Love and K-Love: A man and his octopus

MINNEAPOLIS – In a season of firsts for Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves, this one tops them all.

On Thursday, Love met his namesake for the first time — an octopus named K-Love that he released into the waters of the SEA LIFE Aquarium at the Mall of America.

Yes, an octopus.

It was a strange idea, Love admitted, but at the same time a fun chance to do something different. No other NBA player has an octopus named after him  unless, of course, it’s a very well-kept secret.

“They wanted to name an octopus after me,” Love said, laughing. “I couldn’t say no.”

Thank goodness he signed that contract extension to remain in Minnesota, otherwise K-Love would be just another octopus. And really, that would be a shame.

Love grabbed his slimy pal from a nearby bucket and released him into his tank, where K-Love now shares space with a few sea urchins as part of an overall exhibit that features more than 10,000 sea creatures. Love also fed the octopus some shrimp.

But what do the two-time All-Star and his new friend have in common?

“There’s not really any resemblance. I guess he’s gotta grow,” Love said. “But it was a lot of fun to be able to feed him and be down here. … Who can say they have an octopus named after them?”

And though K-Love the octopus is a novel concept, he has a long way to go before becoming the most famous cephalopod in the sports world. In 2010, an octopus named Paul in Germany accurately predicted (by selecting a box of food) which team would win each of Germany’s World Cup matches, as well as the final.

The aquarium chose to name an octopus after Love because both the eight-armed creature and the power forward are especially good at grabbing things — rebounds for Love and food for the octopus. However, upon learning about the honor — because having an octopus namesake falls into the “honor” category — Love was both excited and thoughtful. He asked why they didn’t name the octopus after Ricky Rubio, which would also have made sense with the point guard’s arms flinging passes every which way.

But after everything Love has contributed in his four years in Minnesota, he has an edge on the rookie.

Give it a few years, and maybe Rubio will get his own squid.

Follow Joan Niesen on Twitter.