The TrueHoop Network has a new member today: A Wolf Among Wolves, run my Myles Brown and Benjamin Polk.
We have high hopes for this site, which will detail the ins and outs of a team that -- despite a heck of a lot of losing -- has managed to be one of the most fascinating in the NBA over the last few years. They traded Kevin Garnett away to become the lynch pin of the Celtics' team that's still one of the very best in the NBA. They have assembled some nice young players like Al Jefferson, Kevin Love and Corew Brewer, while setting off a firestorm of discussion by drafting Ricky Rubio, who is something like Spain's answer to the Beatles. They are coached by Kurt Rambis, who has been something of a cult hero for decades. And the head of their front office, David Kahn, has been fascinating, eloquent and just a little combative from the start.
There will be much to discuss, and Brown (who has been covering the team for SLAM) and Polk (who writes about the Timberwolves for are City Pages) are well positioned to do it. Before telling you about them, I owe a debt of gratitude to the TrueHoop Network's first Timberwolves blog, Howlin T-Wolf.
Patrick Hodgdon founded Howlin' T-Wolf and has put a ton of time and care into making it a really good Wolves blog, while also contributing to Daily Dime Live and all kinds of other things. There were various things keeping that blog from being all that it could be -- a move to Florida and back, a child on the way -- and Patrick has been more than gracious in embracing the change, writing in an e-mail that he "more than happy to step aside and let some real journalists take over, and see them get a well deserved chance to make it big and chase their dreams in the world of sports journalism." He adds that "the Wolves blogosphere is truly getting stronger with the move and I'm excited to see my favorite team get increased coverage from the new dream team of TrueHoop Network Wolves bloggers." Howlin' T-Wolf will continue, with a new look and some new bloggers in the works. Hodgdon will also tweeting his Wolves and NBA thoughts on Twitter where he's @Howlintwolf.
Myles Brown did not grow up following the Timberwolves. "I spent my childhood," he explains, "in Chicago under the spell of Michael Jordan. Every night I saw something I'd never see again and every June I knew I'd see another trophy. It wasn't until Jerry Krause's proclamation that organizations win championships that I was faced with a harsh reality and a tough decision. Call me a turncoat if you must, but I realized that this is a players' league. My loyalties didn't lie with the organization, but with the man who doubled its value. Once he was gone, so was I. In 1995, I enrolled in a Pennsylvania military academy a stone's throw away from the exploits of Kobe Bryant. Needless to say, June was still good to me. The past three years, I've been covering the Minnesota Timberwolves for SLAM. I got here just in time to see the door slam shut behind another favorite of mine, Kevin Garnett. Only then did I realize just how right Jerry Krause was."
Benjamin Polk, meanwhile, did grow up a Timberwolves' fan, and has prepared a tidy five-point introduction, which I recommend you read:
My name is Benjamin Polk. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home to some of the nation's finest swimming holes, backyards, and rock bands. The weather is miserable at the moment, but its beautiful anyway.
I have a pristine memory of Sam Mitchell scoring the first points in Timberwolves' history, against the Sonics. I think I had just turned twelve. They were free throws.
When I was pretty young, our family dog would flee in terror at any mention of the word "Lakers." My dad, see, was an animated viewer of sports; our poor border collie just couldn't take the tension and intensity of a Lakers-Celtics Finals. I guess that's when I got my first inkling that the NBA was some serious, passionate business. That idea was confirmed by a youth spent closely following one Michael J. Jordan (controversial choice, I know). His combination of grace and psychotic competitiveness must've spoken to some deep, important part of the adolescent me. I sobbed like a baby when he hit that shot over Bryon Russell, partly out of joy, partly, I think, because I realized that we all have to get older.
They say you don't really love something until it makes you so nauseous you have to cry, so heartbroken you have to vomit. I'm pretty sure they say that. Either way, I've followed the Wolves from the very beginning. But I never really loved them until, living far from home, nursing enormous beers in various dank New York City bars, surrounded by wasted lovers of young Kobe and monolithic Shaq, I watched the Wolves' increasingly wrenching playoff adventures of the early 2000's. There was no pain quite like watching the aristocratic KG get humbled over and over and over. I sure do miss it now, though. Cavs fans, I suffer with you.
And now, for the past three years, I've been covering the those (sort of) same Wolves for our City Pages, a free weekly in the Village Voice family. It was a hard job, not just because it has involved (hopefully) close, thoughtful examination of routinely disheartening basketball. It's also forced me to attempt to reconcile the version of me that loves to think and write about dark movie theaters, floating down rivers, the noises made by guitars with the version who threatens to fight the TV during the stressful parts of the playoffs. Helping smart people love basketball; trying to understand and appreciate the complex beauty and the weird politics of this game; getting to the bottom of a confusing, seriously star-crossed franchise; I'm hoping that this new thing will be a step in all these directions.
We'll be reading and it should be fun.