Currently ensconced in Cleveland’s frontcourt, C Kevin Love makes his first person debut at Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune, taking the opportunity to salute Timberwolves fans (“thanks for not burning my jersey, you guys,”) and explain his departure in a essay that makes it clear he never believed Glen Taylor would surround him with the necessary talent.
I grew up a lot – personally and professionally – during my time with the Wolves. I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t always handle things perfectly. We are all unfinished products. It’s not easy to handle the disappointment of losing when you’re in your early twenties. There were times when I wasn’t easy to be around in the locker room. It’s hard to be a leader when you don’t have the model — and when you don’t have a blueprint for what winning in the NBA looks like.
But I make no excuses. I posted my best personal numbers last season, and we still didn’t make the playoffs. Some of the backlash was pretty hard to take — I learned that there is apparently such a thing as an “empty stat” (I’ll try to remember the importance of that the next time I am boxing out for a rebound against Tim Duncan).
In the end, I was given the opportunity to move on, and I took it. My decision was about wanting to win. When I think back to being a kid shooting on an eight-foot hoop in my Shawn Kemp jersey, I never dreamed about putting up a triple-double or signing a max contract. I dreamed about holding up a championship trophy. In order to get to that place, I knew that I needed to move on.