Minnesota Timberwolves

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Twins outdo Wolves as Whitest pro team in Minnesota

 

Unless things change, the Minnesota Twins won’t have a single African American player on its opening day roster for the 2013 season. In the span of a week — no pun intended — the team unloaded its last two Black players, outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere, to National League teams. Soon after last season ended, longtime first-base coach Jerry White was let go as well. Up to this point, no one has openly criticized the moves until now: the Twins’ “hot stove” moves left Bernard Walters, MSR’s go-to fan expert, with a cold feeling. “When I looked at the records of these pitchers, only one has a winning record,” he noted after analyzing both the trades. The only result we can be sure of is a Hall and Oates moment for Span (2002) and Revere (2007): They’re gone. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Timberwolves: The ‘Whitest team in the NBA’ has an even Whiter front office

 
Director of basketball operations counts coaching staff as front-office staff to claim diversity 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The National Basketball Association for years has been graded as “the most racially diverse group of players of the major professional sports” by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). Seventy-two percent of its players are Blacks and 82 percent of its players are people of color. This racial diversity has not yet found its way into the local NBA team, however, as a Star Tribune article recently pointed out with respect to the players, without even mentioning the club’s all-White front office. According to the 2011-12 “NBA Racial and Gender Report Card” by TIDES Director Dr. Richard Lapchick, 13 percent of team presidents/CEOs, 23 percent of GMs, 10 percent of vice presidents, 13 percent of senior administrators, 14 percent of professional administrators, five percent of team physicians and 21 percent of head trainers are Black. However in contrast, the Minnesota Timberwolves has no Blacks in any of the aforementioned positions: Since Billy McKinney, its first-ever player personnel director (1988-1990), the team has not had a person of color in a key front-office position in 22 years, and only three Blacks total in decision-making roles in the franchise’s entire 24 years. Continue Reading →

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Wolves Coach Respert explains player development

A group of former NBA players recently debated on NBA TV on which city has the best hoops. Kenny Smith says it’s his native New York City, but Chris Webber argued for his hometown, Detroit. Last month this columnist and Shawn Respert, a former Detroit Bishop Borgess High School star in the late 1980s, talked about being at the “Big House,” Cobo Hall and “Celiciaville” — sacred places in the Motor City like the Big Apple’s Madison Square Garden and Rucker Park. Winning a city or league title in the “D” was equally important and oftentimes just as prestigious as any pro championship. It earned more than bragging

rights; rather, it was a fitfully earned badge of pride that would last a lifetime. Continue Reading →

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Out-coached Lynx settle for runners-up

 

To win one championship is magical, but it takes more to repeat. I watched Houston win four consecutive WNBA Finals, still a league record, and interviewed each of their Big Three: Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, as well as their Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor. Borrowing from former U.S. Senator and once vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, I must say, “Minnesota, you’re no Houston.”

That was a dynasty. Winning two in three years by Los Angeles, and later the same for the Detroit-now-Tulsa Shock, are certifiable dynasties. But for those who foolishly compared the Lynx to the now-defunct Comets, winning one title only makes you a faux-dynasty. Continue Reading →

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WNBA partnership offers internships, mentoring for Black youth

 
But will the Lynx join this national diversity effort?  

 

The WNBA recently has joined forces with 100 Black Men of America to create more mentoring opportunities for Blacks. 100 Black Men was founded in New York City in 1963 and then became a national organization with nine chapters in 1986. Today there are 116 chapters in the United States, England and the Caribbean with members who include corporate executives, physicians, attorneys, entrepreneurs, educators and men from numerous other professions. Two key components of the WNBA-100 Black Men partnership is a Dads and Daughters program and for two members of the Collegiate 100, an auxiliary organization to 100 Black Men, to be considered for a summer internship at the league’s New York headquarters. Continue Reading →

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Rappin’ with Wolves rookie Ricky Rubio

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The MSR recently got a few one-on-one moments with Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard Ricky Rubio. Considering how the local and out-of-town media have virtually fallen to their knees, anointing him as the NBA’s Justin Bieber, it was very surprising that we were able to ask him a few questions without the usual horde around. At first impression, what Wolves Coach Rick Adelman calls “outside hype” seems not to be affecting Rubio at the moment. “He’s a great kid and wants to learn how to play,” says the coach. “But sometimes he tries to thread that pass — in our league, teams will take that away. Continue Reading →

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Belated recognition of Augustus surprised no one here

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Seimone Augustus last week became the first Black female and the third Black athlete to be named the Minneapolis daily newspaper’s annual sportsperson of the year since the recognition began in 1998. The paper’s selection of the Minnesota Lynx superstar simply cosigned what the MSR consistently said all throughout the team’s championship season — Augustus’ shoulders carried them. More importantly, the award hopefully finally quells any lingering doubts on her status as a franchise player. Those of us who have followed her not only in Minnesota but also during her four-year All-American career at LSU fully knew this fact. Augustus has rightfully has earned first-name status in this town along with other transcendent Black superstars: Kirby (Puckett), Kevin (Garnett) and Torii (Hunter). Continue Reading →

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View’s top stories, overused words of 2011

 

The Associated Press (AP) last week released its list of 2011’s top 10 sports stories. “Another View” has our own top 10, or what should have been the top local sports stories of this year:

The Minnesota Lynx: The only local major league team to participate in their respective league post-season. However, the Lynx went one step further — they won the WNBA championship in October, and the MSR proudly provided more coverage from preseason to All-Star Game, where a record four Lynx players were selected to finals, than any local publication. Faith Johnson: The longtime successful head coach this past spring became the first Black female high school basketball coach to win state girls’ titles at two different Minneapolis schools (North and DeLaSalle). Sandy Stephens: The first Black quarterback to lead a Division I school to a national championship as well as the last quarterback to lead Minnesota to a Rose Bowl victory finally got recognized in November by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Continue Reading →

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The lockout is over — and the robber barons win again

 

 

The NBA’s new 10-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is now in place. Among its key provisions is a near-even split of the oft-mentioned and hotly contested Basketball Related Income (BRI). The owners got a 10 percent raise from the last CBA, up from 43 percent to now between 49-51 percent. Meanwhile the players, who once got 57 percent, saw their BRI cut reduced at least seven percent. The players will still make money, but the rich owners will still get richer. Continue Reading →

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