MINNEAPOLIS – It isn’t every day Kevin Love is mistaken for a senior citizen.
That’s what happened, though, in August, when the Timberwolves star and Cavs standout Kyrie Irving took the court for a staged pickup basketball game in Los Angeles. They were there for the second installment of Irving’s “Uncle Drew” Pepsi commercials, and for the Cavaliers’ point guard, the jig was up. He’d already gone viral in his old-man makeup for the first commercial, and even under the thick prosthetics and face paint, people knew who he was.
Not the case for Love.
After the initial commercial, Pepsi contacted Love about appearing in the second, and he agreed. Irving was the star, of course, filming the scenes with Bill Russell, but Love signed on to be his sidekick, Wes, and when they shot the commercial, the bystanders didn’t have a clue who he was.
Love seems well aware of his lack of acting skills, which he said he presented up front to Pepsi when they asked him to sign on.
“I couldn’t make an old man voice, but I sure played well as an old man,” Love said. “My voice is just, too, you can really pick apart which one’s mine. I just tried to throw a little rasp in it. That was kind of what Pepsi had gone for in it. I said, ‘I know I can’t make an old man voice,’ and they said, ‘That’s part of it.’ I said, ‘I can’t act,’ and they said, ‘That’s part of it.'”
In the commercial, Love and Irving wear full coats of aging makeup, which took about six hours to apply. The clip at the end of the two transforming into their older selves hardly does the application process justice.
The basketball, though, came more naturally. Shooting that scene, in which Love and Irving light up the court in spite of their supposed age, took only about an hour and a half to film.
Love’s father, Stan, also makes a cameo in the commercial, and the resemblance between the two with son in makeup and father au naturel is striking.
Despite his admitted lack of acting chops, Love said he enjoyed shooting the commercial, which he sees as the latest in a string of entertaining basketball ads that began with Larry Johnson’s “Grandmama” Converse ads in the early 1990s. So, no, Love might not have a post-retirement career on the big screen, but he’s still proud of what he’s done.
It might not have been method acting, but that limp was at least halfway convincing.