Today's Media and the Timberwolves

Hello all. First time writer, long time reader.

I've long enjoyed and appreciated the ongoing conversation that this site has had about my beloved Timberwolves, and only tonight have I, along with the help of a few adult beverages, dared enter the fray. My hope is that my arrival might usher in a new era of proper punctuation and spelling, as those might be my only worthwhile contributions, but we'll have to wait and see.

I couldn't help but notice and be amused by the litany of blogs at the bottom of Wolves Updates 7/15 Part 2 that almost uniformly ripped David Kahn for his comments during the Kings summer league game on Wednesday. I've long contended that the combination of Kahn's aloofness and Darko Milicic, well, being Darko Milicic was a perfect target for national media types looking for a punchline, and Kahn certainly hasn't disappointed in providing them with content to scrutinize, much to the dismay of many Timberwolves fans who would rather just be left alone at this point.

The reasons for defending Kahn and condemning the writers who tease him have been covered at length on this site, so I won't go into them, but this national media vs. David Kahn saga seems to be indicative of a larger trend in sports over the last 5-10 years: sports coverage being much more topical and tabloid-esque as opposed to so-called "hard journalism." This is hardly a revelation, but it is interesting to think about how many "sports" stories in this day and age have nothing to do with sports themselves, but simply the athletes and/or management involved in sports. Very intense emotional responses also seem to be par for the course; the Jim Rome's, Jay Mariotti's, and Skip Bayless's of the world are certainly indicative of that. I guess it's more entertaining to hear an impassioned rant about why one party is 100% right and the other is 100% wrong than a civilized discourse laying out each side's pros and cons, and even better if it has to do with someone's personal life.

I apologize if this is old news, or if I come across as old fashioned, but it's interesting to realize that our lowly Minnesota Timberwolves have now entered into this collective new-media shouting match with the arrival of our POBO, David Kahn. We got a big taste of it with McHale, but nothing with the passion or intensity that we've seen with Kahn thus far in his barely 1 year old tenure. The material is all there: Ricky Rubio will never play here, he's trying to assemble a team of point guards, he thinks Darko Milicic is the type of player that inspires thoughts of scripture, etc. There will surely be a few more times this summer where Kahn makes a move or says something that the media will distort in order to fit these schemas, with the fail-safe "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while" or "A broken clock is right twice a day" platitude at the ready in case he makes a move that cannot be reasonably savaged, a la the Beasley trade. It's only a matter of time.

I suppose the point of this diatribe is twofold: first, as tough as it might be, it might be beneficial to step back, try your best to be objective, and appreciate the pure outrage, vitriol, and downright mean spiritedness that many of these writers convey when speaking of Kahn. If I, as a self-labeled "average fan", am any indication, we all would be laughing along with the rest of America when we read about Kahn's exploits if we were anything other than Timberwolves fans. It reminds me of when a friend of mine and I used to produce a Timberwolves/NBA podcast circa 2007; in one of our first recordings, we feigned shock when we reported that Antoine Walker showed up to Heat training camp overweight, only to have the rug swept from under us when he was traded to the Wolves a few weeks later. I guess it's funny when it's anybody other than you or someone/something you care about, but in the end, maybe bad attention is better than no attention at all; at least that's what I tell myself when I read about how a Magic 8 Ball would be more competent than David Kahn.

The second and perhaps more inspiring point is how beneficial a site like Canis Hoopus is in regard to balancing out the aforementioned "journalism" with in-depth, thoughtful articles, statistical analyses, and the best comment section I've ever seen in a blog. It might come across as saccharine or kissing up, but this site gives me hope that for every media outlet that goes for the easy laugh or succumbs to the typical mass view of a team, team official, or player, there will be a blog like this that is willing to go point-for-point in examining and discussing the issue.

I'm guessing Stop-n-Pop, Wyn, and the other regulars on Canis Hoopus don't view the site or what they do in such lofty regard, but kudos regardless for being an example of what good, thorough writing can achieve, and also for being proof that real fans aren't satisfied with one liners and blanket generalizations.

You have all beared witness to my Timberwolves catharsis. Dear diary....

Keep up the good work, and go Wolves.

And oh yeah, Ryan Hollins sucks. I fit in already.

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