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Love, circa 1968
December 8, 1942|
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school||Morehouse (Bastrop, Louisiana)|
|NBA draft||1965 / Round: 4 / Pick: 33rd overall|
|Selected by the Cincinnati Royals|
|Number||21, 9, 10|
|1976–1977||New York Nets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||13,895 (17.6 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,653 (5.9 rpg)|
|Assists||1,123 (1.4 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Robert Earl "Butterbean" Love (born December 8, 1942) is an American retired professional basketball player who spent the prime of his career with the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls. A versatile forward who could shoot with either his left or right hand, Love now works as the Bulls' Director of Community Affairs.
After starring at Morehouse High School (now defunct) in Louisiana, Love played basketball for Southern University, where he also became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega. He earned All-America honors in 1963, and in 1965, the Cincinnati Royals selected the 6’8" forward in the fourth round of the 1965 NBA draft. 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, Love earned the EBL Rookie of the Year Award and gained enough confidence to try out for the Royals once more. He made the team on his second attempt and played two seasons for the Royals, largely in a reserve role. Love made his NBA debut on October 18, 1966. 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.
Love flourished while playing for Dick Motta's Bulls. In 1969–70, he became a full-time starter, averaging 21 points and 8.7 rebounds. The following two seasons he averaged 25.2 and 25.8 points per game, appeared in his first two NBA All-Star Games, and earned All-NBA Second Team honors both seasons. Love also appeared in the 1973 All-Star Game, and he would average at least 19 points and six rebounds every season until 1976–77. Love was named to the NBA's All-Defense Second Team in 1974 and 1975.
Love ended his NBA career with the Bulls after spending parts of the 1976–77 season in New York and Seattle. He would finish with career totals of 13,895 points, 1,123 assists, and 4,653 rebounds. Love suffered from a severe stuttering problem from childhood, which prevented him from finding meaningful employment after his playing days were over. At one point, Love was a busboy making $4.45 an hour. Eventually, the owner of the restaurant where 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. Love has also become a motivational speaker.
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