Kevin Love: After All That I’ve Run From, Where the F__k Did You Come From?

Steve McPherson —  November 16, 2013 — 20 Comments

Our very own Zach Harper penned this thought-provoking, nuanced take on Kevin Love and where he is right now with the Timberwolves for TrueHoop’s new series of TrueCities features centered around different teams and their local stories. (See also Danny Nowell’s great read about Portland’s indie culture and how it relates to the Blazers.) But naturally — because this is sports we’re talking about here — the nuance got sucked out of the discussion the moment readers took to Twitter or the comment section to complain about Zach saying Love’s departure to the Lakers is inevitable.

But A.) That’s not even what he said and B.) The very fact that some readers are unable to understand the nuance of what Zach is saying is itself an illustration of the underlying conceptual architecture that leads to so much hand-wringing over players. Zach makes a distinct parallel between a romantic relationship and the relationship between a given player and a fanbase, writing:

Most of us have experienced the unraveling of a relationship like Love’s tenuous bond with Minnesota. Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee, there are always signals that show things are going south. Tempers flare up more often. The romance begins to dwindle. The fire gets downgraded to sparks and the sparks eventually become dormant. Soon you’re left wondering what you’re even doing in this situation.

When a relationship appears to be at its end, it’s better to get out early. You don’t want to wait so long that all each party has in the end are feelings of resentment and bitterness. Nobody wants to be left wondering why it didn’t work or how you’ll get your favorite shirt back. That’s where Minnesota is with Love as we creep closer and closer to 2015.

The relationship metaphor is a particularly germane one for Love because one of the fundamental things to realize in this situation is that you can’t totally control the other party in a relationship. So much of the discussion about Love revolves around what the Wolves have to do to make him stay: make the playoffs, get past the first round, sign this player or that player, give him such and such amount of money. But it’s important to realize that at some point, all the right things could happen and Love could still decide to go. Anyone who’s tried to save a relationship by being the very best person they can be, by doing everything exactly the way the other person wants has likely learned that it doesn’t guarantee success.

To quote Minnesota’s own Mason Jennings: “Don’t you know that I did the things I could? / I rubbed your back when you were sleeping / and all along baby it was understood / that you were leaving / absolutely since the very first day we met.” Personally, those lines fucked me up pretty hard at one point in my life. And that was because so often in life we’re only able to believe in two things: the immediate future and forever. Relationships have to mean nothing or everything. You’re either hooking up or figuring out where you want to be buried together. And when we get enmeshed in the second line of thought, we end up thinking only of what we can do RIGHT NOW to secure something for eternity.

And straight up: that’s a shitty, difficult way to look at the world. Some relationships can be real and meaningful and last for a couple months. Or they can be honest, true and beautiful things that last for three or four or five years and then end.

By placing primacy on the question of whether Love is going to be with the Wolves beyond 2015 we lose sight of the fact that he’s here right now, and playing some of the best basketball of his life and likely ours. In our desperation to hang onto Love, we’re letting go of the present, and in many ways, that’s all we ever really have.

Steve McPherson

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20 responses to Kevin Love: After All That I’ve Run From, Where the F__k Did You Come From?

  1. Outstanding post, Steve!

  2. Great stuff.

  3. Whatever happens happens. I do wish MN fans would get over this “doomed” attitude that pervades any bad thing happening to a sports team. It coalesces into this master narrative that leaves out important things like incompetence (often a problem with this franchise) or talent deficit (all of the Vikings Super Bowl losses) and changes fan behavior (like any time the Twins would fall behind in a playoff game). Nothing in sports is completely predetermined, but it’d be hard to convince most MN sports fans of that.

  4. A) I read this Article before I read Zach’s

    B) He pretty much implied throughout

    here:

    “Most assume he’s leaving a year and a half from now. Why wouldn’t he?”

    here:

    “Where do they like to go? Los Angeles. ”

    and here:

    “There is no denying that the Lakers would have interest in Love should they have the cap space necessary to sign him in a year and a half. And there is no denying that Love, who played a year at UCLA, is enchanted by the city.”

    That Love has thoughts of leaving MN for LA.

    But you know what really pisses me off about you jack asses?

    It’s this

    “It’s hard to appreciate Kevin Love’s torrid start to 2013-14 with his potential departure looming.”

    Who exactly is not enjoying it? This same crap of bring up a non issue and then sit back and feign innocence. “The very fact that some readers are unable to understand the nuance of what Zach is saying is itself an illustration of the underlying conceptual architecture that leads to so much hand-wringing over players”

    Bullshit.

    What most of us “ignorant” fans don’t get is – Why do you and others keep bringing up “Kevin Love is leaving MN” and then talk out of your ass about why the fans might be worried about it?

    You want another take on why Kevin Love is being reserved in post game interviews?

    1) He got blasted after his interview last year was bent the same way you and Zack are slanting his reserved press conferences.

    2) There was a ton of optimism last year too. Even a pretty good start to a craptastic season when the wheels came off. MAYBE just MAYBE… He is trying to not get his hopes up too much with a lot of talk he does not want to have to eat if those same wheels come off this year.

    PS crap articles like this one piss me off. Unless Kevin Love has said he is leaving how about you and the rest of your media numbnuts stop telling us that he is (or might). We got it. He can opt out…

    Move on already.

  5. Great take. Thanks!

  6. Hard to be more eloquent than farnorth. While the writing in these articles has been pretty, the content is empty except the echoes of media types saying the same thing over and over and over without any idea of what Love is really thinking or any way of knowing what may happen in the next two years to form his decision.

    Move on follks, there is nothing to see here…

  7. farnorth and Bob: The part I really like was where you seem to be very, very angry at us for having basically the same opinion as you. I’m sorry if you feel like we’re perpetuating some kind of false narrative here, but I can tell you that I regularly have people ask me if Love is staying, and my usual answer is what I basically said here: We don’t know and we don’t have much control (if any) over it, so it’s best to focus on what we have right now. Is that substantially different from what you’re saying?

  8. Steve McPherson, I agree that you have to write what most people think. But the fact is that he was mad at all the crap that happened last year and that was with idiot david kahn at the helm. Things are a LOT different this year so I would slow your role just a little bit. He may leave and that’s the nature of the beast but he isn’t that pissed right now I can guarantee you that.

  9. “We don’t know and we don’t have much control (if any) over it, so it’s best to focus on what we have right now.” If that is your guys’ take on the Love situation why take the opportunity to write that piece? Why not focus on the prolific scoring or something more positive. Also “The very fact that some readers are unable to understand the nuance of what Zach is saying is itself an illustration of the underlying conceptual architecture that leads to so much hand-wringing over players”… What is this a Vampire Weekend Concert? Lets talk about staggered screens, Pek’s Arms and timbertrolls not ex-girlfriends and Mason Jennings.

  10. Steve, I don’t think the reason that Bob and farnoth are upset with this post is because of your opinion, it’s because you are bringing it up when we don’t have a lot of information on what will happen with Kevin Love. It’s almost like with this post you are trying to agitate Minnesota fans by saying our best player will probably leave in 2015. We just want to enjoy how things are going right now and we don’t need this post to do that. We can already enjoy the season based on the optimism for the team and where it’s headed.

  11. Steve~ spotted the Mason Jennings “Butterfly” reference from a mile away and I appreciated it.

    I agree with you that as fans we should just enjoy the time watching Love play here and not worry if he spends only one more year here or ten more years here. That said, you realize you write for a sports blog and not the Rolling Stone, right? Most guys make sports analogies to rationalize life and relationships. You reverse it and make relationship and music analogies to rationalize sports.

  12. Steve, you do not see the point at all. No one in Minnesota is worried about Love leaving. This is all, 100% media hype. Love has two fricking years before his opt out, should he choose it. Why the hell would he want to play in LA when their team now sucks? He likes his coach, likes his new GM / Pres., is with a winning team. If we lose, he might leave. If we become contenders, he very well might stay. A first grader can figure this out. I really cannot figure out why you and your cohort continue to get paid for this drizzle. How about writing about something real and impacting in the NBA. No wonder he doesn’t speak to the media. You guys are biased from the get go pushing a story I am sure he is sick as hell of hearing. We get it. He played for UCLA. Who the hell cares? Get over your LA boner!

  13. Yes, yes I do, Skunedog.

    Chris: I’m glad to find out that no one in Minnesota is worried about Love leaving. Also, I think when you said “drizzle” you meant “drivel.”

  14. This article is totally complete “sprinkle”. Why acknowledge the tension that has been between Love and the wolves for years. I think everyone has agreed that the wolves winning makes it more likely that Love stays, but to believe it is a foregone conclusion that he stays is crazy.

  15. Steve, first off let me say I am sorry for the wording of that post. I wrote it after some 20+ hours traveling back from Australia so I was a bit tired and not in the mood.

    Second, I just want to say there is no possible way we can both be saying the same thing. The jist of my post was “Enough Kevin Love wants out of MN articles”

    Since I was responding to yet another “Kevin Love wants out (or might want out) of MN article”
    we are obviously not saying the same thing.

    You’re a pretty awesome writer and I know from reading Zach’s posts that both of you actually know more about the NBA than I do. I am a fan of the NBA and I follow the Wolves that’s where my passion is in regards to this league.

    I am just tired of these articles and this particular speculation being the focus of our team when there is so much more to write about and take pleasure in when it comes to this team.

    Peace and I will continue reading this blog..

  16. Thanks for coming back and writing more, farnorth. It’s entirely possible that there’s too much focus on the question of Love leaving, but where I feel like we align is in saying that the important thing is not what we can do to keep him from leaving, but just to enjoy what we have while he’s here. Now I understand that even me saying that means more people talking about it, but my honest purpose is almost never to shut down conversation or perpetuate one particular line of thinking in any given area but simply to keep the conversation going. And I don’t mean that in a churn-y, hits-driven kind of way. I honestly just like talking about this stuff, so I talk about it.

    Some people don’t want to be having that conversation at all and if that’s how you feel about it, I’m sorry if the post stoked any resentment or anger in you. Neither Zach nor I (nor William or Ben) are “experts” in the NBA, nor wish to present ourselves that way, I’m fairly certain. We started as fans — all of us — and we just now happen to have a slightly higher platform from which to share our love of the game. I find the stuff about Love interesting because to me it points to the human dimensions of the players, the team and the fans in all kinds of messy, fascinating ways.

    I also think we spend A LOT of time on this blog writing about real basketball things that have nothing to do with this, so I do hope this one post doesn’t receive too much weight versus all the good work that I think we do on the very game-oriented wraps we do.

    Thanks again for reading.

  17. I think Minnesotans don’t understand the basketball culture in L.A., they are willing to do whatever it takes to get premium talent there. They have a history of winning and a Lakers culture that permeates to the very core of every Los Angelino. Let’s not forget K Love’s deep family ties to the L.A. area….plus its warmer! I grew up in MN and still follow Minnesotan teams but I can see the writing on the wall. The L.A. market is by FAR the largest market, why would the NBA keep premium talent in a small market?

    Also, I’m pretty suspicious of David Khan’s stay in MN, Love signed his shorten deal during Khan’s reign. I saw him sitting on the Laker bench the other day looking a little devilish. I suspect he was a mole to assure the timely arrival of Love in Los Angeles.

    I wanted to believe that the world is fair and the underdog has a chance but no longer. Life outside the frozen tundra taught me that.

  18. “They have a history of winning and a Lakers culture that permeates to the very core of every Los Angelino.”

    I’ve been to two Laker games in my lifetime (and many more Clippers games). The “culture that permeates to the core” apparently displays itself in half the fans actually showing up to a game by the end of the first quarter and the other half barely paying attention to the game itself.

  19. What I, and many others are trying to tell you is – Once is a conversation. Twice is a supporting argument. Three times is a collaboration. After that you’re beating a dead horse. It’s time to bury the dead horse.

    Next time I’m calling PETA.

  20. In Hollywood a Laker game is a social gathering. On the south side its a religion.

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