Kevin Love Agrees with Dennis Rodman: Life off Court Is Hardest Part for Players

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Denver. The Cavaliers won 111-103. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Kevin Love has gained a new appreciation for Dennis Rodman while watching ESPN's The Last Dance, acknowledging the challenges for NBA stars outside of games. 

"Playing and being on the court, this is a safe haven," Love said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "Yeah, we have a bullseye on our back and whatever. But it's all the other (expletive) off the court."

Rodman was a Hall of Fame forward who won three titles with the Chicago Bulls and two with the Detroit Pistons, but he was heavily scrutinized for his lifestyle, including his colorful hair and dating life with Madonna and Carmen Electra.

Rodman even took a vacation to Las Vegas in the middle of the 1997-98 season:

ESPN @espn

Rodman wanted to take a vacation … mid-season 😳 48 hours in Vegas #TheLastDance https://t.co/JWGpnEqgJH

Love said watching the documentary has given him an appreciation for what the players went through a generation earlier.

"I always had the idea back then because there was no social media and there wasn’t that scrutiny," he said. "But it's almost like LeBron. MJ was a planet and you take everything in his orbit. I didn't realize that."

Just like Rodman, Love was an accomplished big man but took a back seat when he joined a championship team alongside a proven superstar.

The 31-year-old played alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving while helping the Cleveland Cavaliers win the 2016 NBA title. Though he doesn't quite have the same personality as Love, he received plenty of scrutiny during this phase of his career from teammates, media and fans.

In 2018, Love opened up about his mental health in an essay for The Players' Tribune, noting he had a panic attack during a game in 2017.

It shows the challenges players can go through even at the top of their game.