Robert (Bob) Earl “Butterbean” Love was born on 8 December, 1942, in Bastrop, Louisiana. Bob Love is a retired American professional basketball player who spent the prime of his career with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. A versatile forward who could shoot with either his left or right hand, Bob Love now works as the Bulls’ Director of Community Affairs.
After starring at Morehouse High School (now defunct) in Bastrop, Louisiana, Bob Love played basketball for Southern University, where he also became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega. Bob Love earned All-America honours in 1963, and in 1965, the Cincinnati Royals selected the 6’8” forward in the 4th round of the 1965 NBA Draft. Bob Love failed to make the team, and instead spent the 1965-66 NBA season in the Eastern Basketball League. After averaging over 25 points per game, Bob Love earned the EBL Rookie of the Year Award and gained enough confidence to try out for the Royals once more. Bob Love made the team on his 2nd attempt and played 2 seasons for the Royals, largely in a reserve role. In 1968, the Milwaukee Bucks selected him in the NBA Expansion Draft and traded him to the Chicago Bulls in the middle of the 1968-69 season.
Bob Love flourished while playing for Dick Motta’s Bulls. In 1969-1970, he became a full-time starter, averaging 21 points and 8.7 rebounds. The following 2 seasons he averaged 25.2 and 25.8 points per game, appeared in his 1st 2 All-Star Games, and earned All-NBA 2nd Team honours both seasons. Bob Love also appeared in the 1973 NBA All-Star Game, and he would average at least 19 points and 6 rebounds every season until 1976-1977. Bob Love was named to the NBA’s All-Defense 2nd Team in 1974 and 1975.
Bob Love’s No. 10 jersey was the 2nd jersey number to be retired by the Chicago Bulls. Jerry Sloan’s No. 4 was the 1st. Bob Love’s 1995 wedding ceremony to Rachel Dixon took place at the United Center.
Bob Love retired in 1977 with career totals of 13,895 points and 4,653 rebounds. Bob Love suffered from a severe stuttering problem, which prevented him from finding meaningful employment after his playing days were over. At one point, Bob Love was a busboy making $4.45 an hour. Eventually, the owner of the restaurant where Bob Love washed dishes offered to pay for speech therapy classes, and in 1993 he returned to the Chicago Bulls as their director of community relations. One of his duties in this position involves regularly speaking to school children. Bob Love has also become a motivational speaker.
Bob Love wrote a book, The Bob Love Story: If It’s Gonna Be, It’s Up to Me, in 1999.
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