I want to start this post with a little backstory. For as long as I can remember basketball has been my favourite sport. I was fortunate enough to attend my first NBA game when I was in Grade 11. The senior men's high school team that I was apart of was playing in a tournament in Florida. As part of the trip we all went to an Orlando Magic game when they were playing the New Jersey Nets. This was when Tracy McGrady was still in his prime with the Magic and the Nets had the likes of Stephon Marbury, Kenyon Martin, and Keith Van Horn. Unfortunately the Magic lost that game 120-110, but I was excited beyond words!
Then for Christmas in 2005, Christine got me an amazing present; tickets to see the Minnesota Timberwolves and my favourite player Kevin Garnett! Excited doesn't even come close to describing how I felt about this.
|Me getting the tickets on Christmas morning|
We would be driving down to Minneapolis from Regina over Spring Break in early 2006. Minneapolis is about 1,200km southeast of Regina and the drive was far from uneventful. After a lengthy border crossing (apparently the two of us looked quite suspicious) we hit terrible winter weather. I believe at one point we counted upwards of twenty cars in the ditch over a very short section of highway. Luckily we rolled into Minnesota in one piece and checked into our hotel desperately needing sleep. Minneapolis is located in the state of Minnesota. Joined with the nearby state capital of Saint-Paul they're known together as the Twin Cities. Minneapolis has a population of approximately 390,000 people, but when combined with Saint-Paul and their surrounding metro area that number rises to about 3.4 million.
After some shopping at the Mall of America and a few outlet malls it was game time! The Denver Nuggets were in town and with Carmelo Anthony leading the way it was shaping up to be a great game. Outside of Garnett, the Timberwolves didn't have much to work with. Their most notable players were Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak. The Nuggets, however, had a little more talent on their roster. Other than Anthony, they had Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, Nenê, and Kenyon Martin (what are the odds of seeing Martin play in two separate games on two different teams?). We got to the Target Center early so we could watch warm-ups.
|The scoreboard inside the Target Center|
|Carmelo Anthony going through his pre-game routine|
|Anthony getting his shots up before the game|
|Earl Boykins, a seven-year veteran at this point, is only 5'5" and 135lbs.|
|Rashad McCants, in his rookie season, going through his pre-game routine with a trainer|
|It was lunchbox day at the stadium, so the first 'x' number of people that arrived received a tin T-Wolves lunchbox. This is McCants signing my lunch box before going back to the locker room.|
|KG in the lay-up line|
|Pre-game warm-ups and stretches|
|Introduction. The entire stadium went dark and then we heard wolves howling followed by a night vision video on the big screen. One of the coolest introductions I've seen at any sporting event!|
|That was followed by the starting five introductions|
|American national anthem|
|Game time! Garnett jump-shot|
|KG free throw|
|Timberwolves Dancers at half-time|
|The game was tied at the end of regulation. Looks like we're going into overtime.|
|Ricky Davis about to shoot a three-pointer. Unfortunately the T-Wolves lost 102-101 in OT.|
Chris and I also went to the Underwater Adventures Aquarium in the Mall of America. It was pretty neat to see all of those different sea creatures up close. We even got to touch a few of them.
|Chris standing in the jaw of a shark!|
|This might actually be a sunken ship for kids!|
|Christine petting a ray in the aquarium's touch pool|