In 2016, the Cavaliers led by LeBron James and backed by Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, pulled the breaks on Cleveland’s sports curse. With this victory, Bron freed himself from the burden that fans placed upon his shoulders.
To achieve this, LeBron James had to play the tough cop. He was coming back to help the Cavs win after taking a crushing defeat with Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals. Thus, his expectations from the other players were also going to be high. Kevin Love was amongst those who had joined the Cavs in 2014, and he faced the weight of these expectations first hand.
In a very recent interview with Graham Bensinger, Kevin spoke honestly about how tough it was to shoulder the expectations set by The Akron Hammer. The 6’8” power forward revealed:
“He takes everybody into his orbit. He obviously expects a lot from you, I think the greatest players in the world do or the greatest players ever do. That was something he knew that I was going to have to sacrifice, I didn’t know what that meant when I got to Cleveland, but it was the best thing and best move that I ever made to be a part of something special in a winning team like that and to be a part of that team with LeBron. While it seems so easy, it was tough for me to do because I just, I pass up open shots, I was overly critical of myself.”
The Cavs lost the 2015 NBA Finals (2-4) to a very highly talented Golden State Warriors. That defeat motivated the Cavs even more, as they climbed to the #1 spot in 2016 and eventually won the title. Kevin Love never enjoyed the kind of individual success he achieved with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His average of 16 points in those two seasons was a 10-point lower than his career-high because he was now the third-best.
In February 2015, a tweet from The L-Train came to the media attention and became the talk of the town. In that tweet, LeBron advised ‘someone’ to stopping fitting out and try fitting in. The media took no time in attaching that with Kevin’s past tweets and alleging that things weren’t right between them. However, that matter died very quickly.
Kevin too remembered that and expressed, “All I wanted was the recognition that ‘hey listen guys I’m sacrificing a lot here, I gave up the most on the team to be here. All I want is recognition for that and we can move on.”
In reality, LeBron moved on after taking two back-to-back NBA Finals defeats against the Warriors in 2017 and ‘18. On the other hand, Kevin signed a $120 million 4-year extension to stay with the Cavs.
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