The way Timberwolves three-time All-Star Kevin Love recalls it, he knew he was destined to become a “stretch” power forward well before he helped make the term such a part of the NBA’s new vernacular.

“I think I kind of knew before it happened,” he said.

His father, Stan, once told an 8-year-old child forbidden from playing football that a basketball court’s painted lane could be an alternative world in which he expressed his aggressions.

Then he inspired his young son to shoot from distance, too.

“I used to always watch him,” Love said. “He had a real feathery-soft touch. If they had a three-point line when he played in the NBA, he probably would have played a number of years longer. He taught me how to shoot.”

All these years later, Love has uniquely combined both basketball worlds and become the player — a first-time All-Star Game starter on Sunday in New Orleans, mind you — most pushing forth the evolution of the power-forward position.

Thirty years ago, Karl Malone and Kevin McHale were prototypical NBA power forwards because of their size, strength and low-post moves. Then Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan came along in the 1990s and reinvented the notion of what a big man should be, melding their 7-foot heights with a guard’s inclinations.

And now here comes Love.

He gives new meaning to the “stretch 4” — a power forward who stresses opposing defenses with his ability to play away from the basket — a wave that Nowitzki and Garnett particularly popularized and that Love, Western Conference All-Star teammate LaMarcus Aldridge and players such as New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson and Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Young now surf.