Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Darius Garland revealed that he thought Kevin Love was an “a–hole” after his first impression of the future Hall of Famer.
Garland, who joined the Cavs in the 2019-20 season after being selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, recalled his first encounter with Love to Cleveland.com.
Garland was in a Los Angeles restaurant getting to know LeBron James and members of Klutch Sports. It was there that he and Love crossed paths.
“I’m like, ‘Damn, that’s Kevin Love right there,’” Garland said. “I knew he was like a Hall-of-Famer and stuff. I see a legend. But he doesn’t say anything. He just walked right past me. So, I’m like, ‘Damn, Kevin Love’s just an a——.’”
Clearly, Garland’s impression of Love quickly changed once the two became teammates in Cleveland. Love was one of the key veterans that helped Garland acclimate to the NBA.
The Cavs star guard is very grateful for the relationship that he has with Love, even though the forward is now with the Miami Heat.
“It was some fun times with him for sure,” Garland told Cleveland.com, saying they still laugh about that L.A. run-in. “Kev’s like a big brother to me. There’s always going to be love there. I came in and he was one of my vets. Him, Tristan (Thompson) and Larry (Nance Jr.) really took me in. I was like their little brother. We’ll always have that connection. He’ll always be my vet. When I came in, he looked after me, put his arm around me, showed me the ropes, and I love him for that. That’s always gonna be my guy.”
Love and the Cavs agreed to a contract buyout this season after he had fallen out of J.B. Bickerstaff’s rotation. That allowed the veteran forward to latch on with Miami, another contender in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs and Heat face off on Wednesday night in what will be the first of two straight games between the teams. Wednesday’s game should be an emotional one for Love and his former teammates, as it is the first time they’ve faced off since he left the franchise.
Garland and Love were both integral pieces to the Cavs’ turnaround last season, as the team made the league’s play-in tournament.
Love’s leadership and willingness to take a bench role really helped the Cavs’ young core over the past two seasons.
Now, the veteran is looking to chase another playoff run with the Heat, who are currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Since joining Miami, Love is averaging 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 22.5 minutes per game. He’s started all six games that he’s played with Miami.
There’s a chance that the Cavs and Heat could meet in the postseason in the 2022-23 campaign, which would be quite the reunion for Love and his old teammates.
It will be fun to watch Love interact with Garland and other members of the Cavs during Wednesday’s nights contest, especially since he has meant so much to a player like Garland in his career.