A few Saturday notes.
The Lynx are at home tonight to take on the Dallas Wings as they look to continue their unbeaten start and move to 7-0. At this early point in the WNBA schedule, three teams have separated themselves: The Lynx and Sparks are both 6-0 while the Atlanta Dream are 6-1. No other team is above .500.
For the Wolves, draft prep continues.
Big boss Tom Thibodeau represented the #Twolves today in Chicago at Priority Sports Pro Day. Saw Baldwin, D. Jackson, Ellis, Bolomboy, etc.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 4, 2016
They also continue to work out likely undrafted free agents at Mayo Cliniic Square.
Current rumor has it that Kris Dunn, the point guard out of Providence, is trying to work his way to the Wolves, and will not give information to the Phoenix Suns who hold the 4th pick. Dunn's advisers apparently see Minnesota as a better landing spot, and presumably think he can usurp Ricky Rubio's spot as starting point guard easier than he can with Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe on hand in Phoenix.
Whether the Wolves have reciprocal interest remains unknown, at least by me.
One other Wolves note: Bill Simmons returned to column writing in his new website The Ringer yesterday, with a piece ruminating on Kevin Durant's free agent decision. In wondering whether Durant would be better off going to the Eastern Conference, he wrote this:
For the rest of this decade, any superstar has a better chance of making the Finals in the East. The West has Golden State, San Antonio, OKC (for now), the star-crossed Clippers, the savvy Blazers and the precocious T-Wolves lurking like Arya Stark.
Simmons is a bit of a caricature at this point, but that's a pretty good line.
The U.S. Men's Soccer team was fairly abject in their Copa America opener last night, losing to Colombia. It was a disappointing performance in which, despite Colombia happily ceding possession, the U.S. was unable to generate much in the final third, continue to play players out of position, and were particularly sloppy passing the ball. Colombia is a much better team of course, but it was another uninspired display by the U.S., and generates all the same questions about Jurgen Klinsman's tactics and player selection, as well as player development overall in the U.S.
Finally, we should note the passing of Muhammad Ali. I have nothing profound to add to what is already being written and talked about, but I will say this: His refusal to stay quiet on issues of racial justice, on the travesty of the Vietnam War, and the pervasive social inequality in the United States will of course be his most lasting legacy, but unfortunately, despite so many athletes revering him, few have followed in his footsteps.
My earliest memory of Ali was surrounding the third Ali-Frazier fight, the Thrilla in Manila. Not the fight itself, I have no memory or whether I was allowed to watch it (I was six), but the build up. Ali was past his prime by then (1975) but still knew how to promote a fight, and I have this image in my head of he and Frazier on a stage and Ali just dominating the whole room.
The only Ali fight I remember clearly was the catastrophe against Larry Holmes, a fight that should never have happened. Ali was already suffering health problems, and it's likely that he was showing early symptoms of the Parkinson's Disease that he would live with for the rest of his life. What I remember about that fight was the profound sadness everyone felt watching it. Even Larry Holmes seemed distressed--it was pretty clear he didn't want to be there either.
Most of us are too young to remember the fights, but we know the history and the legacy. But it was his brilliance in the ring that allowed him to become the global icon he was, so I'll leave this here to end things: