Munn's Musings | Nov. 5, 2013
Editor’s Note: Vice President of Fan Experience Jeff Munneke is a beloved member of the Timberwolves family, and as an employee of the team since the inaugural 1989-90 season, he has a lot of on and off the court knowledge about the team. That ranges from top halftime acts and coolest players all the way to season ticket eating venues and most memorable games. Each week during the 2013-14, Munn’s going to share that knowledge with us through Top 5 lists in this “Munn’s Musings” blog. Enjoy!
After finding a bunch of newspaper clippings about my Dad's high school basketball career, at the young age of 7, I picked up a basketball and from that day on, never put it down. I would play competitive games of one on one and horse with my Dad and any of the neighborhood kids into the wee hours all the way up through getting a chance to play four years of college basketball. I was obsessed about hoops and that included putting up my favorite photos and posters onto three of my four bedroom walls......saved one wall for my "other sports" like baseball and water skiing.
The work that needed to be done to prep my bedroom after our family moved homes (twice in 20 years) would have kept Bob Villa in business for months trying to navigate how to take off tape, glue, pins and nails holding up all of my favorite basketball players.
One wall was saved for Sports Illustrated covers with basketball photos. Another wall was only for basketball posters and a third wall was my lower tiered combo platter of SI, SPORT, Sporting News, Basketball Digest and Gopher program covers.
There was a theme of my early basketball fascination.........The dunk had just made its way back into basketball in 1975 so even a one handed uncontested dunk was considered cool and you have to remember that there was only three opportunities per week to watch basketball. Saturday college game of the week with Al McGuire, Sunday afternoon NBA broadcast with Brent Musberger and tape delay Friday nights of the NBA. Stories of fancy passes, high flying dunks and rebounds were relegated for the most part to either seeing it in person or seeing a photo in a magazine.
Without further ado here is my favorite five wall coverings:
No. 1: Perhaps still my all time favorite photo came in 1978 from Sports Illustrated with Sidney Moncrief (High on the Hogs) appearing to be suspended in air with the ball tucked back two handed on his numbers. It was the first time I had seen visual proof of anything more than a one handed dunk and I was mesmerized. That picture became the center point of the wall directly in front of the foot of my bed so I could stare at it each night. My goal that day forward was to be able to levitate like Moncrief which began my four year cycle of wearing ankle weights every single day.
No. 2: On the large wall next to my bed became my poster wall which centered on the iconic scorer George "Iceman" Gervin. Anyone who purchased a pair of Nike basketball shoes back in the late 70's would earn you a free Iceman poster which was Ice dressed in a silver velour sweat suit palming two basketballs while sitting cross legged on blocks of ice. Perfect pose for one of the all time "cool" dudes in the NBA. "One thing I could do........was finger roll" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdlLWsKUQu8)
No. 3: Although he did not make the center point of either wall, my favorite player of all time was Doctor J. His picture(s) received the highest volume of photos on my walls including the converse poster (Now signed) All Hail Julius, SI cover shots (What's up Doc -1974), Take that Boston (1982) but the poster to make THE wall was 1975 New Jersey Nets converse poster with huge afro, arm extended straight up like the statue of liberty in the largest mitts in basketball, and right knee cocked coming in to dunk over two Nuggets including Bobby Jones in what appeared to be 2 feet over the rim. I could not soak up enough info in the underground on Doc......Street and Smith, Basketball Digest only fed the legend.
No. 4: I had to make some massive adjustments to my wall once some guy named Jordan made the NBA. While going to college this particular poster was the only one to be transported two separate years to both home and school. The care given while transporting this poster was not unlike the care given to a Van Gogh being shifted to another museum. The Jordan "Wings" poster was not only one of the coolest posters I had seen but it also changed shapes with it being horizontal vs. vertical.
No. 5 (tie): After seeing Magic Johnson live at Williams Arena during the 1977 season I was absolutely transfixed with how he passed the ball. Often time you could hear a ball bouncing back off a wall days and nights near our house with between the leg, behind the back and no look passes trying to imitate the Magic Man. The SI college basketball issue could not make it quick enough in 1978 when a tuxedo-ed Magic was laying the ball in under the headline "Super Sophs."
No. 5 (tie): In 1977 a Louisville team with a young sophomore named Darrell Griffith came to Williams Arena to play the Gophers on a Sunday afternoon. I had been reading about Griffith and his team who were nicknamed the Doctors of Dunk and could not wait to see what was in store along with a Gopher win! One of my favorite days viewing basketball of all time......Gophers win by 1 on national TV and Louisville may have had 10 dunks including a reverse by Darrell Griffith which was unheard of at the time. Of course from that point forward he became a favorite which included the famous Dr Dunkenstien poster.