such a young age, he has become the NBA's most proficient rebounder whose 30-30 feat last was achieved 29 years ago by Moses Malone.

• • •

That one, the one about the wild dogs, isn't true.

The one about my dad taking me out to the court when I was 8 or 9 and telling me that painted area around the basket could become my football field is.

I was always the biggest kid when I was little. I was always a kid that everybody liked and got along with, but I'd always get picked on and teased because I was the big kid.

I wanted to play football. My parents didn't want me to because they thought I'd get hurt, and I remember I couldn't play quarterback anyway because there was a weight limit and I was always 15, 20, 30 pounds over it. So I said, "Dad, I want to be a linebacker then. I want to be able to go and just crush the quarterback. Let me go in there and take some of my anger out."

So he took me out to a court one day and said, "This is your football. You don't need any pads down here; there's no weight limit. So you can really take your anger out down there. This is going to be your football, and basketball is going to be what takes you places."

Hey, he was right.

• • •

My dad, Stan, grew up in Inglewood, Calif., where the Lakers played for years at the Fabulous Forum before they moved to Staples Center. He played college basketball at Oregon and then played four professional seasons with Baltimore and the Lakers in the NBA and with San Antonio in the ABA long, long before I was born.

It's funny, I look back now at some of the tapes of my dad playing, and he was more of a jump shooter and an extremely athletic guy. He's 6-8 now that he's shrunk an inch from old age, but basically all I know about rebounding came from him.

It's kind of out of context that he would teach me that, because he wasn't the best rebounder in the world when he played. But he played with Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes and a guy named Elmore Smith, who blocked 17 shots in a game once with the Lakers, and he played against Wilt Chamberlain.

I guess there was a reason he named me Kevin Wesley Love.

He taught me about what he learned from playing with and against those guys -- positioning and footwork -- but more than anything, he taught me there's a mindset to rebounding: It's about assuming every shot is going to miss and how Bill Russell always used to say 80 percent of rebounds are below the rim and knowing I could have a lot of success doing it.

I didn't have to be the most athletic guy. I didn't have to be the tallest guy or have the longest arms. I just had to have brute strength and the tenacity to go after every single one.

I'm 6-9 without shoes on the best day of my life.

At the predraft camp in 2008, they measured my wingspan at 6-11¾, and I grew out my fingernails for that, too.

And I don't have the biggest hands in the world. I certainly don't have Mike Beasley hands, which are freakishly big. Mine are pretty normal.

• • •

The will to rebound -- to get every single one there is -- isn't something you can measure.

It's something I feel either you have [it] or you don't.

I think my dad focused on rebounding with me so I'd be more than just a scorer or passer. So if other things weren't going right, I could always rebound. That was something that could still make me special. Even if I ever ended up on a team where I wasn't getting the ball too much, I'd always know I could get four to six points just off offensive rebounds.

He taught me this mostly out on the concrete in our driveway in Lake Oswego, Ore.

We had a lot of battles growing up. He taught me to keep my elbows out, that if anybody wants to come in there and play with the big boys, they're going to get hit every once in a while.

He stopped playing me when I first hit him in the chest real good when I was in the eighth grade. I was 6-5, 6-6 then, and that was the first time I ever beat him, and that day he said, "I'm done, you beat me."

When I got to high school, I started realizing I could be really special at this. I had a couple 30-rebound games, never a 30-30, though. And then at UCLA, I had a couple big-time rebounding games when I went back for games in Oregon, even though you're only playing 28, 29, 30 minutes a game in college.

That's when I knew I could rebound at an elite level, and I always felt, more than anything, rebounding was one skill that could translate at any level: high school, college or the NBA.

From him, I learned to position myself on the other side if a shot is going up from the corner because most missed shots bounce over to the far side of the rim.

From him, I learned if it's a long shot, the rebound is long most of the time. If it's 15 feet or 10 feet, it'll bounce in that similar vicinity.

From him, I learned about rebounding "zones." There's the zone you're in and then there's the one to your right and the one to your left. Some guys can rebound in one area alone. But if you can rebound in two or three different zones, you can be a very special rebounder.

• • •

A lot of it is just seeing the flight of the ball, where it's going to hit off the rim depending upon how flat or how much arc there is on the shot, knowing where it's going to go and automatically clearing out space as you see it hit.

It doesn't matter if it's Dwight Howard in there or Earl Boykins: If you see that ball go up, you're throwing elbows up, you're throwing your weight, your body. All that work you put in the weight room, you're just throwing it around.

In the weight room, I'm not the strongest guy in the world. I'm 22, and I still have a long ways to go. But I've always been big for my age and I've always had some natural brute strength in my lower body ever since me and a grade-school buddy took on all comers -- as many as 20 kids -- on the playground in pickup games, and we never lost.

I'm not slender. I'm a wide body and I'm using my legs, my hips, my big butt to throw people around, just like I wanted to do when I was a kid.

When I was in high school, our football coaches kept asking me to play and I kept telling them my parents wouldn't let me. I remember one time, just joking around, I put on the pads. My mom heard about it and she told me, "If we ever find you out there on the field in a game, we'll drive that car through the gate, right onto the field and whoop your ass."

I guess my dad always understood I was going to be big and he didn't want kids purposely trying to take out my legs or hitting me after the play because he knew basketball was going to be it for me.

Like I said, he was right.

The basketball court really is my football field, and I feel like that painted area is mine.

  • related content

  • Reeling Wolves plunge into subject of readiness

    Sunday January 9, 2011

    Losses in the past two games point to poor starts, not an inability to finish.

  • Deconstructing Kevin Love

    Sunday January 9, 2011

    Groomed to rebound since he was a boy, Love has etched two truisms into his cerebellum: Most players' shots bound long to the rim's far side, and never assume anything....

  • Voices on Kevin Love

    Saturday January 8, 2011

    • "He kind of reminds me of me. I'm very serious. He's not a great leaper. ... But we both knew where the ball was going to land and we...

  • Gameday: Wolves at San Antonio

    Saturday January 8, 2011

    The Wolves' two losses to the Spurs this year are symbolic of a season filled with late-game collapses.

  • Kevin Love

  • Love in action

  • TIMBERWOLVES KEVIN LOVE Up next: 6 p.m. today at San Antonio • TV: None (1130-AM)
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 108 2nd OT 0:37
San Antonio 109
Milwaukee 48 3rd Qtr 10:04
Portland 45
Houston 33 2nd Qtr 7:47
Denver 45
Indiana 39 2nd Qtr 4:31
LA Clippers 44
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 9:50
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 60 1st OT 0:52
Cincinnati 65
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 51 2nd Half 5:50
Cal Poly 47
Central Arkansas 47 2nd Half 11:38
New Mexico 52
Howard 31 2nd Half 11:59
Pepperdine 36
Portland 29 2nd Half
UNLV 28
CS-Northridge 8 1st Half 13:59
Oregon 6
Grambling St 6 1st Half 10:21
Washington 19
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 22 2nd Half 11:51
San Francisco 38
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close