After dislocating his left shoulder during a game against the Celtics in the NBA playoffs last spring, the Cavaliers' 27-year-old forward is back with a new look and holding no grudges.
DAN PATRICK:Are you still upset with the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk [for injuring your shoulder]?
KEVIN LOVE: No. We ended up texting and sweeping that under the rug. I don't imagine he'll get a great reception in Cleveland, but we talked, and it's all good.
DP:Did you know it was serious right away and that you would be out four to six months?
KL: Yes. When it first happened, I was very emotional and pissed. Getting my shoulder put back in place in the locker room was painful. I knew right away that it was serious and that it was going to be a lengthy recovery.
DP:What's the toughest thing about being LeBron James's teammate?
KL: There's not much that's tough about it. He kind of makes your life easy out there on the court. The toughest part is the circus that follows him.
DP:But he gets more credit and more blame for how the team fares.
KL: It's a gift and a curse. Not to speak for him, but I don't think he'd have it any other way.
DP:Was there any chance you were going to play elsewhere after last season?
KL: None at all. When you think about your goals, you factor in happiness, winning and, obviously, getting paid. If you can have two of those things, you're in a good spot. If you can have all three, it makes it a no-brainer to stay.
DP:You're getting a lot of attention for your new hairdo.
KL: A lot of people were saying that I got a perm. I have pictures from when I was a little kid. My hair is naturally curly. It's at the awkward phase now. I'm trying to figure out how to style it for opening night.
DP:Will you ever go with a man bun?
KL: I was told you lose your hair with a man bun, so I'm not sure that's something I want to go for.
DP:If you had to build an NFL team with NBA players, who would be on it?
KL: LeBron would be a wide receiver. He's like another Megatron out there. Then I would have to say Nate Robinson on defense. Obviously myself. I could be like Big Ben and play quarterback.
DP:Did you play football?
KL: My parents wouldn't let me. They said, "Kid, you're gonna get hurt." My dad would take me onto the court and into the paint and say, "This where you have to play football."
DP:So, who's my quarterback?
KL: I thought it was going to be me.
DP:Sorry, your parents said you can't play.
KL: That's right, I always listen to everything my parents say.
I asked former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez whether New York's 2015 pitching staff is better than the 1969 or '86 editions. "The ceiling is a lot higher for this group," he said. "It's the most incredible [young] starting four I've ever seen." ... Former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew told me he originally committed to go to Colorado [before later signing with UCLA] after going to the Cheesecake Factory on a recruiting visit. "That's the real world," MJD said. "You want to watch Ballers and believe all that hype and nonsense? That's not how it really goes down." ... ESPN's Michael Wilbon wasn't crushed when his Cubs fell in the NLCS. "I'm upset at getting swept," Wilbon told me, "but I'm not in the usual Cubs depression that I've been in several times before. It feels a little different. It feels like it's the beginning."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
JASON MILLER/GETTY IMAGES (LOVE)
CRAIG BARRITT/GETTY IMAGES FOR SHERATON HOTELS & RESORTS (HERNANDEZ)
MICHAEL TULLBERG/GETTY IMAGES (JONES-DREW)
EVAN AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES (WILBON)