Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love(notes) gave interviews to several outlets on Tuesday as part of a sponsorship deal with a prominent brand of tequila (you can probably guess which one by the T-shirt posted above). I don't know if he's sneaking pops of the supply, or just getting more and more upset with the NBA's lockout because apparently now he's all but asking to be on the Pro Beach Volleyball series.
And though he isn't the highest jumper the NBA has to offer, he is certainly the quickest off his feet. It's hard to think of an NBA player more suited for beach volleyball than Kevin Love, at least now that Sherman Douglas has retired.
In an initial interview with The Big Lead, Love mentioned the possibility that he could make a pro team for a tournament next month, and how his sponsorship role with the league could be extended "if he does make one of the squads and gets to play in the $200,000 Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Open, taking place Aug. 26-28."
By the time he got around to talking to the Associated Press, however, Love was giving writers impressions of "plans to play in next month's Manhattan Beach Open on the pro volleyball tour," pointing out that he "began practicing Tuesday." And I can't think of anything better. Provided, of course, Love prevents sun damage to his skin and sports the proper eyewear. Looking out for you, guy.
At 6-9 and with touch for days, the NBA's leading rebounder in 2010-11 (and, for two years prior, the second-best rebounder in terms of caroms grabbed versus rebounds available) would seem to be at home under the net. Or, barely under the net -- as regulation rules for men's volleyball list that the net's top should stand 7-11 in height. Love doesn't have a partner in the two-man tournament, and I'd make another Minnesota Timberwolves joke here, but I think we're just about beyond that at this point, aren't we?
It's possible that some pro or even amateur volleyball enthusiasts will take offense to my assumption that someone like Love can just waltz right in and qualify for a professional tournament. You're probably right to take offense, but in fairness to us gawkers, we're not watching if Love isn't around, so enjoy his volleyball run while it lasts.
Love, in close proximity to those who are taking this much more seriously than we do (though not the sponsors, who were handing out tequila shots at Times Square to passersby midday Tuesday), is acting humble as he prepares. "I'm training and working hard," he told the Big Lead. "I don't want to embarrass myself."
That's nice to hear, because being embarrassed on the beach is no laughing matter. Especially because we don't have Charles Atlas to rely on anymore to pump our guns up should we get sand kicked in our face.