V-Day Love Hate

Every time someone says anything about K-Love here, the response is fantastic. See this and this for recent examples, but there are more.

And this started well before LMA's All-Star snub. It began around the time of Love's circus-stat games back a few months ago.

I'm not overly concerned with whether Love is overrated or not. I am curious, though, why he generates such passionate (and often extremely well-informed, they've taught me a few things, stat-wise) comments here.

Is it part of the Portland "Against The World" syndrome Henry Abbott talked about? I wrote that off when I read it. I think Blazer fans have a perfectly good right to feel unlucky. They're a little more basketball-savvy* than people in places with lots of sports teams, who don't necessarily pay attention to basketball all the time, and are easily excited by the thought of their team catching a hot streak and making the playoffs as a #8 seed. Blazer fans know that you can linger in low-seed limbo forever, and that championship teams happen when you get lucky on some lottery picks. We got incredibly lucky on two of them in successive years. Now neither player may ever be themselves again. Having that kind of good draft fortune followed by this kind of injury nightmare doesn't happen all the time. I don't think it's "oh, poor us" or "Against The World" for Blazer fans to feel shafted, any more than I'd blame Red Sox fans for lamenting Bucky Dent's misplayed grounder.

But why the Love hate? I'll grant you that LMA is a better all-around player, and doesn't get the same attention. Why does anyone care? Surely the only attention that matters to LMA consists of a) winning and b) contract size (hopefully in that order.)

Is it because Love is a local boy (sort of, I think his family moved several times)? Is it "Overpraised White Guy" backlash? As an ex-Portlander in Minnesota, I can tell you that nobody here cares about Kevin Love's reputation. Or the team, period. They obsess over the Vikings, high-school hockey, and to some extent the Twins (until the novelty of having a new stadium wears out in a few years, and people remember that Minnesota is cold and wet in April/May while hot and humid in July/August.) Love's All-Star selection was a non-story. The few who do follow the team are more interested in his quirky personality, since the team stinks.

Who knows? I remember having some pretty irrational hatred of certain players. Not because of anything they did off the court (Favre/Rothlisberger/Vick - type stuff) but just something about them that plain irked me. I loathed Kurt Rambis because he was a Laker, he whined a lot, and he looked ooky. A.C. Green for the same reason. But strangely I always enjoyed Vlade Divac for making a maestro's fine art out of whining, and you don't get much weirder-looking than Vlade. (Rambis actually looks like a normal Earthling now, it's quite a testament to how some people age well. We can only hope that a merciful god has been as kind to poor A.C.)

Is there anything about Love that Just Bugs many BE members? Sure, watching him knock over Darko Milicic for a rebound is pretty funny. (But it might help Darko's case if he went up for some of those himself.) What is it?

And while I'm asking questions, why is it that we're supposed to give roses and diamonds and flowers to our lovely ladies on the anniversary of a 1920's Chicago gangland shooting? Is there some romantic significance to bathtub gin and drive-bys in Model T Fords that I'm missing? I seriously saw a diamond ad on TV and thought, for an innocent second, "what's the deal? Christmas is over . . ." until I realized, oh, Yeah. February. Riiiiggghhhhtttt.

It ain't V-Day there for a few more minutes, but it is here. Happy Love hating.

* -- Note: I am not trying to smooch-rear on the "Portland fans know basketball" thing. They do because it's the town's primary sport. Fans in Copenhagen know soccer, fans in Tokyo know sumo-wrestling. Unless someone will give me money to smooch rear, in which case I'll go buy lipstick.

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