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High-scoring Timberwolves now 7-4

Will this be the year the Timberwolves make a run for a title? Will they return to the playoffs for the first time since Kevin Garnett-Sam Cassell-Latrell Sprewell drove the franchise to the Western Conference Finals? This is year 25 for the Timberwolves to celebrate a quarter of a century of no banners. When I started covering sports in this town back in 1978 the NBA did not exist. After 11 games, the 7-4 Timberwolves are one of the league’s most entertaining teams. They get up and down the floor. Continue Reading →

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The Washington mascot solution is simple: Change the name!

No U.S. professional team since 1963 has established new mascots or nicknames that use racial stereotypes. Yet the Washington pro football team, which played here last week, continues its offensive nickname and logo. Current team owner Dan Snyder, when asked last May, told USA Today that he will “never” change the team nickname. His refusal, as well as virtually ignoring a new resolution by the District of Columbia City Council urging the team to change its name, as well as a U.S. House bill introduced that would amend the 1946 Trademark Act, banning the term and canceling all trademark registrations of the current nickname, is downright disappointing and insulting. We condemn Mr. Snyder’s stubbornness, greediness or both along with his argument against changing a name that originated and maintained for over eight decades, since 1932, “a legacy of racism” by the team’s late founder George Preston Marshall in. Continue Reading →

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Bobby’s back, and he’s not the same guy

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Bobby Jackson this week begins his first season as Minnesota Timberwolves player development coach.  He returns to the area where some of his greatest athletic exploits are well-documented. Jackson starred for two seasons at the University of Minnesota (1995-97), where in his senior year he was named the Big Ten’s top player and helped the Gophers reach the 1997 NCAA national semifinals. From there, the guard became an NBA draft pick and logged a dozen seasons (1997-2009) with six teams, including the Wolves (1998-2000), and was the 2003 NBA Sixth Man during his tenure with Sacramento. “I think I had a decent career at both levels,” says Jackson humbly. After retiring as a player, Jackson first became a scout, then an assistant coach at Sacramento for two seasons. Continue Reading →

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The ins and outs of player trades

 

 

The MSR is happy to introduce a new voice on our sports page, that of Julia Toles. Julia describes herself as “a writer, future producer, and driven young lady who is trying to be the voice of the unheard. I am a firm believer that so much can be learned through stories and listening. My passion for telling stories through the written word is what drives me daily. I hope that you enjoy the ride as I report the truth, delve into the ugly, and stay persistent in honesty!”

 
Introducing a new MSR sports columnist:
 
 

Welcome to the world of “Julia Says.”

 

Have you ever wondered why in the world of sports there is such a thing called trades? Continue Reading →

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Mercury rookie Griner gets help from legends

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

While other reporters asked basketball-related questions during her first Twin Cities visit since 2011, the MSR instead asked 6’-8” Phoenix Mercury rookie center Brittney Griner about her musical tastes. During an earlier media conference call, Griner disclosed that she usually listens to Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” during her pre-game routine. “That’s my favorite song, so that’s what I listen to a lot before games,” she disclosed. “Normally, I start off [with] some Jimi Hendrix, then maybe Trace Adkins, and then I’ll switch over to rap. It just depends on what I’m in the mood for.”

Hendrix’s hit obviously was around nearly three decades before her birth in 1990, so the MSR asked Griner who hipped her to the legendary guitarist. Continue Reading →

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To flop or not worries men more than women players

 

 

“Flopping” has been a part of basketball since the Flintstones. Lately it’s become a hot issue for NBA male players, but in the W there appears to be little concern. This season, 19 NBA players were warned about flopping, which is when a player intentionally falls down while guarding an offensive player to draw a foul. Five of these players were fined $5,000. Seven more got hit during the playoffs. Continue Reading →

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Does it really matter? — Athletes’ sexual orientation none of our business

 

 

Two weeks ago we learned that the WNBA’s top overall pick is gay. Last week we learned that a longtime NBA veteran center is gay. Neither news item bothered me at all. However, what does bother me is what convinced Britney Griner to tell a reporter that she’s out of the closet and why it matters. Ditto for what convinced Jason Collins to exclusively speak about his sexuality to Sports Illustrated. Continue Reading →

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Northside hoops league starts teaching the game young

 

 

 

 

While the NBA and NHL playoffs are well underway, the NABA is winding down its regular season. The North Area Basketball Association (NABA) has been playing Saturday morning games at North High School since late March. The spring league features up to 90 boys and girls in grades K-4, learning how to play the game the right way. “I learned how to shoot a left hand lay-up and how to dribble,” said eight-year-old Elisiah Robinson. However, his mother, Vanessa Petty, says her son is a regular participant because of the socialization skills he’s learning as well. Continue Reading →

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NBA’s D-league finally working

 

 

The NBA Development League, or the D-League as it’s commonly known, started in 2001. There have been some significant changes in the league’s function since then. The D-League for years only served as a last-resort haven for wannebees and used-to-be’s. It wasn’t until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 2011 that allowed NBA clubs to be like Major League Baseball — send down veterans and rookies and make call-ups when needed. Now, players in their first three NBA years can be assigned to the D-League any number of times. Continue Reading →

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Heat set franchise record

 

 

Suddenly there’s no stopping the World Champion Miami Heat. Being around this group after they dismantled the under-manned Minnesota Timberwolves 97-81, it’s apparent their main objective Monday night at Target Center before 18,391 fans was to win and not get trapped in a snowstorm. “We saw the forecast,” said Dwyane Wade, who scored a game-high 32 points and 10 assists. “We heard it might be coming.”

The defending NBA Champions did not play their best game, with 23 turnovers; but with the Timberwolves’ injury issues, having three starters out, the Heat had to be ready for a fight. A frustrated J.J. Barea, who was just one of 11 from the field, finally lost his cool in the fourth quarter. Continue Reading →

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