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“The Decision Part Deux” pales in comparison to the most recent decision in Anthony Tolliver’s life.
This past summer, Tolliver inked a free agent deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and created a video parody of LeBron James’ Decision special on ESPN. His intentions were not malicious, just a comedic attempt at self deprecation. Most of his new teammates would agree that the video represented Tolliver’s personality as a fun-loving and likeable 25-year old on the squad.
The mystery aspect to the video was the voice in the background, who prompted Tolliver to announce his NBA destination for the 2010-11 season. The answer was discovered when timberwolves.com was granted exclusive access to his next big decision.
Tolliver grabbed the team photographer and videographer to stage a photo shoot with his girlfriend, Jessica Svoboda, who was in town from Houston. Jessica was under the assumption that she was going to take professional photos at Loring Park and then at the practice facility with the two posing in Wolves uniforms. All along, Tolliver planned on surprising his future fiancée while documenting the entire event.
While Tolliver changed his wardrobe at the practice facility, Jessica expressed happiness for her boyfriend of five years. She has stood by his side since the two walked the Creighton campus side-by-side. As Jessica recounted the stops in the D-League, fighting for a roster spot in San Antonio and Golden State, she took a deep breath and said, “It’s been a long journey.”
Tolliver slipped on his No. 44 jersey and grabbed a box for Jessica with her own custom uniform inside. Almost simultaneously, Jessica saw the description on the back of the jersey, labeled, “Mrs. Tolliver” and Anthony dropped to one knee for the proposal. A mixture of laughter and tears ensued and the Tolliver’s embraced directly under the basketball hoop where Anthony spends countless hours perfecting his craft.
“I wasn’t nervous until about five minutes before I proposed,” Tolliver stated with an ear-to-ear smile after the emotional moment.
There was absolutely no hesitation in Tolliver's bold move to propose on this day and he has displayed the same type of confidence on the floor for Minnesota this season. In the first three games of the season, Tolliver averaged 8.7 points and 7.7 boards in 24.3 minutes per game. His versatility is sometimes overlooked on a team that features Michael Beasley, Corey Brewer, and rookie Wes Johnson.
"He is a tireless worker, he sacrifices his body, he is a tremendous depth shooter, rebounder, runs the floor well, willing to take charges. He has brought a whole new energy level to that position for us. And, he also adds some depth to our team. He can probably play up to three positions depending on matchups at the 3, 4, and 5 spot," Kurt Rambis said.
Tolliver's contributions do not always find a spot in the box score but his impact was clear on a Wednesday night victory over the Kings. The 6-9 forward effectively cut off driving lanes for Kings point guard Tyreke Evans and forced him to leave the game with six fouls before the end of regulation. In fact, Tolliver registered a +16 on the popular +/- scale in the moral boosting road win for the Wolves.
When Rambis was asked if Tolliver is the perfect guy to bring off the bench and mix with the starters, the head man quickly retorted, "He is a perfect guy to have on your team."
So, Tolliver is off to a quick 2-0 start to the 2010-11 season in decision making. The former D-Leaguer now faces a bright future in Minnesota with a fiancée on his arm to provide continued support and a new home on the Target Center floor.
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