Nutrient's Welp

I'm a little emotionally spent on this whole KG situation. At this point, I have rationalized that it seems like the lesser of many evils for him to wind up in Boston and for the Timberwolves to finally have a watchable team again. The whole thing was just getting too tense and exhausting. We were speaking in coded languages and muffled tones. I've put on a smile in knowing that at very least, all the kind people within a 50 mile radius Target Center can exhale. Let's get back to basics.

See, I was around in the Pooh Richardson days. The Christian Laettner years and the JR Rider era. Back when Doug West was Mr. Timberwolf. Sam Mitchell was Yoda. Those days weren't as dark as they told you about. We had fan favorites like Mike "The Big Brown Bear" Brown. James "Hollywood" Robinson. Myron Brown. Weird proto-Euros like Gundars Vetra, Stojko Vrankovic, and Shane Heal. The novelty of having an actual NBA team in our downtown area never really wore off. And then came KG, and everything changed. The standards got raised too quickly. Stephon Marbury. Joe Smith. Malik Sealy. Sam Cassell's hip. Flip Saunders squandering everything (which is my own trademarked theory that you can read about in practically every post I've ever put on this blog). And now here we are, the most potentially FD team of the new millenium, save for those pesky 2006 Bobcats and Hawks.

I didn't come to talk about the Timberwolves, however. I'm past the point of caring. The only real benefit that I can discern from the KG trade is a crucial step on the path first braved by Gilbert Arenas, and aided by Baron Davis' bullet Fedora. A watershed moment for the League Of Stars onward march. That is: The recognition of pure CELEBRITY on smaller market/non-contending teams. Finally, KG is in the spotlight where he belongs. As much as Denver has diminished AI's profile, the Celtics have boosted KG's X 1000. For this, I can shed a little love on Boston. There are secret stars, roaming the NBA that the average fan never hears about. Throughout the past two years, Gilbert's quirks have opened the door to a virtual Narnia of small-market blazing gold NBA personalities. The world must know the name of these men: the Rashard Lewis's, the Chris Boshes, the Joe Johnsons. These are people of substance. They have important friends and awesome cars. Kevin Garnett is a POWERFUL HUMAN BEING and the world should know him for his George Gervin cool as much as for his Sabonis-meets-Bill-Russell ballskills.

[Photos found via the KFAN.com message board]

And KG isn't even the illest dude in the league, personality-wise. I had to laugh when Simba wrote:

At a post-ESPYS party earlier this month, the sight of KG gliding through the Mondrian's pool bar at 2 a.m. caused even the drunkest people there to do a double-take. Along with Shaq, he's one of the two NBA stars who literally stops any room. I actually remember watching him walk by and thinking, "Wow, we've never had somebody that cool on the Celtics."

Now clearly LeBron, Kobe, or AI hold more star power in terms of "making a room stop." I felt that Simmons was being homerish in giving KG THAT much dap. But that is the entire effect I'm talking about. KG is that dude, and people on ESPN are saying so. Again, a large step for the League of Stars crusade.

So, thank you, Boston for this moment. Let the world gaze upon KG's swag. And let them see the swag of Paul Pierce as well as Ray Allen. This league is bursting with life that has been stowed and shackled behind too much repetitive TNT/ESPN programming. Wade, LeBron, and Melo bore me to tears compared to what we saw from Stephen Jackson last playoffs. Caron Butler could teach the world to sing, yet we are forced to stare at the routine dismantling of foes by the Spurs and Mavericks. And even a Nash-to-Stoudemire ally-oop is mute when compared to so many of these words:

"I'm happy to know that I'm going to be in Minnesota for the rest of my life. That's a good thing. At the end of the day, I'm a Timberwolf. I bleed blue and green. I'm a loyal person, I don't like to change a lot of things. I like things to be simple."

"I'm going to be here until they don't want me anymore. ... I'm 'Sota, man. This is where I live, 365 days -- or in leap year, 366 days -- of the year. I'm here. Life is tough. You can't run from everything."

"I'm Minnesota. The Target Center ... that's the Garnett Center!"

These quotes need to be heard just as much as 'Sheed's guarantees, Shaq's proverbs, and Arenas' quips. The Association is greater than the Association. These individuals are Bird, and Magic, and Michael, and Isiah, and Hakeem reimagined. KG may still never see another second round playoff series in his life, but at least he will have continued to blaze that trail to allow other stars of the future in crappy situations and in cold small towns get known by NBA enthusiasts all over the globe.


At 8/07/2007 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

me likey

At 8/07/2007 2:06 AM, Blogger T. said...

I was having a similar line of discussion over lunch whether small market stars could ever really be stars. I was arguing yes they could (my line was - if Yi is good enough, people will find him) - but now that I think about it - aside from LeBron, is it really true? Do people (and by here i mean the general population, not the core NBA fans) know about Melo or Chris Paul? Did they know about Alex English or Detlef Schrempf or Alvin Robertson?

I think I'm now wrong. Media markets matter. Dammit.

At 8/07/2007 4:19 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Does Houston (or Orland, for that matter) qualify as small-market? Because T-Mac's certainly a star.

Vince Carter became a star in Toronto. Or does dunking transcend market-size?

At 8/07/2007 4:46 AM, Blogger T. said...

Is he? I think - by my way of thinking vis-a-vis this argument I was trying to define star as "known outside the NBA fan circle" - so that's a limited number of players - Kobe, Shaq, LeBron, Yao . . . maybe Vince, D. Wade, and Steve Nash? As much of a TMac fan as I am - I don't think he quite fits there.

Granted this probably isn't the most parsimonious definition of star - I think the better way to define it would be "cross-over" star. But I'm easily convinced either way and not tied to any particular viewpoint.

At 8/07/2007 8:42 AM, Anonymous torgo said...

T.- I think, you might have helped me stumble on a theory for the cross-over star. After reading this post, and your comment, I asked my girlfriend (Japanese, doesn't care for the NBA, but suffers through me watching/wanting to share transcendant moments) for the names of NBA stars that she knows. The list, as follows (and it shows some definite skews towards the players marketed by the League overseas) in the order she said them:
Jason Williams
Yo Mei (Japanese pronunciation of Yao Ming)
Shaquille O'neal
Tony Parker (but thought of Ray first)
Tim Duncan
Lebron James
Tsuitskovy, that Russian who's good friends with Steve Nash
Lebron James
Jason Kidd

I think we should all give this a try with people we know who don't follow the league. Could be an interesting survey.

At 8/07/2007 9:25 AM, Anonymous Sweat of Ewing said...

I've never asked her outright, but the active players my girlfriend definitely knows, and would know by sight, are:

Lebron (maybe)
Yao Ming (hard to mistake)

Then there are names she knows but wouldn't be able to recognize the player:


Aside from Yao Ming (height) and Lebron (omnipresent), the common thread is that these are all guys that have been around the block. Dirk was drafted in what, 1998? And I think he was the latest on this list. So I think that to the non-fan, the only players recognized are the megastars who have been in the league for a good long time -- there are so many players billed as stars that I think they need to reach a certain level of media saturation to get that kind of attention.

That said, there's a difference between a non-fan and a casual fan. I have plenty of friends who could recognize Vince, Garnett, McGrady, Baron Davis, etc. without following the league closely.

At 8/07/2007 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kg finally getting traded feels like seeing one of your boys get out of a dead-end relationship with a well-meaning but insecure and borderline illeterate girlfriend who did not stimulate his intellectual sensibilities but knew how to take advantage of his hubris (loyalty, stubborn stick-with-itness) and watch him end up with the fatty from high school who holds down a solid job, has informed opinions about politics, and stairmastered her way to respectability.

in other words: kg gets love for being kg, no matter where he plays.

At 8/07/2007 10:39 AM, Anonymous Chone said...

T, Orlando's definitely small-market...Houston, if it is, well I have no idea what small-market and large market mean then. Boston's just bigger because people actually give a fuck about things other than football? Also, I have friend who rocked a Celtics hat and couldn't name 4 players ALL TIME for the team. And he's from the area.

At 8/07/2007 10:39 AM, Blogger goathair said...

My mom's name for Allen Iverson is Iver Anderson. That's what she's called him since I bought his Gtown jersey in 8th grade.

My girl knows probably half the league, but she's a basketball coach so I guess that's not fair.

At 8/07/2007 11:43 AM, Blogger T. said...

Chone - Houston's a weird case. 4th largest city in the US, excellent amoung of corporate support in the area, but also it's a mediocre TV market (although the Rockets have an excellent deal). and the Rockets have two Championships, two other Finals appearances, and a long linage of hall of fame and all star centers (moses, hakeem, ralph, yao).

Despite all that, I don't really think of Houston as a HISTORICAL NBA team - I think Lakers, New York, Boston, Chicago, Philly.

I'm not really sold on this argument I'm putting forth, but just typing what comes to mind.

At 8/07/2007 11:58 AM, Blogger goathair said...

T. - I'd agree that those 5 are historical NBA teams. After that, I'd think the next level would be teams like Phoenix, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit but there's a HUGE dropoff from that first level to the next.

Also, my mom's list of NBA players she knows of:
Michael Jordan
Scotty Pippen

At 8/07/2007 12:06 PM, Anonymous ....endtroducing said...

My girlfriend's Taiwanese and does not give two shits about basketball at any level, so the list of players she might recognize all-time goes about like this:

1) Michael Jordan
2) Shaq (maybe)
3) Yao Ming (still iffy, but they market him like crazy in Taiwan too)

Coming from the basketball wasteland that is western NC, I'd say that at least 70% of the population here would be unable to identify even 3 NBA players, all-time. And that's why I love NBA TV and the internet.

At 8/07/2007 12:16 PM, Blogger goathair said...


My mom's official list of current NBA players she knows:
-Steve Nash
-Tim Duncan
-Kevin Garnett
-LeBron James
-Kobe Bryant
-Carmello (sic) Anthony
-Anferne (sic) Hardaway and his baby bro I'm guessing this means Lil' Penny
-Duane (sic) Wade
-Iver Anderson (sic) Allen Iverson
-Dirk Nowitski
-Gilbert Arenas

My mom is FD??!!

At 8/07/2007 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Ray Allen was hard to see regularly from the East coast too.

Arenas is mentioned , the Arenas shot making project more deserves note ( from his blog). It seems like somekind of Eastern , perpetual work of manual labor, Great Wall construction , Pyramid building, or even convict hard labor, one stone at a time.

Commentators talking about what NBA players your friends can name, give those friends their notice, so they can get on with their lives, preseason cablecasts begin in 90 days.

At 8/07/2007 1:48 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

"Iver Anderson" is hilarious.

At 8/07/2007 2:32 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

jason williams is the most famous nba player in japan? white chocolate? is that because of this commercial?


At 8/07/2007 2:39 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Houston (and now Phoenix) may not be "historical" NBA cities, but they are the one of the largest cities (Houston) and the fastest growing city (Phoenix) out there - they don't qualify as small market, either.

My GF can probably definitely identify Marbury the best, but that's because I write about him way too much on my site.

As for seeing KG's swag in a big market - heck, yes. That's what I've been saying about Z-Bo. At long last NBA fans will finally get to see Zach Randolph's swag in prime time! Watch out now....

At 8/07/2007 4:45 PM, Anonymous Klaus said...

why "welp" in the title?

first-ever FD homage to UW center Christian Welp, the man-who-would-be-Uwe-Blab?

from Uwe to Dirk, you've come a long way, mein herr....

At 8/07/2007 5:00 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Wow. First because of "Iver Anderson", which is just brilliant. You really should get your mom an "Anderson" Nuggets jersey.

And second because Klaus really knows his stuff. Welp and Blab, the lesser-known guys who paved the way for Dirk. Maybe one square-foot each.

At 8/07/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Glad to get the Houston-as-small-market comment smacked down. I was just throwing out names, but it felt weird.

From people's responses, it seems like the players people not close to the league know are ones who've either won a lot (Shaq, Kobe, Duncan) or have a little extra something that makes them marketable (Yao, LBJ). If that's what it takes to get to that level, does KG have much of a chance? And even if he does, how many of the non-fans really know a lot about these players? Have they ever really known anyone in that way other than Jordan? Maybe I'm misinterpreting, but DLIC's point seems to be that KG needs to "get known by NBA enthusiasts all over the globe."

Anyway, it's an interesting exercise, but I don't think the crossover star is the issue here. Any progress there will just lead to more people knowing his name. It's about KG getting more press for his intensity, not just his stat line. It's about casual fans being able to discuss his real game, even if they do so stupidly.

At 8/07/2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found on TrueHoop today, holy fucking Bassy Telfair riding a dragon!


Lots of other funny photoshops there as well.

At 8/07/2007 8:15 PM, Anonymous aksen said...

i never thought i'd see the day when shane heal is mentioned on here...

At 8/07/2007 8:49 PM, Anonymous torgo said...

Brown Recluse, thanks for damaging my soul with that commercial. Gah. Actually, back when the NBA thought Japan was worth marketing to, they used to send teams here every year for preseason games. At least one year Sacramento was here, and my gf saw them play (something like $130 for nosebleed seats). Oddly enough, my friends gf here, she loves Mike Bibby. Maybe it's something to do with Sacramento's point guards.

A follow up, my girlfriend was able, after a while, to remember the name of the guy who used to play with Jason Williams. "Webber? Webber? Webber. Lloyd Webber?"

At 8/07/2007 8:59 PM, Blogger personalmathgenius said...

I miss that vintage of White Chocolate. The rape of his style's the most annoying proof of 'right way' basketball ever. Numbers and team success don't lie, he's better boring. God, that's depressing.

wv: lewhet- Kareem's old 'no homo' vanity plates

At 8/07/2007 11:08 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

I believe we need a full post devoted to the new Chinese-NBA Stars Photoshops.

Someone start and translate the conversation between Billups and the original artist.

At 8/08/2007 11:01 AM, Blogger JBJ said...

Good post. Sorry this is two days late, but I wanted to comment about the experience of being a Charlotte Hornets fan in the early years. They were severely lacking in talent (Kelly Tripucka and Kurt Rambis were mainstays for a time) but they played hard and were truly lovable underdogs. The quintessential Hornet to my mind was Muggsy Bogues, who got the absolute max from his 5'3".

Along came Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, and for a moment it looked like the Hornets would be world beaters. It was disspiriting when that team fell apart and the character changed from over-achieving to under-.

I hope the T'Wolves avoid the decline and eventual departure that the Hornets had. Garnett was enough of an honorable warrior that the bond between the team and the fans should be intact. In the Hornets' case, with LJ it just sucked that he signed a record-breaking monster contract and immediately became a diminished player due to his back problems. And Mourning kind of weaseled his way out of town. (And then there was the owner being a rapist yet still trying to blackmail the city for a new arena.)

At 8/08/2007 12:19 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

the hornets would still be in charlotte were it not for george shinn being an asshole and refusing to pay for an area or pay his stars. i don't think the t-wolves have either of those problems.

At 8/08/2007 12:55 PM, Blogger BW said...

From this morning's drive with the girlfriend (in order):

Dwyane Wade
Steve Nash
Tony Parker
Baron Davis
Stephen Jackson
Tim Duncan
The Pistons starting five (and McDyess)
Ben Wallace
Jarrett Jack
Joe Johnson

Wonderful, no?

At 8/08/2007 3:12 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

BW: Jarrett Jack??? Huh?

At 8/08/2007 4:22 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Co-sign with recluse on the Shinn situation. Basketball in Charlotte died the day he refused to pay Alonzo Mourning. He basically got Glen Rice for Mourning. Rice was good, but Alonzo was dominating on both sides of the floor at that time. He was also a fan favorite. That move totally took the wind out of that organization and the fan support they had at the time.

P.S. I still remember being pissed at the Mourning situation because I had just picked up a Zo Charlotte Jersey in the Summer of 95. You owe me $50 George Shinn...

At 8/08/2007 4:56 PM, Blogger goathair said...

But you can't overlook the dramatic effect that the Charlotte Hornets had on mid-90s fashion. Those teal Starter jackets were HOTT. Just ask my sister (who rocked a Kukoc 7 jersey for her 7th birthday).

At 8/08/2007 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Commentator BW" should propose.

At 8/08/2007 5:08 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

i just took a brief trip to france, switzerland, and italy, and for some reason the nba team i saw the most of over there (in terms of gear) was the charlotte hornets.

At 8/08/2007 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An aside--I'm getting pretty tired with the Boston/NY bias of ESPN. I know that's been mentioned before in various media outlets, but obviously Simmons and Gammons-are or will-become drooling toddlers over Garnett and Epstein. Not that Garnett to Boston isn't huge, but their abilities to judge these situations clearly is becoming clouded.

At 8/08/2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scot Pollard? I mean really.

You coulda got DJ MBenga for NOTHING. Yeah, he blew his ACL last year, but you still coulda got 5pts, 5rebs, and a block in 20 minutes. Scot Pollard can't even go 20 minutes without embarrassing himself (on court or off).

At 8/08/2007 9:19 PM, Blogger BW said...

Ty Keenan: She grew up near Atlanta... I think that explains both Joe Johnson and Jarrett Jack (in Yellow Jacket form). Stephen Jackson was my favorite, though.

Darkofan: No arguments here. Although I did omit the unfortunate (but haphazardly brilliant) "Darko Milosevic." And I think she was just having fun when she called Yao Ming "Young Chow."

At 8/08/2007 10:04 PM, Anonymous torgo said...

bw, wow, the whole pistons team? Between the Bulls and the Pistons (my teams) my girlfriend couldn't name a single player. You should definitely look into rings. As for mine... wow. It seemed so right.

At 8/09/2007 3:19 AM, Blogger T. said...

JBJ - I picked up the Hornets as my 3rd team for the while - even had a teal hat. Mainly because I loved Kurt (as a big 80s Lakers fan) - but I thought the real peak of those Hornets teams wasn't 'Zo putting in that game winner in game 5, but instead, their utter dominance on NBA Jam. 'Zo blocking every shot, LJ scoring both inside and out - it got so unfair we forbade people from playing the Hornets on NBA Jam.

Also? Anthony Peeler and Elden Campball is probably a nadir for Lakers star power.

At 8/09/2007 4:36 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

At the risk of turning this into an NBA Jam open thread...

My friends and I got NBA Jam on an X-Box emulator two years ago and played it nonstop for about a year. We mostly played Tournament Edition because there were subs, but some observations:

Olajuwon was the best player in the game by far. That was mostly the case because we found that the best strategy was goaltending until you made enough baskets to get on fire. Then, once the goaltend got turned off, you could just block everything and hit threes. I generally didn't play by this rule because I respected the purity of NBA Jam, but my friends did and goddamn the thing worked. Horry is also surprisingly good. (When I was a kid and had regular NBA Jam, the Maxwell/Olajuwon team was my favorite, too.)

The Spurs are probably the best team, though, because the Rodman/Admiral combo had max power and pushed everyone over. They also had blocks easy.

Hornets were probably third best for the reasons you mention, T.

At 8/09/2007 1:55 PM, Blogger Nate said...

What about the Kemp/GP/Detlef combo? I don't really think anyone could mess with that squad on NBA Jam. At least the version that was out for Super Nintendo in 95.

At 8/09/2007 4:13 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Nate: I somehow forgot about them. Excellent team.

The craziest thing in this version was that Calbert Cheaney was one of the best players. He did everything well. One of the developers must have been an Indiana fan.

At 8/09/2007 5:32 PM, Blogger Nate said...

It seems like developers always have their favorites. Try Dan Marjale on any of the EA Sports basketball games for Genesis. Dude was unstoppable.

Also try Keith Van Horn on the First few live games for Sony Playstation. Dude was freaking unbelievable. I'd always pick the Nets on those games just for the fun off dropping 40 in a 5 min quarter game with KVH...

At 8/09/2007 5:35 PM, Blogger Nate said...


At 8/09/2007 5:55 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Speaking of that 94 Sonics team...how come there isn't a full you tube tribute to that team. The highlights from that squad were just ridiculous. Payton, Kemp, Schrempf and my boy Kendall Gill. Gill was just so smooth in his younger years...


He definitely should have replaced Dominique Wilkins as the NBA's premier Pro-Line/S-Curl endorser

At 8/10/2007 1:29 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I imagine the playoff upset has made anyone who would usually make that video not want to revisit the season.

One last word on that team and NBA Jam: my roommate's favorite player is Detlef Schrempf, and he's never seen him play.

At 4/13/2009 4:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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