Simons Says - April 3, 2014
There. I said it.
So, now you got it. Bombarded by the naysayers and the bandwagon hoppers who want to be the first ones there to “told you so,” I admit it. The Wolves will miss the NBA Playoffs for a tenth consecutive season. Now, do you feel better?
I know I do.
First of all, there are many reasons that the Wolves will fall short this season. I’m glad they continue to play and not fold. I loved watching from two time zones away the energy displayed against Memphis. The roller coaster season has taken a toll on all those involved. In fact, I talk about this very subject at length with D-J Jason Nagel of KTWIN 96.3 FM radio in my SimonsSays WolvesPODcast this week.
Instead of diving into what happened and what didn’t, will Kevin Love stay or go, will coach Rick Adelman return or not, I offer another road for this read.
I write to you from my old home before Minnesota: Seattle. Evergreens as far as you can see, crappy traffic, great coffee, green grass while snow flies at home, the land of the NFL’s Super Bowl Champion Seahawks and a place that use to be the proud land of the SuperSonics.
You see, EVERYTIME business or family brings me back to the Emerald City I think of this. I honestly couldn’t care if the Wolves win one game or the NBA Title (OK, I do…but follow me please). I love being near the game. We are able to enjoy the highs and lows, the LeBron’s and CP3’s, the K-Love triple doubles and hearing my daughter tell me that Ricky Rubio is cuter than her Daddy. I enjoy that from A-to-Z.
Listen, long before Richard Sherman acting like a fool and Ken Griffey, Jr. electrified baseball, Seattle had it all. Former Sonics center and the man in the middle when the Supes won the NBA Title in 1979 over the Washington Bullets Jack Sikma told me, “Those are days I’ll never forget. Seattle was electric because of the Sonics. And that’s why my family made Seattle home. I love the city. I love the people. I’m grateful for what it gave me.”
Sikma is one of Adelman’s closest confidants. A trusted assistant who’s NBA resume cowers to no one. Sikma also understands the NBA rollercoaster and how difficult it is to build a team that’s strong enough to get to the Finals and win it. The Sonics lost to that same Wes Unseld/Elvin Hayes led Bullets in 1978 then came back the next year to win it all.
On the NBA landscape. these days, Seattle is an outsider-looking-in. Most Sonics fans have moved on now cheering for the MSL Soccer Sounders or keeping an eye peeled on the Portland Trail Blazers (and Seattleites will tell you that’s Portland’s team, not ours). These days Multi-Millionaire businessman Chris Hansen is trying to lure another team to town. A team with a fatigued or frazzled fan base as was the case in Sacramento last year when his effort fell short.
Do old Sonics fans cheer for the Oklahoma City Thunder now? I don’t have poll numbers but I would imagine not. Starbucks founder Howard Schultz sold the Sonics to Oklahoma businessman Clay Bennett and in a matter of a few years; they moved and set up shop in Tornado alley. Schultz is loathed by many for his handling of the Sonics. In fact, I only drink Starbucks as a last resort (a guys still gotta’ have his coffee).
I love the highs and lows of the Wolves season. I don’t despair when they win one, lose two and fall back under 500 for the umpteenth time in the season. Yes, I mutter “ughhh” just as anyone would. But the fan in me NEVER forgets the move that peeled the Sonics from Seattle and relocated them to OKC. That’s my salve for anything less than a title.
Just as MLB considered Twins “contraction,” just as North Star fans won’t cheer for Dallas. Is Baltimore the home of the Colts or Ravens?! That’s a generational debate and where do you side? Time and titles have softened the hearts of Minneapolis fans who remember the Lakers decades before the Timberwolves were born. You peel a team from its home and fans never forget.
My home is Minnesota. I loathe long winters and relentless evil cold. But I love this place. I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch NBA basketball and watch all the parts come together. On those nights when it happens, it’s magic. Nights when the Wolves take OKC to the ledge and push ‘em off (particularly fond of that scenario), when Memphis rolls in and the Wolves defend home court. On those nights when they put up over 140 points even against a staggered Lakers team. When Rick Adelman gets his 1000th win. When everyone is cheering wildly because none of us can figure out how Ricky Rubio made that pass for the Corey Brewer slam.
I’ll never forget KG sitting at his locker room stall, sweat dripping off of him like a water faucet telling me “it is what it is. A “W” man. We won. ALL that matters.” My memory bank loves Sam Cassell’s swagger, Fred Hoiberg asking for a copy of my sportscast when we repeated over and over his dunk.
Every year when a season ends and your team doesn’t get in the playoff dance, change happens. That’s a good thing and it’s inevitable. But as I sit in Seattle waiting to roll on my last day of business here, I honestly feel better about the changes coming. Bring ‘em on. And until then, I’ll enjoy the Bulls next Wednesday. I’ll take in every practice I can. The moment will be mine and shared with everyone else.
Because even in the land that is home for the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks, life is lonely in the winter without the Sonics. In their title run against the Bulls in 1996, their slogan was “Not In Our House.” That is, you can win anywhere else but NOT in our house. Well, the house is empty. It’s going to be vacant for some time to come.
And despite the highs and lows of the Wolves season now in the rearview, instead of diving into what happened and what didn’t, will Kevin Love stay or go, will coach Adelman return or not, I just offer you another option. Do what most don’t. Choose to enjoy what you have.
So next time you wanna bellyache about the Wolves or someone offers you a hand off the bandwagon just remember this. It could be a lot worse. You could have no team. #JustaskSeattle.
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