The season is approaching quickly, and the faces that have been made familiar in Wolves past have left us. Kevin Garnett has been gone for a year. Ricky Rubio is gone. Zach LaVine, though not a fixture, developed a relationship with the Twin Cities in his three years here. He’s gone. It’s a new era with new faces.
In comes Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and, of course, Tom Thibodeau. It’s not the names Wolves fans have gotten used to, but it as a whole might lead to more wins. Playoffs, perhaps?
We’ll see soon enough, but we at A Wolf Among Wolves decided we needed another voice to help dissect and analyze this fun new cast of characters. While the name we are introducing is a new one to the site, it is not a new one for those that are historians of NBA blogs. If you’ve read FreeDarko, odds are good you’ve read Dr. Lawyer IndianChief before. We’re insanely excited to have him aboard, and will let him introduce himself.
You have the floor, Chief.
Hello all. Thank you for having me. My name is Dr. Lawyer IndianChief and I will be serving as a special correspondent for A Wolf Amongst Wolves. It feels like a homecoming, as Timberwolves basketball, for me, has quite simply been an obsession since 1989. I was privileged enough to be taken to my first Timberwolves game on November 22 of that year, where I saw Tony Campbell, Pooh Richardson, and the boys take on Michael Adams, Alex English and the Denver Nuggets. Crunch, the Wolves mascot, wore 99.5 for radio station, WLOL. It might have been those beautiful rainbow skyline Nuggets jerseys, but that night I became an NBA fan for life.
In 1991, I received the greatest blessing of my life, as I began working for the team as a ball-boy. For timescale reference, Jim Petersen, Trent Tucker, and Kevin McHale were all still playing in the league. It was a golden era of the NBA even as the Wolves floundered, and I was just happy to rub shoulders with Doug West, Scott Brooks, and Felton Spencer.
I also kept a diary of the games my first year on the job. As you can see, my sports journalism career began at age 11. Crazy insights.
I worked for the Wolves until just after Kevin Garnett’s rookie year. Eventually, I burnt out and took a hiatus on Wolves basketball (and sports more generally) during the Joe Smith era. Stumbling around the internet, I bumped into Bethlehem Shoals in the comments section of Chauncey Billups dot Chris Ryan dot com and Shoals let me co-found FreeDarko with him and the boys in 2004.
It was at FreeDarko that we developed the concept of “liberated fandom,” the idea that one should root for NBA players based on watchability and aesthetics rather than any geographical allegiance to a particular team. This core tenet of the FreeDarko ideology, while essential, was difficult for me to abide by completely. Although it is truly liberating for a Minnesotan to feel they need not suffer through, say, a Marcus Banks-led Timberwolves team, and can simply select another game on League Pass or follow a bunch of other interesting players to the playoffs and beyond, I remained committed to the Wolves even against my will. The Justin Reeds and Marko Jarics, early stage Nikola Pekovic, and late stage Brad Miller were too intriguing too turn away from. I suppose I am now being rewarded with the arrival of Jimmy Butler, and the presumption of competence.
So, what I hope to bring to AWAW is a bit of historical perspective that comprises a combination of jadedness, patience, and modest expectations. I am also a bit of a skeptic towards many of the narratives that have surrounded the team over the years so hopefully I can provide a bit of Counterintuition without sounding like a jackass. Most of all, I will bring the love because I love this team. I love Andrew Wiggins, I love Taj Gibson, and I love Jim Pete, Britt Robson, and Tom Thibodeau. Let’s get it.