Everyday People

by Candice Wiggins | @candicewiggins

After five years with Glen Taylor and his Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx organization, I have had a severely critical opportunity to expand my world and the horizons of my thoughts. And consequently, just in time for Thanksgiving, I have healthy commentary for inquiring minds to chew on.

The public has been scrutinizing the Timberwolves for racial issues. When I learned of this, I was actually confused. To me, everyone in the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, including the owner, GM, trainers, staff, interns and players, are simply Everyday People. People that come to work everyday with shared goals: winning games, getting to the NBA Playoffs and getting the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to come out to the games to support their home team. Of course, it’s hard to reach that goal when the only thing the public is concerned about is how badly the Timberwolves are “losing.” I suppose, maybe, it’s easier to use a racial angle to try to interpret where the “losing spirit” is deriving from?

Typically, critical analysis of the Timberwolves comes after a few months when many games have already been played, which is why it was so confusing to me that the public has decided to send a negative wave of energy in the form of racial scrutiny so early in the season.

I’ve been following all of their transactions and draft picks since 2007, back when they drafted Corey Brewer from Florida. All of their selections have been made based on necessity and logic, and with the ultimate goal of making the team the best one they can envision. Not necessarily the most fun task to perform…or easiest, considering the pressures. But, good things have happened in the process.

I think my favorite moment in Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx draft history was when the North Carolina brother-sister duo of Rashad and Rashanda McCants were both drafted to Minnesota! It was one of those special moments in the sports world that may never be repeated…ever again. That’s Minnesota magic in my eyes.

Currently they do have a lot of European players on their roster (five non-Americans), but is that such a bad thing? Honestly, it isn’t, because basketball is a global sport. After playing overseas for three seasons and watching a lot of European men players (my big brother, Alan, is an American playing against Europeans overseas now), I can tell you that you’d be surprised at how many of them aren’t playing in the NBA. And the greatest thing about Europeans in the NBA is that they add a unique cultural dimension to a franchise. When you look at ethnicity, and not necessarily just diversity, the Timberwolves have been fantastic.

They’ve obviously acquired a lot of Americans, too; including fellow Stanford alum and All-American guy Mark Madsen (Madsen played for the Wolves from 2003 to 2009). During my early years as a Minnesota Lynx, he was too awesome; always eager to give high fives to anyone near his 6-10 vicinity in the hallways of the Target Center. And watching him in the games, I concluded that he was literally the last remaining human being in the NBA that still boxed out before he grabbed the rebound. Seriously.

I can recall watching a home game a few years back, when the Timberwolves were playing the Houston Rockets. Mark Madsen boxes out Yao Ming, Ming gets an over-the-back call, and presto! Two smart points for Minnesota. Gotta love and appreciate that kind of player.

I even later saw Mark Madsen on Stanford’s campus, when he was in his first year at the super prestigious Graduate School of Business. He proved he was not only a great ambassador for the NBA, but also a great ambassador for the Stanford Business School. I was impressed, to say the least.

And everyone loves Kevin Love. He’s a dreamboat for fans of all ages, genders and races, simply because he’s got the charming personality—and the numbers—to back up his game.  He had a 30-30 game in the NBA. How many people in our generation can say that they’ve seen that before? He should get everyone’s vote for awesomeness.

At the end of the day, just like Sly and the Family Stone expressed in their righteous 1968 song “Everyday People”….the Timberwolves are the ones who have to work and play together.

As fans we should appreciate the hard work that they put into as professional athletes, and be hopeful for the well-being of the Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx franchise. There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into the everyday dealings of all those involved, from the players to the front office, to the trainers, to the managers.

All groups involved in the Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx organization are Everyday People. It doesn’t matter if there is a “blue one who can’t accept the green one, for bein’ such a rich one that will not help the poor one…” because there is always one shared goal. And that should be all that matters.

But then again…

Sometimes I’m right, and I can be wrong.

(My own beliefs are in my blogs.)