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This is about a week old, but I just discovered it today, so hold your judgment. Chris Palmer of ESPN shared a fun story regarding the unlikely origins of Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler’s friendship.
When Love was in sixth grade, Chandler, then a top high school prospect from Dominguez High School, played in a tournament in Love’s hometown, Portland, Oregon.
Love rebounded daily for Chandler in warmups and practice while studying his moves and squeezing in conversation whenever he could. Chandler signed several autographs for the kid. The pair became chummy, to the point that Love started dishing out smack talk.
“I’m gonna be in the NBA one day,” Love told the senior. “You’ll want my autograph someday. You’ll see.”
Chandler was amused. “He was just this little fat kid,” he recalls, “but he was funny.”
Something about hearing Love described as a “little fat kid, but funny” is equal parts endearing, hilarious, and utterly plausible. Obviously, most kids don’t enter sixth grade in elite-level athletic shape, but given Love’s physique before he dropped a considerable amount of weight this past year, it’s not hard to believe that he had some puppy fat when he and Chandler first met. A Google search for Love’s sixth grade years was unproductive, as the closest pictures I could find were this one, clearly before sixth grade, and this one, playing in a high school game. Split the difference, and perhaps we have a clearer idea of the small, chubby white kid Chandler was so amused by.
Apparently, Love is yet to pay up on the autograph he promised 12 years ago, although if Chandler is really interested, he could just put a bid down on the shoes Love advertised on Instagram, autographed by all of Team USA. I can’t for the life of me make out any of the signatures besides Love’s, which is on the left side (right shoe), right by the toe, but Love’s is the important one, right?
There’s a ton to love in this story (ANOTHER FAT JOKE!), so make sure you check out the link.