Part 3 of our 220 part, soon-to-be-award-winning, series: Where are they Now - Terrell Brandon edition.
Why Terrell Brandon? Because we are an all powerful oligarchy and can profile whomever we want (and because John Meyer requested it). Additionally, Tee Bee was part of a long tradition of promising points guards that disappeared from our friendly embrace too soon. Unlike names such as Marbury, Billups, and Cassell, Terrell Brandon never went on to star for another team, or became “Mr Big Shot” in the 2004 finals, or was part of one of the worst trades in NBA history (Marko Jaric still haunts my nightmares). No, Terrell hurt his knee, and quietly went off into the ether that is NBA retirement, ending another short, but exciting, point guard partnership of the KG era.
Terrell Brandon was originally drafted by the Cavaliers in ‘91, traded to the Bucks in ‘97, and completed his midwestern tour with the Timberwolves when he arrived during the lockout shortened ‘98-’99 season. As much as it pains me to write this, his arrival was the result of Marbury fully transitioning to Starbury and forcing his way out of the frozen north. Terrell and a future 1st rounder (Szczerbiak) came in while Starbury left to stand in his own personal spotlight (yes, I’m still bitter). Brandon’s career in Minnesota stretched over four seasons, but the two that really mattered were ‘99-’00 and ‘00-’01.
During the ‘99-’00 season, Brandon averaged 17 ppg, 9 assists, 2 steals, while shooting 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free-throw line. He and Garnett guided the Wolves to their first 50 win season, a third place finish, and a first round playoff matchup against Terrell’s hometown team, the Portland Trailblazers. Terrell loves Portland (much more on that later), but he did everything he could in this series to send the likes of Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis, Damon Stoudamire, and Rasheed Wallace home early so they could resume their weed smoking. He averaged more points than Garnett during those playoffs while shooting 50.8% from the floor. Just marvel at the sticky sweetness of his jump shot:
In the end, however, Terrell and the Wolves couldn’t match their regular season heroics, falling to the Blazers 3-1 overall. Portland would move on to lose to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals while Minnesota planned for another season with their young, somewhat promising core of players. Yes, that includes Wally. What? He was promising for a time...
The summer of 2000 was not a good one. I won’t go into too much detail here, as that’s not the point of this post, but I will briefly say RIP Malik, under-the-table Joe Smith deals are frowned upon, and losing first round draft picks is not an ideal way to build a cash-strapped franchise.
Regardless, the Timberwolves would rebound from those setback to go 47-35. Terrell had another solid year as he mentored a young Chauncey Billups in the ways of the point. KG continued to expand his powers and a creaky kneed Sam Mitchell was, somehow, still on the roster. Things looked somewhat promising heading into the playoffs....
And then the Spurs happened. Those damned Spurs. Another 3-1 series loss. Another first round exit. Another summer of waiting for the Wolves to get over the hump.
The ‘01-’02 season started off well. The Wolves were just about to the All-Star break, sitting with a 32-15 record, when they boarded a plane for San Antonio. February 4th, 2002, those Spurs, those damned Spurs, broke Terrell Brandon’s knee. I don’t know if it was Tim Duncan’s fault, but I’m pretty sure it was Tim Duncan’s fault. It was the last time anyone would see Terrell Brandon on an NBA court. He was placed on injured reserve and eventually traded to Atlanta in 2003 for salary cap purposes.
Although I have fond memories of the TeeBee era in Minnesota, there’s always a twinge of sadness in my recollection. Not only because of the injury, the first round exits, and choosing Brandon over a young Chauncey Billups in ‘02, but because it felt like the franchise was going through some rough teenage years. We were the adorable, plucky child in the mid-90’s that all of a sudden hit puberty and started sprouting pimples and a barely visible mustache just a few years later. Fortunes would change with the arrival of the Big Three in ‘03, but it felt like we had something with Terrell that was lost far too quickly.
Alright, sad times are over. There’s nothing happier than a Terrell Brandon interview. Seriously, it’s been warm fuzzies with every video watched by the Vegter21 research labs. Let’s check in with Terrell and see what he’s been up to since his time within the Target Center.
I’ll take a high-top fade
Terrell eventually moved back to his hometown of Portland, Oregon after he officially announced his retirement in 2004. He began as a star for Grant East High School in northeast Portland and went onto the University of Oregon for college. He has northeast Portland in his blood and decided that this was the perfect location for the Terrell Brandon Barber Shop.
In an interview with Hoops Hype in 2013, Terrell said that the only time that he’s cut hair during his time as owner of the barber shop was at the grand opening. Otherwise he’s, “sweeping hair off the floor, taking out the garbage and answering phones and I love talking to the young people who come in.”
In that same interview he said this about his time with KG:
“It was a beautiful experience. He had just as much fire in practice as in the game and you could see the maturity in him (grow) every day. We used to sit and talk basketball after practice and he was like a kid soaking it all up. He used to ask me about the past and what it was like in the NBA. He was a beautiful person who you appreciated being around. Sam Mitchell and I tried to mentor him and I am so proud of what he has accomplished and he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and I am proud to say I was his teammate.”
The sadness crept in again, just for a moment, as I read that quote. Time for a warm fuzzy interview:
I’ll take some hot Portland beats
Brandon is a business mogul. In addition to his barbershop, he serves as the CEO of Tee Bee Enterprises. The business is involved in multiple ventures in the Portland area, but by far the most entertaining of said ventures is Tee Bee Enterprise Music. I’ve watched the following video far too many times. Not only for the beautiful sounds hitting my ear drums, but also for the yellow on yellow on yellow suit, the cigar smoking, and the sunglasses at night routine that absolutely completes the look. Pinky ring is just a super plus:
If you made it through the entire video, you’ve heard a reference to one of the artists on TeeBee’s label, Maniac Lok. I don’t advise anyone to watch the entirety of the Maniac Lok music video that I’m embedding below. It’s awful. Just absolutely terrible. But the first minute is well worth it if you want to see our boy TeeBee in his finest acting performance to date. Anything beyond that is at your own risk, however, I do want to give credit to Mr. Michael Smith for his preference for an early 1900’s British pipe over a cigar. Props to you, Mr. Michael Smith. Respect.
Big Boi Yak in the water cooler? Solid move. That’s how Big Boi’s live.
I’ll take some community service
Terrell Brandon has been participating in community basketball programs in Portland for years. In addition to his barber shop and his music ventures, he’s been hosting basketball camps well before his playing days subsided. In 1997, while still playing for the Cavs, he was awarded with the NBA Sportsmanship Award for his work with underprivileged youth. He even hosted a camp that included 7th grade future NBA star, Lebron James. Ever heard of him? Without Terrell’s guidance, would we even have a King James? Probably not.
For 20 years, he’s been hosting a free clinic for kids in the Portland area. Since leaving the University of Oregon in 1990, he’s been providing the kids with barbeque and more basketball apparel than they can handle during the annual camp. He doesn’t participate too much any longer, stating:
“I can’t just play around, play in a little game. Basketball is like a drug, man. It stays in you. After I was hurt, I physically couldn’t play. Then, as I started to heal, it got back to where I was maybe two and a half steps slower than I used to be. I started playing tennis, doing yoga. But I can’t play basketball again. There’s no way I could play for fun. After all those years being competitive, playing as my job, I’d be out there like I was in the NBA, and nobody needs that. So I have to stay away. I stick to playing tennis and teaching kids to play.”
Oh, TeeBee, you’re time with the Wolves was short lived, but we’re happy to have you embedded in our history. You provided hope for a brief period of time and allowed us to heal after the rejection of Marbury. You will allows be remembered for the great work you did during your Timerwolves career and the community service in the years afterward. Keep on doing you, Terrell, even if it involves terrible music videos and yellow on yellow on yellow suits.
More to come....
Bonus video: An interview that took place sometime in the mid-90’s. This seriously feels like an SNL sketch. It’s community access television at its finest. No need to watch the entire interview as the awkwardness will overtake you. Fair warning, dear readers. Don’t dive too far into this madness. “William, you say cut next time”!