CLEVELAND — Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has apologized for his on-court tantrum on Monday night, saying his behavior was out of line and out of character.
“That wasn’t me,” Love said.
The five-time All-Star spoke Wednesday following Cleveland’s shootaround practice before facing the Orlando Magic. Love did not take any questions from reporters after speaking passionately for 13 minutes about the incident, his frustration in dealing with an injury this season and his continued struggle with mental health.
“I (messed) up,” Love said, using an expletive to open his remarks. “Everyone knows that. My intent wasn’t to disrespect the game, my intent wasn’t even for the damn ball to go inbounds. It was a moment that I got caught up in.”
Late in the third quarter against Toronto, a frustrated Love, who was upset with the officials for some non-calls, angrily tapped the ball back into play on an inbounds pass. The loose ball was grabbed by the Raptors, who made a 3-pointer and went on to win 112-96.
Video of the tantrum went viral on social media, and Love was blistered by fans and media for behavior called “childish” and “unacceptable.”
Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff called it a “lapse in judgment” and said Love, who didn’t speak to the media following the game, apologized to his teammates.
Love said he didn’t realize how bad the incident looked until after the game and he felt embarrassed and ashamed.
The Cavaliers were missing seven players with injuries for the game, and Love’s outburst only compounded things for a young team stumbling to the season’s end.
“I put myself here,” Love said. “It wasn’t about my teammates. It wasn’t about the coaching staff. … It shouldn’t happen, but at the same time it was a little blown out of proportion.”
Love said he has only respect for Bickerstaff and his teammates. He believes they’ve accepted his apology knowing how hard he has worked this season to come back from a calf injury that sidelined him for two months.
“I’ll ride or die for J.B. and I’ll ride or die for our guys,” he said.