The image might go down as one of the most memorable of the 2016 NBA Finals: Kevin Love embracing LeBron James immediately after the Cleveland Cavaliers, down 3-1, came back to defeat the Golden State Warriors in seven games — tears in James’ eyes.
The moment appeared organic and spontaneous at the time — Love seemingly finding LeBron by accident. But during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Monday night, Love explained that he planned to find his way to LeBron first before the final buzzer even sounded.
“I didn’t want to be the guy who was searching for someone to hug,” Love told Colbert. “So I tried to find the person that everyone was most likely to hug.”
After Stephen Curry missed a 3-point attempt with just over three seconds left on the clock, the Cleveland Cavaliers were clearly going to win the NBA Finals. It was at that moment that Love began to plan his celebration.
Obviously, Cleveland native LeBron James happened to be the person everyone wanted to hug. So Love made sure he got there first. Love’s thinking served him well, too, as cameras and the rest of their teammates circled around them. “It’s something I’ll always remember,” he added.