(When not rambling on about the Timberwolves, Jon Marthaler can be found at TNABACG , rambling on about Minnesota sports of all stripes.)
It’s All-Star Weekend, and we’re just a few hours away from All-Star Saturday Night. With that in mind, it’s a good time to look back at All-Star games past, filtered through the blue lenses of the Timberwolves fan.
Read on for more…
5. Cassell and Garnett team up (2004)
The year was 2004, the Timberwolves were on a roll, and for only the second time in team history, Minnesota sent two players to the All-Star Game. The West won it down the stretch, 136-132, Garnett scored 12 points, and Cassell – on a point guard-less West team – managed to rack up seven assists in only 13 minutes.
4. A Timberwolf finally makes the All-Star Team (1997)
Not only that, two Timberwolves made the team. Both Tom Gugliotta – amidst one of his two best years as a Wolf – and a young Kevin Garnett were named to the Western Conference team. The East smacked the West 132-120, Glen Rice had 26 points and won the MVP, and Googs and KG played the third- and fourth-fewest minutes of anyone on the West, scoring a combined 15 points. An inauspicious debut for Garnett – and the only time Gugliotta would ever play in the game.
3. The All-Star Game comes to Minneapolis (1994)
Newish stadium, newish team – new location for the All-Star festivities. The league brought its sideshow to the Twin Cities for the only time in 1994, a 127-118 East win that featured Scottie Pippen and a rain of three-pointers. The festivities also featured a hometown victory in the dunk contest (see below).
2. KG takes over, wins MVP (2003)
It was Michael Jordan’s last All-Star Game – at this point, he was 400 years old and running on fumes, and he ended up limping to 20 points by jacking up 27 shots, making nine. The game itself went to double overtime, making for a ridiculous 155-145 scoreline, and Garnett was the star. KG played 41 minutes – always impressive in an All-Star game – and scored 37 points, including ten in the second overtime when East coach Isiah Thomas (predictable, no?) apparently fell asleep and left Vince Carter guarding KG. For his efforts, Garnett was named MVP, the first Minnesota player to win the award since Elgin Baylor for the Minneapolis Lakers shared it in 1959.
1. Isaiah Rider wins the Dunk Contest (1994)
Way back in 1994, the Dunk Contest still mattered, at least a little
bit. The Dominique Wilkins/Michael Jordan battles of the late 80s were
still fresh in everyone’s mind, and though silliness had started to
abound – Cedric Ceballos’s "blindfold" dunk was two years earlier – it
was still exciting to see a Timberwolf, on his home court, bring the house down.
Here’s the video evidence, including a much younger Charles Barkley putting his spin on things:
"That might be the best dunk I’ve ever seen! That was ahw-some." – Charles Barkley
Of course, no Timberwolves will take part in the game this year, but Gerald Green will attempt to win his second consecutive Dunk Contest, and first as a Wolf. Can he pull off a Rider-like performance and crack this list? (And if he does, will anyone care?)