Thank you Kevin.

goodbye-kg Yesterday the Minnesota Timberwolves lost a basketball player. Yesterday Minnesota’s fans lost something more. Despite the perceived need for a trade, for a change, Minnesotans lost something that could be even more valuable than playoff victories and championships – a sports superstar to believe in – and, even more important – one who believed in Minnesota.

The loss of KG leaves such a big hole in the identity of Minnesota sports that I cannot imagine it being filled anytime soon. To me this is even worse than the loss of Kirby Puckett – the only other figure in Minnesota sports history who came close to meaning what Kevin Garnett did. While other Minnesota sports teams regularly transform themselves and jettison the faces of their franchises, the Timberwolves have never had another identity. KG’s 12 years with one team was the longest tenure of any active NBA player. KG built his home here; made his life here; wanted to play his entire career here.

From an interview in October 2002:

“I’m going to be here until they don’t want me anymore. … I’m ‘Sota, man. This is where I live, 365 days — or in leap year, 366 days — of the year. I’m here. Life is tough. You can’t run from everything.”

In a few words, words that Minnesotans seem to appreciate more than most, KG was one of us.

Kevin Garnett may have been loyal to a fault, but that is why he was so special. In this day it is rare to find an athlete with much loyalty (at all) or even sense of team pride. It is even more difficult to find examples when you are talking about a small market, in a cold city. KG meant more to Minnesota that scores and statistics and we may never, ever be able to regain what he meant. This is why fans are so torn up by this turn of events. I was lucky enough to be a season ticket holder for several seasons and was able to see first hand how great KG was on the court. I remember the first time the Wolves beat the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. I got to see them advance to the conference finals in a game 7 victory over Sacramento. I witnessed the little things, the calls for the crowd to rise up, the pre-game rituals and antics and ensuing dust clouds, the dejected head hung low each and every loss. Some things I never got to see? I never saw KG give up. I never saw KG take a game, a quarter, or a minute off. I have read about KG’s generosity and kindness via his charitable works and the adoption of a troubled teen. Despite all that he gave people, fans, and me these past 12 years, there was never a thought that he might provide his latest gift, another NBA franchise for which to cheer.

It is for these reasons, and so many more, that I wish I could thank KG face-to-face. Because I can’t do that, this post will have to do.

Apples, angles & architecture

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Gadgets, fames sports & design

New look wolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves should increase their win total and their emotional energy level with a couple key moves they have made this off-season.

With a starting 5 of:

Sam Cassell (17 points per game)
Latrell Sprewell (16 points per game)
Wally Szczerbiak (15 points per game)
Kevin Garnett (23 points per game)
Michael Olowokandi (12 points per game)

…they are pretty potent offensively and much better defensively. I think these moves put them as the favorite in their division and possibly a bit better than Dream Team V. Here’s to me not being disappointed come playoff time again.

Aside

Michael Jordan ruined the NBA

Today’s basketball players play basketball. Far too much of it. When you play the game, you don’t get nearly the number of touches you’d get working on your own. Fundamentals go right out the gym door.

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird may have saved basketball

Aside

Fans gone Wild!

Minnesota Fans have something to cheer about as the Minnesota Wild (that’s hockey) become the first team in NHL playoff history to win 2 series after being down 3 games to 1. While a matchup with former Minnesota team, the Dallas Stars would have been nice, the Mighty Ducks will make a great 3rd act to this storybook season.