Note: This article is a solid three-weeks out of date. I could chalk it up to a busy schedule, but mostly, it took so long because it was so difficult to write. Nothing I wrote down just seemed to compare with the actual magnitude of the moment. This is my best effort at trying to put into words what that fateful night in June meant to me. It’s probably not my best piece, but it’s from the heart.
I was twelve years old when Kevin Garnett put on that Minnesota
Timberwolves cap on draft night. Over half my life later, my favorite
player finally won an NBA Championship. To an outsider, that may not
seem like such a phenomenal event. Championships are won in sports
multiple times a year, and the story of a long-suffering player or fan
base finally getting a taste of glory is certainly nothing new. But to
dismiss what happened on June 17th, 2008 as something common-place or
meaningless would be an incredible mistake. To those of us
Timberwolves fans who stared wide-eyed at the television screen as a
lanky teenager stumbled across the stage and shook David Stern’s hand,
that night meant everything.
As sports fans, we spend an inordinate amount of time and money
discussing the team, attending games, buying merchandise, and obsessing
over every single move our front office makes. Somewhere along the way,
most of us convince ourselves that we matter as much to the team as the
team does to us. We trick ourselves into thinking that our favorite
players will be as delighted to meet us as we are when we encounter
them. The fact that we do this to ourselves is not surprising at all.
After all the investment we make into a team, it’s psychologically
devastating when we actually stop and realize the people we’re adoring
don’t even know we exist. Instead, we just block those thoughts from
our mind and continue our charade.