The return of Kevin Garnett has happened and it made for a week fans, team officials and workers and players themselves will not soon forget.
I wasn’t one of the fortunate to be in Minneapolis the night KG took the court against Washington. I was winging my way to Twins Spring Training for my TV work with GameON! and radio @ This is Twins Territory on GO96.3FM.
Everywhere I turned, KG was what people were talking about. In lines. On the plane. At the Hotel in Fort Myers and at Hammond Stadium. Twins players were asking about it and were recounting the game through highlights and stories.KG’s return, a 20 point win and all the amazing and emotional pictures were lapped up by anyone who was watching.
It’s been SO long since the Wolves garnered that kind of positive attention. Remember, this is a 12-win team. THE most talked about team with losing record in the NBA. It’s OK and it’s great.
Garnett should get the nod for this. KG has been magical in this moment. It all started at his news conference the day before his return to the Target Center court and KG set the tone. He’s not only wearing his heart on his sleeves but his adopted hometown was eager to have back a favorite player from his team’s best days.
I’ve covered many news conferences in my career. From President’s to performers and pro players but few had the energy and ability to captivate as KG’s return news conference did.
Starting with “If LeBron can go home, so can I” was amazing. KG had the crowd, a huge room full of media, fans and staff, eating out of his huge hands. IN some spots the crowd was stacked 8-deep. KG’s new Wolves teammates rolled in quietly about half way through the news conference and they were captivated.
The bottom line is that bright days are ahead for the T’Wolves. Garnett’s willingness to return when he had plenty of other options was just the signal needed to alert the fans and media that something IS happening here. Something good.
The naysayers are quick to toss water on the hot buzz and argue that all that’s happened is a losing team has reached for a “has been” who’s seen better days to rekindle the glory days. However it’s so much more than that.
I was talking to former Twins All Star and Gold Glove outfielder Torii Hunter. Hunter heard the shout-outs from KG at his news conference and smiled when I brought them up. Hunter also took issue with those, he calls “Un-informed”, when they label “older” players as dinosaurs or “washed-up”.
Torii said, “I know KG and do you think he or I returned to Minnesota to lose? Do you think we only came back to “mentor” young players? Hey, we both have gas in the tank and we want to win. I haven’t had a chance to catch up with KG but I’ll promise you he STILL hates to lose. I do. He does. Losing sucks. We’ll mentor for sure but we’ll do it as we win.”
I smiled ear to ear hearing that. You can see it watching these guys at their workplace. Hunter leads by example and KG, AKA the Alpha Wolf, has already begun asserting himself.
These are very good days. I know there won’t be post season play for the Wolves this season but KG, with his spark and passion, with his fire and appeal, signals better days. KG offers hope.
There is excitement and a buzz and that “hope” because of the “Big Ticket”. And why not? From Ricky Rubio to Andrew Wiggins and every player in between, their games will get better. It certainly had my mailbox a flitter this week. Here’s a sample.
Paul wrote with this, “Garnett’s decision to come back strikes me as a little crazy. Why here and not with a team hunting for another ring? Love your work; keep it up and GameON Rod”. Paul thanks for watching and your note. KG made it clear…it was HIS call to OK the trade by waving his no trade clause. KG mentioned family weighing in on his decision and that “it felt right”,”he had something to give” and “if there was a storybook ending, this was it” to his career. Who knows how long KG has left on the court. At this moment the man can still contribute so let’s go with it. Paul, great question. Thanks.
PJ with this note, “It all seems like a plan Coach Flip Saunders has had for some time. Bringing back so many of his old cronies to turn this thing around”. PJ, perhaps. Flip has made some of the best moves in recent NBA years, especially the Kevin Love trade that grabbed Wiggins. Flip is molding a group of veterans to compliment young and impressionable players and the move to bring in KG is a very strong addition. He’s had time to plot a course and it seems like it’s a nice map.
So we settle in for the Wolves stretch run with the expectation of competitiveness and a better brand of basketball. I keep saying it and will again….this fan couldn’t be happier.
Thanks for the great week KG. It’s like feeling spring for the first time after a long Minnesota winter. Much like you not knowing your way around the changing landscape here, the same goes for us. We’ll quickly get used to a better team and feeling OK with bigger expectations.
It’s a win-win. Thank you. MY glass has been half full for some time and will now get even fuller. And to all you “casual” fans, the coast is clear. It’s OK and even cool to again cheer and wish the Wolves well. KG says so.
So, get back on board. Keep the faith! Keep your GameON!
Thanks Ticket. !
What’s on your mind?!
If you are a serious Timberwolves fan (and even the casual fan is allowed), drop me a note with your thoughts. Write me at rod@gameONtvMN.com.
This is cool! The Wolves have launched a new mobile app that gives fans instant access to exclusive Wolves content and live game coverage. Fans can download the free app on iOS and Android devices by visiting Timberwolves.com/mobile.
The official Timberwolves app offers fans the ability to follow live game content including the score, stats, shot charts and related social media conversations via the Game Tracker. The app also allows fans to seamlessly check the team’s schedule, roster and conference standings. Fans on the go can stay engaged and updated with the team by accessing Wolves articles, photo galleries and original videos through the app. New features including ticket sales integrations, fan experience modules, exclusive membership content and more will be added to the app in the near future. The app is another step the Wolves have taken to accommodate the continued growth of mobile web use. Last season, the Wolves launched their re-designed website that is optimized for mobile viewing.
Tune in for Twolves!
Timberwolves games will be on radio for the 2014-15 NBA season and all 82 regular season games can be heard on News Radio 830 WCCO-AM, while La Mera Buena 107.5 and La Neta 95.9 will carry 15 games.
This is the Wolves’ fourth season on their flagship station, News Radio 830 WCCO-AM. Alan Horton returns for his eighth season as the Wolves play-by-play announcer. Horton will team up with studio host John Focke to produce 30-minute pre- and post-game shows that will be featured on-air and streamed online at www.wcco.com for every game.
SimonsSays on TV/PODcast:
GameON! and Rod Simons are winners of a 2014 Emmy award for show host! It’s exciting news as GameON! starts its new season and continues to showcase the Timberwolves like no other broadcast show in the region. GameON! is powered by Budweiser and is broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes, on demand via our new GameON! App (free and available for Apple/Android) and online @ www.gameontvmn.com. There is always a Wolves update on my TV show, GameON! Don’t miss an episode of the Emmy winning GameON! @ 10am this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 and throughout the weekend regionally on MidCo Sports Net.
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GameON! is also seen in North & South Dakota and Western Minnesota on MidCo SportsNet several times a weekend. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays @ Timberwolves.com. You can now get SimonsSays in new PODcast form with insight/input from fans just like you and exclusive player interviews! Keep an eye out for SimonsSays PODcast @ Timberwolves.com each and every week.
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We talk Wolves. Every day. High’s & lows. We’re there because we’re fans, just like you! Keep your GameON! See you soon!