Minnesota dreaming

By ADAM REILLY  |  August 20, 2007

Consider: the Wolves landed heralded point guard Stephon Marbury in 1996, allegedly giving the team a championship-caliber nucleus for the next decade; two years later, Marbury forced a trade out of town. In 1998, the Wolves signed peripatetic swingman Malik Sealy, who became Garnett’s closest friend on the team but was killed by a drunk driver in 2000 — coming home from Garnett’s birthday party. Also in 2000, the Wolves signed Joe Smith to a shady deal that violated NBA rules; the league responded by stripping away five (!) future first-round draft picks. We signed Celtics castoff Chauncey Billups, jettisoned him when he wanted to start over porcelain-ankled Terrell Brandon, then watched him win a championship and an NBA Finals MVP award with the Pistons. We squandered extra-precious first-round picks on Will Avery and Ndudi Ebi. We lost five first-round playoff series in a row, made it to the Western conference finals in 2003, and built on this success by trading crucial starting point guard Sam Cassell to the Clippers for subpar Serbian Marko Jaric . . . and a first-round draft pick. (Nice move, McHale.)

Rooting for a shitty sports team is bad. Rooting for a talented team that could be great but remains shitty is much, much worse. And that’s exactly what the Wolves have been throughout the Garnett era: a sorry franchise that repeatedly frittered away the myriad talents of one of the NBA’s elite, marquee names.

When the Wolves limped to 50 losses last year, it was obvious Garnett had to go; Minnesota wasn’t headed for a championship, and the team needed to get something for him before his contract (five years, a relatively deserving $100 million) expired next year. But this ostensibly logical conclusion was simultaneously absurd: how could anybody talk about moving Garnett to help the Wolves, when he’s the only reason the team has ever mattered?

This, more or less, was what ran through my brain as I frowned at Grousbeck’s interviewer and fake-read the New Republic. The wait went on. Every few minutes, the room suddenly got quiet and people looked to the doors; false alarms, time and again. Finally — at 6:30 pm, a full hour after the press conference was supposed to start — Garnett walked to the podium, along with Pierce, Allen, and the Celtics front-office brass. And I realized that I was way, way more emotionally invested in the proceedings than I should be. I hoped Garnett would seem happy, because I fervently wanted him to be happy in Boston. If possible, though, I wanted this happiness to have a slightly wistful edge; if it didn’t, it would be a tacit rebuke to me and a few hundred thousand other Wolves loyalists who’ve made Garnett the focus of our fandom.

The best analogy for my situation, I realized with some mortification, was a jilted lover watching his ex pair up with somebody new. No one’s to blame; it wasn’t the right fit; both sides needed a new start. No, no, stop — this is premature, too drastic, totally unnecessary! We can make it work!

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |   next >
Related: Game on, Underground art, Highway to hell, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , New England Patriots, NFC North Division, Football,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BULLY FOR BU!  |  March 12, 2010
    After six years at the Phoenix , I recently got my first pre-emptive libel threat. It came, most unexpectedly, from an investigative reporter. And beyond the fact that this struck me as a blatant attempt at intimidation, it demonstrated how tricky journalism's new, collaboration-driven future could be.
  •   STOP THE QUINN-SANITY!  |  March 03, 2010
    The year is still young, but when the time comes to look back at 2010's media lowlights, the embarrassing demise of Sally Quinn's Washington Post column, "The Party," will almost certainly rank near the top of the list.
  •   RIGHT CLICK  |  February 19, 2010
    Back in February 2007, a few months after a political neophyte named Deval Patrick cruised to victory in the Massachusetts governor's race with help from a political blog named Blue Mass Group (BMG) — which whipped up pro-Patrick sentiment while aggressively rebutting the governor-to-be's critics — I sized up a recent conservative entry in the local blogosphere.
  •   RANSOM NOTES  |  February 12, 2010
    While reporting from Afghanistan two years ago, David Rohde became, for the second time in his career, an unwilling participant rather than an observer. On October 29, 1995, Rohde had been arrested by Bosnian Serbs. And then in November 2008, Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were en route to an interview with a Taliban commander when they were kidnapped.
  •   POOR RECEPTION  |  February 08, 2010
    The right loves to rant against the "liberal-media elite," but there's one key media sector where the conservative id reigns supreme: talk radio.

 See all articles by: ADAM REILLY