If you’ve ever wondered how unexciting it would be to play for a last place team in the throes of a season-long losing streak, well here’s your chance to find out. This video is from right before the All-Star break, and takes place in the sterile glow of the visiting team’s locker room.
As you can see, Kevin Love is given the most important announcement of his professional career, and responds with a sort of stunned humility that you would expect from the nephew of a Beach Boy. Upon first glance, it seemed like a pretty upbeat locker room, enjoying a genuinely celebratory scene, in appreciation of an uplifting gesture during an otherwise downtrodden season.
Then, the drone began. Hints of it became first audible at the :14 second mark, with the noise finally collapsing around the :27 second mark. The timidly bellowed cacophony of congratulations very much resembled my mental image of what a pack of wolves crying would look like, if they were placed in human bodies and forced to play a basketball game, eighty-two of them in fact. It was as if each Timberwolf was shedding audible tears, tears in the form of howls, and was draping them around their at-last-affirmed alpha dog, Kevin Love. It was like the end of Pet Sounds, when “Caroline, No” fades out to the sound of a dog barking after a train – only Kevin Love is the train.
Nothing about the clip seemed right to me. If I was drunk, I would have been sober after watching it. And as if any more signs of stupor were necessary, the video provides Kurt Rambis’s aloof body slaps, the odd on-the-floor swiveling of Anthony Tolliver, and the fleeting smile of Wes Matthews. It all adds up to the least exciting YouTube video I have seen in the last year. And that’s saying a lot.
Maybe it’s because I read Kevin Love’s epically-titled blog on GQ, Kevin Love Will Tear Us Apart. His writing so often explored the lines between brilliance and ordinariness, celebrity and spectatorship, relevance and irrelevance. And fittingly, the blog ends with his thoughts about his All-Star Game selection. In its last entry, Kevin describes the moment he learned about his selection as if it were a coronation, a life-affirming moment that tilted the balance of his career one step closer to brilliance, celebrity, and relevance. After a season-long quest for affirmation, he had finally attained it, at least in his eyes. Then why did his coronation look so bleak, so joyless, so uninspiring? Maybe that’s not my call to make. Maybe life-affirming moments can exist in the doldrums of a losing season, in the cold glare of the visiting locker room, among the tenuous chants of underperforming teammates. Maybe that’s precisely what affirmation sounds like. Maybe Love is in the eye of the beholder.