Column: Dear Santa—A Wolves Edition

Column: Dear Santa—A Wolves Edition

Dear Santa,

It’s been a great year here at Target Center and all across the NBA. We’re fortunate to be able to watch elite basketball every single night, whether it’s the way Kevin Love is redefining the power forward position with his range and his rebounding, the sensational style of the Thunders’ Kevin Durant, the floor general approach of the Clippers’ Chris Paul or the overall athleticism of the Heat’s LeBron James. On any given evening, we as basketball fans know there is the opportunity to see something special.

I’m very thankful to work with the Wolves and Lynx as the organization’s web editor. I get to sit inside the arena and go behind the scenes on a regular basis with the intent of showing you the ins and outs of NBA life on and off the court. With so many games, activities and events year-round, there are a lot of moments that stand out over the past year. So I though the best way to relive and remember the best of 2013 is to send you a my Christmas list highlighting those top memories. I’m not sure if you’ve got everything on hand at the North Pole or not, but it’s worth a shot—right?

So here we go, Santa. This is my wish list this holiday season. We do not have a Chimney at Staples Center, but I figure you might be able to use the players’ entrance to get in the door. My cube is the one with Brewer’s Blend coffee maker.

  • Ricky Rubio Figurine: One of my favorite moments of the year came at the NBA Draft Lottery in New York. Kevin Love, who missed most of the 2012-13 campaign due to injuries, represented the Wolves at the Lottery and got a little face time on ESPN. At the time, he was almost ready to resume full basketball activities coming off a minor knee procedure in April, and he was itching to get back to his normal basketball routine after what had been essentially a lost year. So he shows up in New York with new President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders and brings a special good luck charm with him. In his hand was a Ricky Rubio figurine. Given the Wolves were in the No. 9 spot in the Lottery, Love thought Rubio (No. 9) was the right lucky charm to bring. Not only was it a funny moment, it was great to see Love nearly healthy and ready to turn the page to the 2013-14 season.

  • Pooh Richardson Rookie Card: Right now at Target Center, we’re celebrating the Wolves’ 25th season. Nearly three decades after the Lakers left for Los Angeles, the NBA returned to Minnesota in 1989 and began a new era in the Twin Cities. With the 10th pick in the 1989 NBA Draft, the Wolves selected guard Pooh Richardson with their first ever pick. They played that first season at the Metrodome before moving into Target Center in 1990. Fans that have followed the team since Day 1 still enjoy thinking back to those early memories—whether it’s the old logo/jerseys from the inaugural year, playing under the Teflon roof at the Dome or some of the players like Richardson, Tony Campbell and Ty Corbin who were part of those early years. One of the great joys about milestone anniversaries is getting to look back and reminisce through videos, photos and stories. And since the Draft really is the kickoff for each season, selecting Pooh Richardson kicked off the inaugural campaign.

  • Maya Moore Shooting Tips: One of my favorite memories from 2013 will be watching the Lynx win the WNBA championship. They were by far the best team in the WNBA this season, and it showed as they swept their way through the playoffs en route to their second title in three years. Now the Lynx are the definition of a true team, because everyone keeps one another accountable and raises the level of intensity in practice, and with four All-Stars in the starting lineup it’s hard to find weaknesses in the scouting report. But when it comes to strengths, Maya Moore took another step in her development this year and became a catalyst to this team’s success. She narrowly missed out on becoming league MVP, but she finished with 18.5 points per game, 6.7 boards and 3.0 assists. Her shot is so fluid, and her release is unbelievable quick. Maybe you have an instructional shooting video of hers that you could send my way?...

  • Framed Ticket: April 5 vs. Detroit: There are only eight coaches in NBA history who have 1,000 career wins. Rick Adelman joined that list in early April when the Wolves beat the Pistons at Target Center. When I think back to that night, I feel honored to be in the audience seeing history made. Witnessing a coach’s 1,000th win has only happened eight times in history, so those in attendance saw a rare feat first hand. Gregg Popovich (926) should be the next to reach the milestone next year, but after that who knows when it will happen next? The next closest active coaches are Doc Rivers (606) and Rick Carlisle (535). These milestones rarely happen, and to witness one is incredibly lucky. But it’s more than just the night itself for me. We at conducted interviews of players and coaches, both past and present, for months leading up to that win. We got to hear stories about Adelman from a who’s who of NBA personalities, including legendary coaches like Jack Ramsay and Pat Riley. It truly was a special moment celebrated by the NBA community.

  • Timberwolves Winter Coat: This one isn’t for me. The Kevin Love Coat Drive just wrapped up its sixth year, and this season was bigger and better than ever. Love’s initiative, which he began as a rookie in 2008, brought in a record 4,500-plus coats through the Salvation Army and Hope for the City in November and December. Those donated tickets went toward keeping kids in need warm this winter. It’s a great cause, and it continues to get bigger. The first year, the Coat Drive brought in 400 coats. This year’s total was a new record. Over the past six years, the Kevin Love Coat Drive has donated an estimated 11,000 coats for kids. This gift would go toward that number.

    Side note here. Kevin Love also did the Polar Bear Plunge at Riley Lake Park in Eden Prairie in March. He did it to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. That event, along with the annual Holiday Shopping For Kids day where the Wolves take deserving kids awaiting adoption on a $500 shopping spree at Target, were two other incredibly memorable days in the community this year.

  • Rubio and Shved’s All-Star Kicks: Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved both represented the Wolves at All-Star Weekend in Houston last February as both participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. It was a memorable night for both guys. The duo helped Team Chuck win 163-135 thanks to 10 assists by Rubio and 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from Shved. It was Shved’s athleticism that headlined the weekend for Minnesota. He impressed not only with his 3-point shooting (he had two in the game) but also his reverse alley-oop jam and a couple other flashy finishes at the rim. To top it off, Rubio’s green and Shved’s blue sneakers were fantastic. Flashy shoes are typical at All-Star Weekend, and Minnesota’s representatives made sure they were part of that crowd. Sweet kicks, guys.

    It was 3 ½ weeks later at Target Center, by the way, that Rubio notched his first career triple-double, a 21-point, 13-rebound and 12-assist effort in a 107-83 victory over the Spurs.

  • There are so many more memorable moments from 2013, including that victory over the Lakers at Staples Center that snapped a 22-game skid, Love’s 42 points against the Spurs, the offseason moves that brought Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer to town and locked up Nikola Pekovic long-term, the international play (and subsequent postponement against San Antonio in Mexico City) and more.

    I could go on and on.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my letter, Santa. Hopefully you’ll be able to swing by and leave a present or two at 600 First Avenue North. I’ll leave some milk and cookies on the desk. There’s no doubt we got to see some great basketball in 2013 all across the NBA. I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds and what I might be asking for next year.

    Your friend,

    Mark Remme

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at