Robert Earl Love is referred to as Bob Love for short, and is also nicknamed Butterbean. Bob played in the National Basketball Association, or NBA, for the Chicago Bulls. He is most notable for his stuttering, and was only able to find a job as a dishwasher after he retired from playing basketball. He had a tough time trying to speak without stumbling over his words, and although this is the case, it did not affect his ability to be a successful basketball player. He was born in Bastrop, Louisiana on December 8, 1942 and first starred on his high’s school’s basketball team.
At six feet, eight inches tall, Love went on to play basketball at Southern University once he was finished in high school. When he attended this school, he also became a part of the fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. In 1963, Love earned the All-America honors, which recognizes outstanding amateur players. In 1965, Love was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals for the fourth round. Even though Love was not successful in making the team, he spent that season in the Eastern Basketball League.
When playing in the Eastern Basketball League, Love earned the award for Rookie of the Year for the EBL after he made an average of 25 points per game. After achieving this award, it earned Love enough confidence to go after a placement spot on the Royals team, which he made on this second attempt. He played for this team for two years, most of which he played the reserved role. He was then selected in the NBA Expansion Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1968, and was then traded in the middle of the 1968-1969 season to the Chicago Bulls.
During his first full season playing for the Chicago Bulls, Love became a full-time starter, which is where he flourished. The following two seasons is when he had the opportunity to play in his first two All-Star Games after earning an average of 25.2 and 25.8 in each season respectively. Love also played in the All-Star Game for the 1973 season. Once Love retired, his number 10 jersey was the second one to be retired by the team, the first being number 4, which was Jerry Sloan. After retiring, Love married Rachel Dixon in 1995 at the United Center.
Love spent his time in New York and Seattle for parts of the 1976-1977 seasons, after which he ended his career. Once retired from his basketball-playing career, his totals were: 4,653 rebounds, 1,123 assists and 13,895 points. After retiring, Love had an extremely difficult time gaining employment elsewhere due to his extreme stuttering problem. He was finally able to gain employment as a dishwasher, making $4.45 per hour in 1984. After some time, the owner of the restaurant where Love washed dishes covered the cost for Love to enroll in speech therapy classes. This helped and allowed Love the opportunity to return to work for the NBA as the director of community relations for the Chicago Bulls in 1993. Since then, Love has become a motivational speaker, has spoken to school children and has written a book, The Bob Love Story: If It’s Gonna Be, It’s Up to Me in 1999.