Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Slowly coming to terms with the trade

For the last 3 seasons, the length of my basketball fandom thus far, I’ve missed only a handful of Wolves games at the Target Center. For each game, I always make sure I’m in the arena for my favorite part of the night: the player intros.

At forward, 6’11, from Farragut Academy High School


Hearing the PA announcer call KG's name provides a rush of emotion that’s almost incomparable. I've been to many rock shows and, with the exception of Prince, nothing comes close. From that moment until the point where the player finishes his pregame ritual by walking across the court to pound his chest, the team’s sub par record is forgotten. It becomes too easy to imagine a team with immense potential if only because the Big Ticket is on the court. It’s only after tip-off that you remember that your favorite team is mediocre at best.

Draft picks are great. Yes, salary cap flexibility is always a good time. I understand that rebuilding is a solid option after having squandered the talents of a league superstar who could opt out after this season. I’m also aware that I’m in the minority of Wolves fans (based on messageboards, blogs, mainstream media, and conversations with friends and acquaintances) who couldn’t stomach the idea of shipping out the team’s franchise player. Still, knowing that the team will probably never again have a player who inspires the feelings that Garnett does makes this trade seem very bitter and not at all sweet. The fact that not only the Celtics faithful, but also basketball fans everywhere are celebrating what they view as the liberation of Kevin Garnett offers no consolation.

The question that has been asked lately among team supporters is whether one is a Wolves fan or a Garnett fan. Having attended and at least somwhat enjoyed games at the tail end of the last two seasons in which KG sat out due to "injury,” I can safely say I fall into both categories. Still, while yesterday I was pricing plane tickets to go to Boston for the Celtics home opener, today I'm unsure of when I'll finally be able to watch Garnett play in a green jersey with a big, fat #5 on his back. As twisted as it sounds, it's similar to the aftermath of a breakup: it's a roller coaster ride and though you may wish the other well, right now you don't want to see your ex flourish with a new partner.

Unfortunately, I'll have to come to terms with these issues before the regular season even begins as the Wolves and Celtics will face each other in a sold out exhibition game in London during the preseason.

In the meantime, I have no choice but to, as owner Glen Taylor said, watch a team "embarking on a journey that will be measured in years, not months." The youth movement begins...