Dime Q&A: Kevin Love, Bill Walton Talk Olympics & NBA Finals

We had a chance to check out the launch for the new Samsung Galaxy S III, where Bill Walton and Kevin Love we’re promoting the product. No doubt the new phone was pretty cool, but we’re basketball guys – we came to talk to two of our favorites in Walton and Love.

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Dime: Back in your playing days, you didn’t have anything like the Samsung Galaxy S III to communicate with teammates and coaches. What did you use instead, and what would you have done had you had this kind of technology?
Bill Walton: We had nothing. We had pay phones, and we had rotary phones. I predate the fax machine. I predate overnight delivery. We used to have Western Union Telegrams. We use to play for silver, and now we play for life. That’s what so great about the Galaxy S III. It takes everything we have to the highest level. And when you have the power, the foundation, the platform and the stage, Samsung is able to give a great new product. That’s the kind of thing that changes the world, and that’s what I’m in to.

Dime: When you look back at your playing days, there are probably performances that stand out to you the most. Seeing LeBron playing really well in the Finals, and Russell Westbrook’s Game 3 dominance, how do you think these performances will be perceived in in 10-15 years?
BW: These are very good players, and LeBron is the best one remaining. I’m happy for him, and he’s a fantastic example of what it means to build a life for yourself. Miami has the two best players. Miami has LeBron and Dwyane Wade, and they have both been better than anything Oklahoma City has been able to come up with. And they have been able, Dwyane and LeBron, to pull the team together and define the terms of the conflict. They’re leading the relentless offensive attack, and LeBron provides such a great safety net for when things don’t go right. But right now Miami is in complete control. Oklahoma City, they’ve got to come up with a whole lot more.

Dime: What is it that Oklahoma City is doing wrong in this series?
BW: They’re not playing as a team, they’re not playing smart enough, and they’re not doing what the Galaxy S III does, which is make it a team game, and have an identity, having a style. The beautiful thing about the Galaxy S III is you put it in your hand and it feels perfect, like the ball. What Oklahoma City has to do is sit together and figure out a style and identity that is going to allow them to control their environment.

Hit the jump for our conversation with Kevin Love.

Dime: How much are you looking forward to the competition in the Olympics?
Kevin Love: I definitely am. That’s what helped me make the big jump in 2010-2011, my first All-star year. I’d say I took my big jump after playing in the 2010 World Championship with Team USA. Just being around that caliber of talent and playing against the other best teams in the world, it gives you a whole different perspective. You become more mature, you get to see different things when you’re well traveled. But when you get to play against those certain guys in practice every day, you get to be coached by some of the top coaches in the world and you get to play against some of the best competition in the world, that definitely helps your game and that’s what really helped spark my progression over the last few years.

Dime: Did you get a chance to see the Dream Team documentary on NBA TV?
KL: I haven’t seen it yet, I’m really upset about that. I heard that Charles Barkley steals the show, so I gotta make sure I check that out because I believe we’re doing some 20th anniversary deal in Barcelona with the Olympic team and with the Dream Team, so hopefully we’ll be a part of that.

Dime: Back on the Dream Team, those guys were going at each other’s throats – Barkley vs. Malone, Jordan vs. Magic, etc. With the reputation of the league as it is now, with everyone being friendly, do you expect it to be intense practices or just for everyone to be friendly?
KL: From what I can feel, just knowing those guys and being a student and fan of the game, maybe they all didn’t like each other or hang out with each other off the court, but they all respected each other. It’s definitely a new era of players. We all respect each other, but I think it’s become more and more of a fraternity with the NBA because there are only 400 or so players. So I think for us we are going to get along, but when we go back to our respective teams, it’s going to be a bloodbath the entire year.

Dime: Is there a part of you that’s jealous that Russell Westbrook, a fellow UCLA guy, is in the Finals right now, or are you legitimately happy for him?
KL: Yeah jealousy, for a lack of a better term, or envy. I’m very envious that he’s in the Finals because that’s where I want to be. And he’s performing at a very high level like I know he’s always going to and I know he always has. That’s a place I want to go but we have to take it step by step. At least for the Timberwolves, we have to make the playoffs and go from there.

Dime: How do you see the Timberwolves doing next season?
KL: Well it was tough last year, it was a battle of attrition. Once Ricky went out it kind of took the air out from underneath us. Then [Nikola] Pekovic got hurt, J.J. [Barea] and Mike [Beasley] couldn’t stay healthy, and then Luke [Ridnour] got hurt. So J.J. was having to start and log a lot of minutes with a bad hamstring. And then I went out for the last nine games of the season. So I think if we’re all healthy and we come into training camp this year where we’re all ready and playing a high level of defense like we did the first couple of months, then we’ll have a very good shot to make some noise this year.

Dime: When you came out of UCLA, a big knock on you was your athleticism, and most people knew you for your long outlet passes more than anything else. Now you’re an MVP candidate. Did you ever see yourself progressing this much?
KL: Yeah I always really did. I knew I could if I was able to work, and took summers to become a better player and add a few new things to my game. I’m a firm believer in greatness surrounds itself with greatness. By any means you have to surround yourself with people that aren’t just going to tell you “yes” all the time. I have people that are like me – I’m my own harshest critic, and a lot of people will tell me things I might not want to hear. But I have to digest it and try to make myself better. I think I did see myself being here in my first three or four years in the league. I’m only 23, so there’s a lot of things I can still improve on. But more than anything we have very hefty and lofty team goals and we can take it to the next level.

Dime: Who ya got tonight?
KL: I’m hoping since I’m a basketball fan and always have been that it goes seven games. So I’m going for the Thunder. I said it the other night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and I’ve said it the whole time: I wish there was a way so both teams could lose. In the end, whoever wins, so be it. Both teams have worked hard in a condensed and abbreviated season to be where they’re at.

Do you think Walton is right to say Dwyane Wade is the second-best player in this series?

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