Coverage of Thursday night’s NBA doubleheader on TNT will have a decidedly Minnesota flavor to it this week.
Timberwolves legend Kevin Garnett has his “Area 21” feature, and this Thursday he will welcome a panel of WNBA greats — including Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen as well as Sue Bird and Cynthia Cooper.
I had a chance to chat with Whalen on Wednesday morning — not long after she got back from a much-needed vacation in Hawaii and not long before she was slated to fly to Atlanta to get prepared for Thursday’s TV appearance with KG.
“This came up because last year Candace Parker was on (with Garnett). And I was like, ‘That’s cool. They won one title. We have three.’ So I was letting them have their time,” Whalen said, referring to the Los Angeles Sparks and Parker, one of the stars who helped lead them to a five-game win over the Lynx in the 2016 WNBA Finals. “And then when we won this year, I saw something from Area 21 and I was waiting on that invite. They reached out and said they’d love to have me on. It should be cool. I’ve seen the show a couple times. I know there’s a mute button for the swearing and whatnot. It’s pretty interactive and more laid-back. It’s not some business casual TV appearance. I’m pretty excited about it.”
The doubleheader starts at 7 p.m. with a dynamite game between the Warriors and Spurs and continues with Lakers/Blazers at 9:30 p.m. The segments for Area 21 generally appear throughout the course of the night’s coverage.
Whalen, who grew up in Hutchinson, Minn., and starred at the U during Garnett’s prime with the Wolves, said she idolized KG growing up and then got to know him better during his second stint with the Wolves a couple years ago.
“He’d be lifting or working out, and we got to know each other better then. We’d talk a lot about the game. You can tell he loves talking about the game of basketball, including team aspects and leadership qualities,” Whalen said. “He always wanted to know about the culture on the Lynx because we had three championships at the time. I felt like he was enamored with how we were able to do that for that long of a stretch. He always wanted to talk about how the Lynx did things and told me how impressed he was with the team.”