Back in March, I lived my dream of booing Torii Hunter at the Metrodome without being pummeled by the crowd.
Fresh off his seventh consecutive Gold Glove, Hunter rode off to the sunny streets of LA with a five year, $90 million dollar deal.
Little did Hunter know, he would open the 2008 season in the Metrodome...and I was waiting. After Hunter allowed two bloop singles to land in front of him, and struck out in a key at bat in the late innings, the crowd all joined me in the boos.
Like most sports fans, you hate to see former players succeed, such as David Ortiz's two World Championships, or Randy Moss's single season touchdown record. You love to see them squirm, like when Knoblauch was moved to left field in New York after his second base struggles. Another example is watching Moss's disdain when Plaxico Burress beat Ellis Hobbs for the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. But, things are different with one former Minnesota sports hero.
Minnesota is accustomed to having former franchise stars show up in different uniforms. From Chuck Knoblauch and Rod Carew to Daunte Culpepper and Cris Carter, Minnesota is used to seeing their former stars in the opposite dugout, bench, or sideline.
This weekend is no exception. Kevin Garnett, the Timberwolves franchise leader in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, minutes, games, and years of service, is returning to the Target Center to celebrate the Wolves' 20-Year anniversary.
I, like most other Wolves fans, stayed up on that June night, to watch KG capture his first NBA Championship. As Garnett teared up with emotion, I felt my eyes welling up as well. I wasn't crying out of anger or sadness.
I was happy for KG.
Kevin Garnett is no Daunte Culpepper or Torii Hunter. He was so much more. Growing up and watching a player like Garnett mature and blossom will always conjure up memories. I have even swore off purchasing NBA video games post 2007 because Garnett is no longer on the Wolves' roster.
With a team full of young players, headlined by Al Jefferson and Kevin "I'm No Garnett" Love, the Wolves had very low expectations heading into the season.
And they have fulfilled virtually every one of them.
After winning the first game of the year against Sacramento, the Wolves find themselves at 1-8, and at the bottom of the Northwest Division.
The only thing that Wolves fans will have to look forward to for the next few years is the one game a year that KG returns to Minneapolis. Fans were disappointed last year when KG's return left him sidelined with a rib injury, and was unable to play. He was given a standing ovation before the game, which was greeted by a tearful Garnett. Garnett watched the game in the locker room, and the Wolves lost to the Celtics 88-86.
When the Wolves went to Boston, KG was back in full strength, and the Celtics beat the Wolves 87-86. Fans watched a merciful Garnett score only 10 points, but grab 16 rebounds.
I bought my ticket for the Celtics/Wolves game several weeks ago, and am looking forward to it. I haven't been to a Wolves game since 2004, and have vowed to stay away from Target Center until Garnett came back or McHale was gone.
Garnett being back outweighs McHale still being here. Therefore my old Garnett jersey (being dormant for the past two years), along with it's memories, will be there too.