ALL-STAR PITCH MAN: Timberwolves hope Kevin Love spoof makes perfect scents

ST. PAUL In a bid to sweeten his NBA All-Star Game chances, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is offering a gift-pack sample of his newly created "NUMBE#S" fragrance, just in time for Western Conference coaches to make their selections of...

Kevin Love returned from his two-game suspension with a season-high 33 points in the Timberwolves 1-4097 loss to the Mavericks.


In a bid to sweeten his NBA All-Star Game chances, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is offering a gift-pack sample of his newly created "NUMBE#S" fragrance, just in time for Western Conference coaches to make their selections of seven reserve players for the Feb. 20 game in Los Angeles.

As an additional reminder to the 15 coaches, the Timberwolves unveiled a marketing campaign Thursday that spoofs the theatrical and exotic TV commercials advertising men's and women's colognes.

Love, the NBA's leading rebounder and double-double king, is hoping he has done enough in the first 45 games of the season to merit a spot on the 12-man roster, especially if the coaches never sample the product and pass it on to someone else.

"I feel like I've done as best as I could to show I'm an all-star type talent," said Love, who leads the NBA with 15.7 rebounds and 40 double-doubles. "I know that wins come at a premium in this league, and a lot of coaches will look at that. Maybe they can get past that and make an exception."


The Wolves (10-35) enter tonight's game at Utah with the NBA's third-worst record, but Love has been arguably the league's most consistent player. He also has been a marketing savior for the team during a difficult season, drawing the most national attention for the franchise since Kevin Garnett wore a Wolves uniform.

Many of Love's big performances have been featured on ESPN and other national highlight shows. In some cases -- particularly after

his 31-point, 31-rebound game against New York on Nov. 12 -- he has been the lead story around the country. Love's 31 points and 20 rebounds in Wednesday night's overtime loss to Oklahoma City represented the third time this season that he has reached 30 points and 20 boards in a game.

Despite the Wolves' record, opposing coaches clearly are aware of Love and spend considerable time discussing him during pregame strategy sessions. Before Wednesday's game at Target Center, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said Love is "more than a rebounder" and indicated that it would be tough to leave him off the West roster.

Wolves coach Kurt Rambis is not permitted to vote for Love, but he made his case anyway for the standout power forward.

"There's no doubt in my mind he's an all-star," Rambis said.

The situation still comes down to the coaches, who will receive ballots today and must submit their votes on Monday. Coaches can vote only for players in their conference. The reserves for both conferences will be announced Thursday night on TNT during an NBA telecast.

Fans voted for Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Denver's Carmelo Anthony as the West's starting forwards. Coaches must pick two reserve forwards, two guards and one center. Each team has two wild-card selections that coaches can use on players regardless of position. That means a coach could use both wild-card slots on forwards, giving Love an additional opportunity to make the team.


Love is up against some productive forwards in the West, including Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, who ranks second to Love in double-doubles with 37. Griffin, a new version of the "Human Highlight Film," a nickname given to former Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins, is averaging 22.6 points and 12.8 rebounds.

The West also boasts four of the NBA's top six rebounders in Love, Griffin, Memphis' Zach Randolph and Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol.

Randolph, who played in last year's

All-Star Game, is the only other reserve hopeful averaging a double-double (20.0 points, 13.1 rebounds) but there are other prominent forwards worthy of consideration, including Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom of the Lakers, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge.

Preferring not to take any chances, the Wolves' marketing staff was proactive and put together the "NUMBE#S" package -- even sending one to TNT's NBA studio staff of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. In addition to the cologne, lotion and video, the package contains a brochure of Love's numerous accomplishments this season.

"I love the package and the video," Love said. "It was a lot of fun to do. I know people will laugh at it and give me crap about it, but it was all in good fun."

Love hopes the fun translates into enough votes so he can throw outlet passes to Kobe Bryant.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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