Q&A: Kevin Love on returning from injury, his first year with LeBron, more
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is partnering with chocolate milk to promote its benefits for athletes. Love himself knows the importance of drinking milk after ending last season injured while Cleveland made it all the way to the Finals. Love is also starring in a new web series called Singular Focus, which chronicles his recovery from shoulder surgery.
Love recently spoke to SI.com about how he ended up partners with chocolate milk, if he had fun during his first year with the Cavs and how he’s preparing for the regular-season grind.
Rohan Nadkarni: It’s kind of ironic you’re partnering with chocolate milk because you ended the season injured. Were you not drinking enough milk?
Kevin Love: I’ve always drank chocolate milk. I drank it a lot this off-season, especially with all my recovery, my tedious recovery. I’m partnering with chocolate milk because of all its benefits when you work out, like protein to help build muscle.
RN: How does one partner with chocolate milk? Is there a huge chocolate milk conglomerate we don’t know about?
KL: How do I want to answer that? Let’s just say all chocolate milk. I’m partnering with all chocolate milk.
RN: How do you prepare for the season when you know the expectations are championship or bust?
KL: It’s just knowing that each season, it’s ambiguity. So many things could happen. We want to take a huge step forward and be as strong as we possibly can. Our mentality—we’re right where we need to be. Right now, we’re watching a lot of film, running drills, five-on-five is paramount. Our season starts tough with three games in four nights.
RN: Looking back, how big was the shift from playing in Minnesota to under the spotlight in Cleveland?
KL: Overall, from the culture standpoint, the culture was different. There were a lot of expectations. I’ve never quite been on a team like that. For me, it was an adjustment. Now I know more of what to expect.
RN: LeBron mentioned previously things like moving his family to Florida his second year in Miami helped him play better on the court. Are you more comfortable off the court? Does that translate to your play at all?
KL: On and off the floor I’m a lot more comfortable. Last year I was in an apartment, this off-season I bought a house. When you get traded, you don’t even think about it. You just want to get on the court. Everything is going 100 miles per hour. Now I’m getting to know the guys on the team better. Even though my season ended after the fourth game of the first round, you a learn a lot sitting there. It was tough sitting there, but you learn a lot about yourself from a hunger standpoint.
RN: Who do you consider your top rival in the East?
KL: It’s tough to pick out a rival. The East—and the West—got a lot better this summer. I know a lot of teams are contending for the top spot. We’re also the kind of team where you expect to get everyone’s best shot whenever they play you.
RN: Obviously you wanted to win a championship in Minnesota, but the expectations are much higher in Cleveland. Was last year fun for you?
KL: It was tough at the beginning. Losing is never fun. In the second half of the season, things kept getting better and better. Playing at such a high level, it felt great. It made the decision to come back—not that I ever really had any doubt—a lot easier.
RN: Be honest, the photo of you meeting with LeBron. That was a big deal, wasn’t it? It wasn’t just us.
KL: It was definitely important. It wasn’t a big meeting or anything. I just wanted to pick his brain a little bit. I had plenty of time to make my decision, I was always coming back. People definitely made too big a deal out of it.