Sam Cassell just may be the most controversial player in Timberwolves history. That’s saying a lot considering we’ve had run-ins with the likes of J.R. Rider, Stephon Marbury, Latrell Sprewell, and most recently, Eddie Griffin. What separates Sam Cassell from those other “bad dudes” is that he has a small following who happen to love him.
I’m one of them.
[ad2] Say what you will about Cassell, he’s a one-of-a-kind individual who’s mere presence brings the intrigue of a game up two or three notches. He’s a fearless warrior, a wiley veteran, a relentless trash-talker, and most importantly, a great player. And despite the poor terms on which he left the franchise, Sam Cassell is easily my second favorite T-Wolf of all time. He was a major part of the greatest season in franchise history, and other than KG’s MVP performance, the most enduring image that I’ll have from that ‘03-04 year is Sammy C. running down the court showing off his large grapefruits after single-handedly demolishing the Kings.
“I’ll be in the lineup,” said Cassell, who was then asked to clarify whether that meant tonight and whether he had specifically been told by Dunleavy that he was starting.
“I know I’m going to be in the starting lineup,” he responded. “I’m a starter in this league, baby. I’m a starter.”
“Without me out there, it was lacking the swagger I bring to a basketball team,” he said. “But we’ve got 50 games left, and we’ve got to turn the thing around, and we’ve got time. We’ve just got to continue to with that energy and that level of passion. We do that, we’ll be fine.”
Those are the kind of quotes that make some people hate Cassell and cause them to conjure up Sam’s various nicknames like “The Alien”, “The Human Fetus”, and “Schmegal”. Sure, Sam’s one of the most frustrating player in the league when he’s an opponent, but when he’s on your side, you absolutely love him. Timberwolves fans shouldn’t forget that. Trenton Hassell sure hasn’t.
“Sam don’t care. Sam believes in himself. There’s always going to be critics. There’s going to be some people that like you and some people that don’t like you. That’s the way the game is. You can’t always be perfect, but he’s got two rings, and he helped us get to the (conference) finals, and he helped the Clippers make the playoffs for the first time in many years. No matter what you say about the guy, the guy wins. You might not like him, but he wins.”
It may be tempting to boo tonight when Cassell takes the floor, but Wolves fans might want to hold off. As we know from experience, Sam tends to shine brightest under the most difficult of circumstances. Hey, I’m not saying that I won’t love it if Randy Foye and Mike James carve him up tonight, but we can all root against Cassell with some respect right? I mean, that one bad season is all in the past. Isn’t it time we let bygones be bygones?
“Minnesota tried to make me and Spree scapegoats my second year there,” Cassell said.
On second thought, it’s time to go Independence Day on The Alien.