I’m Pledging Allegiance to the Minnesota Timberwolves

The No. 1 reason I'm becoming a Timberwolves fan? Kevin Love. Have you seen him outlet pass?

I’ve been an Orlando Magic fan now for 18 years, dating back to Shaquille O’Neal’s rookie season. Growing up, I had a mural of Shaq on my wall featuring him flying over Florida palm tree with a Superman cape on. I owned all of his rap albums. I owned his video game, Shaq-Fu. I had his No. 32 Magic jersey in blue. I went to Kazaam in theaters the nigh it opened. When he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, I bawled. I hated Shaq and remained a Magic fan.

I’m still a Magic fan, but I’m wondering what it takes to transfer your allegiance to another team. That’s generally considered jumping on another bandwagon, but so be it. I never liked the Magic based on proximity and frankly, I feel like I should be supporting the local ball club. They have no bandwagon.

I watched the entire Minnesota Timberwolves game last night — the first time I’ve watched a full T-Wolves game when they weren’t playing the Magic. They’re awful, but in the cutest way possible. Last night, they lost at home despite scoring 116 points against a team playing without their two best players. Kevin Love, probably the best player on the Timberwolves, played just 23 minutes and sat the last eight despite earning a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) by halftime. This is one hot mess of a team that you can pay just a few bucks to see in person.

Last night got me thinking about Bill Simmons, the closest thing the sportswriting world has to a rock star. Simmons writes long-winded columns for ESPN.com, often riddled with obscure pop culture references as glue for his fragmented rants. Still, he’s managed to make a 700-some page book about basketball a best-seller. He must be doing something right.

Simmons and I suffer a similar affliction. He’s based in Boston where he makes no bones about his pro sports leanings. He’s a Red Sox and Patriots fan to the core, but when it comes to basketball, he actually chooses the putrid Los Angeles Clippers over the vaunted Boston Celtics. What gives?

On Dec. 1, 2004, Bill Simmons declared himself a Clippers fan for the good of the franchise. He wrote,

“After the Patriots and Red Sox won titles within a nine-month span, I found myself without any remaining challenges as a fan. I had climbed every mountain. I was like Garry Shandling after the final “Larry Sanders” show, at a complete loss for how to top what just happened. So I decided to go the Jack Morris route. I became a hired gun. I brought my winning résumé to a franchise that always loses. That’s right … I became a Clippers season-ticket holder. Only one outcome would be more improbable than the Sox winning the Series: The Clips winning a series.”

Simmons actually has the fan equivalent of dual citizenship. He’s a Clippers and Celtics fan. In fact, last spring, he started a new Twitter account — @CelticsChants — for the sole purpose of leading the Celtics crowd at TD Garden in heckling.

I won’t paint switching to a lesser team martyrdom like Simmons did. Sorry Orlando, but I’m doing it. Maybe not all at once, but I’m becoming a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. That means reeling through seasons of futility — like this one — and getting to know exciting young players, like Anthony Tolliver and Nikola Pekovic. It means calling for the coach’s head — watch it, Rambis — and plastering message boards with anti-David Kahn sentiment. It means tempering the shit out of expectations, which is second nature for fans of any Minnesota pro sports franchise.

I can do this.

Unlike Simmons, I bring no “winning resume” as a fan. I was barely eating solid foods when the Twins won their last World Series and the Vikings — well, you know. I did stay a Florida Gators fan after Mitchell, S.D.-native Mike Miller played there, so I get their back-to-back college basketball titles in 2006 and 2007. I was a Tiger Woods fan. The Michigan Wolverines split a title with Nebraska in 1997. That’s my track record and it’s not about to get any better.

I’m no Bill Simmons, but I want to be a voice for the Minnesota Timberwolves fan base. (All 13 of us.) Pro sports are about entertainment. Last night, I couldn’t look away from a squad that went 15-67 last year. This is going to be a fun ride.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “I’m Pledging Allegiance to the Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. You’re an idiot. You stroke your own ego at length, trash talk the team more than you encourage them, and, at the end of the day, have no idea what you want to say. You point out that Sacramento was missing 2 of their talents, but no mention that we are still awaiting the return of the Fantastic Mr. Flynn. A voice for the fan-base? Please. Head-hunting Rambis and Kahn?? Wow. You clearly have delusions of grandeur, no idea where the team is coming from, where they are heading, or what is going on.

  2. I was also a Magic fan for many years. I collected all of Shaq’s rookie basketball cards, had his jersey and Penny Hardaway’s. I bought an all-star plaque of the two together, one of the only photo shoots where Penny had a Flintstone’s band-aid over his eye.

    However, since the late 90’s I have been following the Timberwolves. They were one of the most losing-ist teams in the NBA, painful to watch. In 1998 I wrote a letter to Flip Saunders for a school project, telling him how excited I was for the team, and how much I liked watching Garnett. Not a word back, not even a team refrigerator magnet.

    The NBA has been all but dead to me over the last decade. I started watching more college hoops, and it’s filled a hole in my winter TV schedule. Maybe it’s just growing up playing basketball my whole life, but I think the NBA would be awesome if it were set up like the NCAA.

    Picture this: 50 games, 2 a week. Allow 16 teams into the playoffs and play a real tournament, winner stays, loser goes home. Fewer injuries, fewer powerhouse teams, and everyone has to play defense to win in the playoffs. There’s more on the line, and people will eat that up!

    Anyway, good luck with the new team. At least the tickets are the cheapest in town.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s