Kevin Love sat in front of his locker with ice bags on both knees and a look of relief.
The Minnesota Timberwolves forward-center certainly was proud of his ability to set a post-merger NBA record with 53 consecutive double-doubles. But considering the pressure and attention that came with each added game, the All-Star seemed relieved when it finally came to an end against the Warriors in Oakland. Just hours earlier, Love sat down with ThePostGame to talk double-doubles, NBA history, family influence, John Wooden, Twitter, The Beach Boys, shooting jumpers in the rain and much more. The following is a question and answer session with Love.
TPG: What made you reach out to late coaching great John Wooden when you were playing at UCLA?
Love: Personally, I wanted to know him. I just wanted to reach out to him and pick his brain a little bit. It wasn't part of being a historian or anything like that. I read his little blue book. I've always been a big fan of UCLA basketball. I definitely wanted to get to know him because he was a great human being, great coach and a great player going all the way back through.
TPG: How did you take Wooden's passing?
Love: I took it hard like most people at UCLA did. Obviously, during (my) time (there) I wish I could have been a little closer to him. He always will be a big part of college basketball and college sports and a big part of UCLA. But everyone knows he's much more than a basketball coach. He's just an unbelievable person who sets the standard for living life the right way.
TPG: What was the best advice you got from Wooden?
Love: More than anything, how to act on the court and off the court. It was kind of what my dad would always say, too. When you're on the court there is certain things that you would do that you wouldn't do off the court. When you get off, you obviously have to be gracious and a humble person. When you are on the floor be a team player. Championships are what you are defined by, legacy. Go about things the right way.
TPG: How do you reflect on your double-double streak now that it's over at 53 games?
Love: It was a good run ... It got us a lot of recognition. The fans were crazy about the whole streak. It was a good run. Like a few people said, "All good things come to an end."
TPG: Were you relieved during the double-double streak when you got to a 10th point and 10th rebound? Did you keep up with your statistics during the game during the streak?
Love: When I was getting to our franchise record mark of 37, I would always be relieved at the 10th point, 10th rebound. It's kind of like a weight off my shoulders. At one point I felt like I wasn't able to go out there and focus on my game. I was focused more on getting that 10th rebound or that 10th point. But once I broke that I was happy with it. I was content. Whatever happened, happened from there. I've been playing good basketball since. I feel like when it came down to Moses (Malone's) record, I wasn't concerned about it.
TPG: You set a record for double-doubles in the NBA post-merger with the ABA in 1976. But what do you think about the overall record of 227 set by Wilt Chamberlain that began in the 1959-60 season?
Love: Unbelievable. It's 227 in a row. You have to pay homage to him because 227 in a row is unheard of. There are certain records in the NBA that will not be broken. That's one of them.
TPG: You caused a Twitter firestorm when you sent out a tweet saying that the Wolves were firing Kevin McHale as head coach on June 16, 2009? That tweet starting giving Twitter more notice and was the beginning of something that is huge now. Did you understand at the time how big of a deal your tweet on McHale was?
Love: Twitter wasn't that big (then), but now it's huge. It's crazy. Part of the reason I got back on was you can create endeavors for yourself that you might not have had if you didn't have the social media type thing. Back when I broke the whole Kevin McHale thing and then got off of Twitter, it wasn't as big as it is now. Everybody has a Twitter (now). Everybody is kind of connected. But it's not only fans, it's people you are fans of that you can get in contact with. It's just crazy how it works. You can get paid now for tweeting stuff. It's kind of crazy thing out there that you can be open to so much stuff just by typing on your cell phone on Twitter ...
I didn't know it would have that kind of impact. When I broke the story, with all the phone calls and texts that I had, I was at Hawaii at the time, I knew it was going to be something bigger than I thought it would be. As far as breaking the story goes, I think that was the first time it happened. This was what the world was moving to. It was a big story.
TPG: What do you know about your dad Stan's pro basketball career? Have you seen any of his old video?
Love: He's a string bean. I don't remember where I got this girth and this size. He was 6-9, 210, 215 pounds. Could really shoot the ball. Was a great leaper. Only hung around for 4 1/2, 5 years. I don't know too much about it, but I've seen a ton of tape. I've obviously heard all the stories. But what he taught me was not only what he knew but what he learned from Wes Unseld and Earl Monroe and Jerry West. Just guys like that. Gail Goodrich, George Gervin, guys like that. Going through all the guys that he played with and played against, I've learned a lot.
TPG: How did your older brother Collin play an influence in making you tough?
Love: He used to always pick on me, be a bully to me. He'd be a great brother in respects of being three grades ahead of me in school. I would play with him. If I got knocked down or a shot to the chest by one of his friends, he would say, 'Get up (expletive).' That's how he made me tougher. He put me in situations where if I failed in one situation, next time I had the opportunity I was going to succeed. That's how he made me tougher.
TPG: Can you beat Collin up now?
Love: I can beat him up easy now. It's nothing to me now. He doesn't want to mess with me now. I got bigger than him really quick.
TPG: Why did you used to shoot jumpers in the rain?
Love: My dad put up a great hoop in our front yard in our driveway. I was in Oregon so I had to be out there in the rain. We didn't always have a gym to go to. Where I'm from you almost had to have a gym membership or be a part of practice. For me, I wanted more than that. I would wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning and you would always hear that ball dribbling out there, shots going up, rain, sleet or snow it didn't matter.
TPG: Your dad used to make you watch old basketball videos. What do you remember watching?
Love: I remember the Pete Newell Big Man Camp videos, the Boston (Celtics) outlet drill, the Pete Maravich video where he would spin the ball on all his fingers for an hour. There was a 50 free throw drill and video, which was a compilation of a bunch of drills and 10 free throws in between the number of drills. The Superstar videos with (Hakeem) Olajuwon and Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Charles (Barkley). Just down the list (Michael) Jordan, Larry (Bird). Those are the kind of videos that I watched and he handed it to me at an early age. He would say, "Now watch this move." We'd watch it together and the exact same thing I just watched we'd practice it out in the rain until I perfected it. We'd go to the tape again. We'd work on something else. That's just how it went down with me and him. We'd find different stuff to work on. Even if it was a behind-the-back pass or Pete Maravich throwing it behind his head, we'd work on throwing it off the wall and things like that. It's things he taught me from an early age that help me push my game to the next level.
TPG: You have made a point to not have yes-men around you. How did you learn to establish that?
Love: Great people. I was lucky. A lot of people have that. People that don't tell you what you want to hear, but what's best for you. I was blessed with great friends. I was always blessed that way. My dad always kept good people around me. I just got lucky. Because of the spotlight you're in, people are scared to tell you otherwise. They don't agree with what you're doing. They are not necessarily on the same page. I just try to keep the same people I've had around me from Day One. Keep it a real small circle because if you do that not too much is going to go bad for you.
TPG: Your middle name is Wes after Wes Unseld. Have you met the Hall of Famer?
Love: I haven't met him. But I'd absolutely like to meet him and Moses Malone, too. I didn't get a chance to meet him at All-Star Break, but I'd love to.
TPG: You used to do fingertip push-ups as a child to get stronger. You still do them?
Love: No. They have so many things now with the bars, the perfect pushups and the weights. Before I was lifting weights I did that a lot. (My dad) said he saw Wes Unseld do that all the time. He'd say, "Let's try this."
TPG: What is it like to have an uncle, Mike, of Beach Boys fame?
Love: I've been to a lot of concerts. Its a crazy lifestyle. Obviously, there is a lot of differences and similarities (to pro basketball). He's an unbelievable performer. Part of America's band. He's big time. Getting back to my dad, my dad always said, "You got to realize the situation I was in. I played for the Lakers throughout the winter and if we made the playoffs. In the summer I'd go on tour with The Beach Boys. I could have played 10-15 years, but I had the best of both worlds. I played in the NBA plus I could be a rock star at the same time."
TPG: So what's better being an NBA player or a rock star?
Love: I don't know. I should ask (my dad) that. I don't know what's better. He'd say traveling around with the Beach Boys. I'm assuming that was a little bit better. He didn't have to perform. He just had to be there and getting paid to be manager, bodyguard. Whatever it was, he was there.
TPG: You got a lot of Beach Boys music in your iPod?
Love: No. I have their greatest hits and a lot of their songs. But it's not what I listen to right before a game. If I want to cool out and chill, I'll listen to it. But I enjoy the music a lot; I do.
TPG: What was the best part of All-Star weekend?
Love: It had to be the game. Everything leads up to that whether it's Jam Session, the practices, the parties. I think everything leads up to that. All the people you get to meet. I think everything leads up to the game.
TPG: Anyone say anything that stood out?
Love: The funniest thing to me was (West coach Gregg) Popovich was like (at practice), "All right, everyone, bring it in." He said, "Everyone is going to get a lot of playing time. Everyone is going to have a great time out there. But Blake (Griffin), Russell (Westbrook) and Kevin, you guys are all (expletive). You guys are first timers. You guys are screwed. You got one star on the back of your jersey. You'll be lucky to get a couple minutes." He was funny. Everyone was asking about that. He said, "I'm just (expletive) with you guys." But he was serious.
TPG: What do you think about the lack of white American NBA players?
Love: Because of who I am that question has been brought up a lot this (season). I guess I've never really noticed it because it's always kind of been that way for me. They'd say, "Do you know you were the only white guy out there?" I'd say, "No." To me, I don't know what it is. I can't really put a finger on it. We're the minority. I don't know how to answer that and I haven't been able to answer that all season. That's just the way it is.
TPG: How does a Western kid deal with Minneapolis' cold?
Love: You got to stay inside. You got to wear layers, obviously. You go from heated garage to heated garage and valet your car as much as possible. Luckily, our game is played inside. We're not football. We're not out in the snow, the rain. The same thing with baseball. We're inside the whole time.
TPG: Are you worried about the projected lockout?
Love: I'm not worried about it. I feel like I've saved my money enough. Eventually something has to be signed and there will be NBA play. How long will the lockout be? Who knows? But as far as being smart about it, being ready for it, I'm more than ready. And if I need to, I can always go back and live with my parents.