The son of former NBA player Stan Love, Love was a top-ranked prospect out of Lake Oswego High School in Oregon. He played one season of college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and led the team to a Final Four appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Love was named a consensus First Team All-American and was voted player of the year in the Pac-12 Conference. He elected to forego his remaining three years of college eligibility and entered the 2008 NBA draft. He was taken fifth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies, and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night for the third overall selection, O. J. Mayo, in an eight-player deal. During the 2010–11 season, Love established the longest streak for consecutive games recording double figures in points and rebounds since the ABA–NBA merger. He was traded to the Cavaliers in 2014.