Being selected to the All-Star team a 'tremendous honor' for Love
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MINNEAPOLIS -- It still hasn't sunk in for Kevin Love.
Can you blame him? After continuous speculation, hundreds of questions and getting snubbed by the coaches vote, all had looked lost for Love's All-Star chances.
But commissioner David Stern selected him as Yao Ming's injury replacement on Friday, and Love's ticket to Los Angeles was finally punched.
"I don't think it's sunk in yet," Love said before Saturday's 113-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets. "I finally got the paperwork and saw that I was going and it felt pretty good."
You can tell that it is a genuine honor for Love to be named an All-Star and it means a great deal to him. He is something of a student of the game and understands the historical context of having his name attached to the term "All-Star."
A camera crew was on hand to record Love's reaction when coach Kurt Rambis delivered the good news. It was quite the covert operation to keep the news a secret. Rambis, along with two members of the Wolves' PR staff were the only three people that were privy to the information that Love was selected by commissioner David Stern to replace Yao Ming on the Western Conference team.
"When I saw the camera crew in there, I didn't really know what to expect and didn't know what that was all about but when I saw Kurt had to make an announcement, I was thinking 'What is this about?' He mentioned that I made the team and I just kind of looked at him and was stunned and shocked," Love said.
After the immediate congratulations from his teammates and coaching staff, the next phone call for Love was obvious.
"My dad," he said. "I told my dad. It was a pretty emotional phone call. I talked to a few people after that but my dad was the one who put the ball in my hands from day one, so it was definitely him."
Just like the night Love put together a 31 point-31 rebound performance against the Knicks and officially stepped onto the national stage, his cell phone wouldn't stop ringing once word of his selection began to spread during Friday's 111-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
"It was a lot (of calls). It was over 100," Love said. "There was a tremendous amount of texts and phone calls. I had to turn my data roaming off so I didn't get the big bill at the end of the month, but I had a bunch of texts and like I said, a tremendous amount of support from family, friends and whoever else texted me."
Among those 100 phone calls and text messages were a few from old friends.
"I did hear from Al (Jefferson)," Love said. "I also heard from (Kevin) McHale. Both said they were very proud, very happy for me and t hey said I should have been there in the first place but told me to 'keep my head up and it'll eventually work out for you.' That was actually the night before and the next they day texted me 'We told you so.'"
Love was selected over Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and Phoenix's Steve Nash, who praised Love -- while the bitter Aldridge made comments that Love didn't deserve to go because of the Wolves' meager win total.
"Just about everybody put Portland has been gracious," Love said, laughing. "No, I've got a tremendous amount of support. A lot of coaches, a lot of the media, a lot of the fans, but even more so, my teammates and a lot of players around the league have had a tremendous amount of support."
Love becomes the franchises fifth All-Star and first since Kevin Garnett in 2006-07.
"I'm very excited to represent the Wolves," Love said. "I've had a lot of support from the fans, my teammates, the front office, the coaching staff -- everybody involved. I was very humbled by it and I feel truly blessed to be going to the All-Star game."