Welcome to the refreshed Canis Hoopus! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Kids growing up in Iowa have an interesting time choosing which professional sports teams to follow. We're a state away from teams in Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Milwaukee, and have no teams of our own to follow. The closest thing my hometown, Cedar Rapids, has to pro sports is our single-A minor league baseball team, which has been affiliated with several big-league teams.
And basketball? Sure, I had a hoop in my yard growing up, but I never played for a team, and learning how to dribble on grass and dirt doesn't really do much for your handles on the hardwood. I remember watching Jordan's last title (I was 8), and then random memories from playoffs many years following. All this is to say, I didn't exactly grow up a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves. I could probably have told you who Kevin Garnett was as a high-school kid, and Fred Hoiberg was always the Iowa State-grad hero. But beyond that? Nothing.
I followed players, and often players that looked like me. I loved Manu Ginobili and Steve Nash, and cheered for them when their teams were good. The time I was told that I looked like Manu after I (for once) made a three at summer camp was a remarkably proud moment in my development. I couldn't really call myself a Suns fan or a Spurs fan, though. I watched the games when they were on, sometimes.
Then I hit college and discovered ESPN's now long-defunct Daily Dime Live chats, which took me through many a night of sitting in my dorm room ignoring my studying to watch whatever mediocre game was the Wednesday night ESPN game of the week. I learned more about the game through those chats than pretty much anywhere else, and learned about the wide world of basketball bloggers that existed in 2009 and onwards. In those same chats, I started to hear stories and see highlights of this prodigy point guard from Spain, drafted fifth overall in the 2009 NBA draft by those Minnesota Timberwolves.
I could not get enough of Ricky Rubio's highlights. His vision, his passing, his incredible intelligence on the court were and are a joy to see. I stuck to the Timberwolves like glue as soon as he came over in 2011, and then started to learn exactly what I'd gotten myself into. The downsides are obvious: the Wolves haven't made the playoffs since 2004. You don't need me telling you that. There's been mismanagement, injuries, knuckle pushups, bad coaching, everything you can dream of to chase you away from the basketball team.
Something just stuck with me about the Wolves, even through all that. Ricky making someone look foolish once or twice a night made the losses less miserable. The beauty of a Kevin Love outlet pass or a ridiculous 20/20 night kept it going. Then came Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. Then Karl-Anthony Towns. Still so much losing, but now so much hope.
I've been blessed to learn more and more about the history that I missed the more time I've spent around other Wolves fans, and blessed even more to dig into the present and future that the team has to offer. I somehow went from just tweeting a lot at home in St. Louis with my League Pass subscription in 2012 to covering seven regular-season games this season as a credentialed member of the media for this website, which is still almost beyond belief for me.
I'm a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves because I fell in love with the beauty and hope of possibility, and stayed in love with the people, players, fans, and community around this team and these Twin Cities. I'm just thankful I get to be a part of this community, watching this team win and lose day in and day out over this season and many to come. Here's to the rebrand bringing a new season of hope and possibility, and next year becoming a year of potential realized.