NBA training camps have started and Kevin Love is in Cavs camp hoping to start another championship run. I caught up with Love (on behalf of Shock Doctor) to discuss the importance of mouthguards, The Beach Boys, pro wrestling and whether he could play QB for the Browns.
SI.com: A video of your outlet pass from Wednesday is going viral and everyone has the same joke, "He should be the Browns quarterback." What do you say?
Kevin Love: When I was growing up I always wanted to play football but my parents said it wasn't in the cards for me. I’d throw fits and pretend like I was running away from home. They said if I even tried playing, they’d drive onto the football field and yank me off of it. So that was it for football. I also wanted to play baseball, too and be a pitcher. But my dad took me into the painted area when I was little and said, “This is your football field. You’re not going to be playing any quarterback or anything like that." But it would be fun. LeBron could be playing receiver. I could be play QB ... but I guess we’re stuck playing basketball.
SI.com: So let's go back in time. You arrive at UCLA campus. You're on the basketball team but your uncle is in The Beach Boys. Which helped you get more girls?
Love: It’s funny you say that—he was always Uncle Mike to me. I actually just saw him at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. He performed a six-song set and did a signing for his new book. Anyhow, I always loved The Beach Boys' music but I never realized how big a deal it was until freshman orientation. Everyone was like, 'Oh cool, you play basketball, but your uncle is Mike Love of The Beach Boys. I grew up with that. My parents grew up with that.'
That was definitely very cool for me because he was just part of the family and i didn’t realize how famous and how far his reach is with his music. But Southern California is the epicenter of all things Beach Boys.
SI.com: Do you play a musical instrument?
Love: No. Growing up, I really wanted a guitar for Christmas. I begged my parents for an electric guitar and said, ‘This is what i want.’ Obviously, I wanted my basketball shoes and gear, but this one time I wanted a guitar and planned to take lessons. Being an eight- or nine-year-old kid, the first thing you want to do is plug it into the sound system and start playing it. It's safe to say that didn’t last long ... maybe two weeks. I think my dad pawned it off because he didn’t see the stars aligning for me musically or being anywhere near my uncle when it comes to musical talent.
SI.com: There's an old photo of your dad in action against Rick Barry I love to tweet out because of all the Will Ferrell jokes. Have you seen this photo and do you make fun of your dad for it?
Love: Yes, I know that photo well. He had the full white man afro and porn star mustache. He was that guy, I guess. But that was the look back then. I’m reading Phil Knight’s book right now and Steve Prefontaine had the floppy hair and mustache with the University of Oregon. Those were the times, and it’s funny, I actually dressed as Will Ferrell in Semi-Pro for Halloween last year.
SI.com: Let's talk about style. I know you're working with Banana Republic. Is that a store you've always shopped in?
Love: To tell you the truth, not really. I’ve grown to love the product. You’re able to keep so comfortable while also not having to give up anything for style. It’s been great to grow with their brand and continuing to grow for years to come. I love working with them. I’ve been up to their offices in San Francisco. We just had a great event in New York City with their suiting that just launched in September for fashion week.
SI.com: Who would you say is the best and worst dresser on Cavs?
Love: For worst, I'd say our rookie, Kay Felder. Right now, he’s all sweatsuits. I guess we haven’t had an opportunity to dress up for an event but it’s always easier to blame it on the rook because he gets the donuts, the coffee, etc.
For best, I love LeBron’s style coming into games. He's all business. I think he wore a suit to every game last year but matches as he goes. Sometimes he'll wear a peaked lapel with no tie and an open collar. Or he’d come in with a sweater. Or he’d go double-breasted or with a three-piece. He had so many different looks throughout the season. I love that he was coming to work wearing a suit. You can never go wrong with that. And I’d have to say myself because I’m biased.
SI.com: So we just ranked our top 50 pro wrestling tag teams of all time. I know you're a wrestling fan. Do you have a favorite?
Love: I'd say Dennis Rodman and ... just kidding. I always loved Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, the Outsiders. Those were my guys.
SI.com: Have you met them?
Love: I’d love to meet them. I've never met Stone Cold. I'd love to meet Dwayne Johnson because of what he’s done. Those were my childhood heroes. That was the era when wrestling was incredible
SI.com: Would you ever want to be a wrestler?
Love: Definitely not. I just love the Stone Cold bravado.
SI.com: Lastly, let's talk about Shock Doctor mouth guards. How’d you get involved?
Love: For me, Shock Doctor was an easy fit. I’ve worn mouth guards my whole life. I’ve always protected my face. I actually had adult braces for 33 months while I was in the NBA. I had jaw surgery so this hits really close to home for me. With Shock Doctor, you see 5 million teeth get knocked out during youth sports so we're trying to start a grass roots movement to prevent these injuries. It’s something that hits really close to home for me as I feel all basketball players, young and old, should wear mouth guards.
SI.com: Wow. Adult braces. Did you get made fun?
Love: The adult braces were definitely made fun of a little bit but it’s paid off and I have to protect them.