UPDATE:Bumped in honor of our AP First Team All American Kevin Love (HT to jjreicher). Congratulations to Kevin and to Darren Collison, who was also named as an All American today. I am sure we will have more on these two warriors later. But for now let's take a moment to appreciate what we have. Let me just echo the line in this epic post, "My favorite (Bruin) team is always the one that is playing now." GO BRUINS. -N
When I was ten, my mom said lights out, so I took out my transistor radio, my earphones, and turned on 710 KMPC, looking for the Angels game. Instead, I got Fred Hessler calling a UCLA Bruins game. The names were new to me - Walt Hazzard, Gail Goodrich, Jack Hirsch, Fred Slaughter, etc., but I was hooked.
Later, when Pauley opened, my uncle, who had charter season tickets took me to my first game. The first time I laid eyes on Pauley, I thought it was the most beautiful place in the world. And that wasn't even the good part. I went inside and there it was - the student section, the cheerleaders, Coach Wooden, and the players in their Bruins uniforms. I think that was the year a freshman named Lew Alcindor lead his frosh team to a victory over the varsity, the two time defending NCAA champions.
Which brings me to my subject today - Kevin Love and the 2008 UCLA Bruins.
This morning I read a pretty good story on the WWL about Kevin Love
Last night, the game was so exhilarating, I couldn't watch it anymore. I actually went upstairs, turned on the computer, and "watched" the game on Bruins Nation. After it was over, I went back downstairs and watched the recording in peace.
But it got me thinking about the Bruins - my favorite teams, my favorite players. There is such a rich history from which to chose. After thinking about it all night, I finally came to a conclusion. My favorite team is always the one that is playing now. That's right kids. Those of you who never got to see Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton - it's too bad on one level, but on a more important level, it doesn't really matter. Because while the history of our great program is important, we're making history today. As Bill Walton said earlier this year, "order has been restored to the universe." UCLA greatness is back. There's a reason all the old players come back to Pauley - because they still want to be a part of it.
And then I thought about Kevin Love. Don't get me wrong, I love all of our players, but Kevin Love is a once in a generation type of player. I don't need to tell anybody who watched yesterday's game what he did - suffice it to say, he just took over. Not in a Kobe "give me the ball and watch me win it for you way" but in a much more subtle and far greater way. You could tell it by the look in his eyes and his body language which screamed out, "there is no way I'm going to let us lose. But you're all going to be part of it." And then it happened - the passing, the rebounds, the blocks, the scores. And the rest of the team (or enough of them stepped up to pull it out for us).
The sad thing about collegiate hoops today is that for the great ones, it's one and done. Back in the old school days, the players sat out their frosh year, but we knew we had them for three more. So, even though we know Kevin, we'll never really get to know him. Like Big Red, or all the others.
But the good news is that you're now a part of our history. And forty years from now, you can tell your children or your grandchildren, or the newbies posting on BN, that when you were young, you saw Kevin Love, and tell them about what a magnificent player he was and how great the '08 Bruins were. And that's true whether we win or lose.
Good luck to us all in the last three games (I'm an optimist) of the Kevin Love era.
Update [2008-3-30 11:43:2 by waters96]: Now there's only two games left in the Kevin Love era. And don't you think he should be getting a little more consideration for POY.