Kevin Love on Kobe Bryant’s relentlessness: “You’ve got to show a guy like that respect”

Kevin Love said Kobe Bryant does not take no for an answer and that "you have to show a guy like that respect." (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Kevin Love said Kobe Bryant does not take no for an answer and that “you have to show respect for someone like that.” (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

By Tony Ciniglio
Los Angeles Daily News

Former UCLA star Kevin Love found himself right at home during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ morning shootaround at UCLA at the Student Activities Center.

“It’s always fun to be back here, though I guess I don’t have enough pull to be at Pauley Pavilion,” Love said, laughing.

Love said after six years with the relatively low-key Minnesota Timberwolves, he is adjusting to being part of one of the NBA’s most scrutinized franchises with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.

And of course a stop in L.A. wouldn’t be complete without being asked about Kobe Bryant and what the Lakers superstar is going through this season.

“It’s pretty unbelievable for him, at his age, to come back from an Achilles injury and how a lot of resolve,” Love said. “He’s got a big heart. He’s a tough guy, and he’s always going to go out and play hard. He does not take no for an answer.

“You’ve got to show a guy like that respect, battling those things and still going out there every night.”

Love is averaging 17.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his first season with Cleveland, which is down slightly from his career totals of 19.1 points and 12.1 rebounds.

The ESPN stat gurus also came up with an interesting stat: Love got the ball an average of 11 times on the elbow last season, but is down to just three times a game this season.

Love seems to be struggling to find his identity on a team of superstars, and Cleveland has stalled following an 18-11 start, losing nine of its last 10 games, including the last six straight.

Love said he knows it will take time for it to come together.

“It’s something to be expected,” Love said. “Everyone had mentioned Chris Bosh coming in. I knew I was going to have to sacrifice coming into this. LeBron is the best player in the world, a guy who handles the ball a lot and makes a lot of big plays. Kyrie, it’s the same kind of thing. He handles the ball a lot and is a great scorer.

“For me, I just try to be as efficient and consistent as possible, though my consistency is not quite always there. My role is evolving and changing, and I just try to fit in the best I can to help the team win, though we have not looked good in the past 10 games.”