Mark Madsen, the 6-9 basketball-playing version of Nick Punto with all of his hustle, scrap and grit (not to mention tail-battling and want-to), carved out a nice little NBA career out of those aforementioned traits, including several seasons with your beloved Timberwolves.
And now? Madsen is the best guy on the court, grabbing rebounds away from unsuspecting Ph.D. students at Stanford. Per the Wall Street Journal, as sent to us by reader William R.:
Yesol Huh walked into a gym here for an intramural-basketball game last year, eager to help her team notch its first victory.
Then she spotted the opposing center. He was 6-foot-9 and warmed up by violently dunking the ball in the Stanford University court. "We're never winning this game," Ms. Huh recalls thinking.
Her prediction was a slam-dunk: The center was Mark Madsen, a former player in the National Basketball Association. Mr. Madsen "had such good rebounding instincts, we eventually gave up and let him have every one," says Travis Johnson, one of Ms. Huh's teammates. Their side lost by 30 points.
Mr. Madsen is one of several former-top-tier athletes aiming to extend their careers by joining recreational and beer leagues, sometimes spoiling the fun for the shorter, slower or clumsier folks they play against.
Mr. Madsen, enrolled at Stanford's business school, had joined classmates for the game against Ms. Huh's squad, which was made up of Ph.D. students who called their team Full Frontal Nerdity.
Few on the Nerdity team had even played basketball before. Ms. Huh, a 5-foot-4 finance student, says she scored only one "goal" in two years. Mr. Madsen played nine years in the NBA, winning two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Maybe some day, Madsen's team will play Donovan McNabb's rec league basketball team in a winner-take-all championship.