(Jason DeCrow/AP Images for Jose Cuervo)
Kevin Love, right, and pro beach volleyball player John Hyden play on a beach court set up Tuesday in New York’s Times Square.
Kevin Love has decided to be a Manhattan Beach boy.
When the new Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series hits Southern California for a $200,000 event in Manhattan Beach on Aug. 26-28, the Oregon native who spent one season at UCLA before jumping to the NBA says he’ll dig himself out of the league’s lockout situation and try to spike it rich.
During a sponsor event where a beach volleyball court was put up in New York’s Times Square and attended by Olympic volleyball hopefuls Sean Scott and Encino’s John Hyden, Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star declared his new love for the beach game.
“I have always been a fan of beach volleyball and when I received the opportunity to play in the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series, I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” said the 6-foot-10 Love. “I’m tall, I’m quick, I can jump, and I’ve spent some time playing beach volleyball during my time in Los Angeles. Now that I have to start thinking about a backup plan with the basketball lockout, I thought ‘why not?’”
The son of one-time Lakers forward Stan Love (who played in some beach events with and against former Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain during the 1970s) and nephew of Beach Boys’ lead singer Mike Love admits he doesn’t have a partner yet and hasn’t played much lately before Tuesday’s promotional event.
But don’t throw him a pity party because of that.
“More than anything, I’m just going to be having fun with it, playing as much as I can up to that point and just working on my craft. I thought it was a great idea, a way for me to be out in the sun, be active and have fun during the lockout,” said Love. “It’s sport, it’s active, it’s a way to stay in shape, so I just thought it was a home run.”
FYI: There are no home runs in beach volleyball.
Love acknowledged other pros may target him as a weak link, but he’s “hoping to surprise them. … I’m not necessarily expecting to win, but I’m expecting to go out there and compete.”
Since the demise of the AVP in the middle of last summer, most Olympic-caliber beach players have been playing overseas in anticipation of the 2012 Games in London, or staying home and playing in smaller local events.
The Manhattan Beach Open next month comes before the tour stops in Miami on Sept. 16-18 and the national championships at Hermosa Beach on Sept. 23-25, to be shown on the Versus network.