Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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RandBall: What was the driving force behind the new T-shirt?
Muggsy Bogues: We wanted to have a little fun with it. The company is No Mas, and they’re good at putting throwback shirts out with a lot of celebrities. It was something I always wanted to do, and talking to the guys at No Mas, it made sense. We came up with a concept. I love the design, and it’s all about having fun and my belief in what my career was all about. We’re just trying to reach out to Muggsy Bogues fans – or non-fans.
RB: Do you still hear from people -- vertically challenged or not -- that you are an inspiration?
RB: OK, last thing. You would have no way of knowing this, but the first car I ever bought, Muggsy, was named after you. It was a little blue 1980 Datsun, and I bought it in 1995. The guy wanted $450, but I talked him down to $425.
MB: (Laughs) I’ve had people tell me they named their car, dog, cat ... I’ve had quite a few things named after me. I’m truly honored.
Details are, well, a little vague. Here's the entire release:
Earlier today, President Obama called Cheryl Reeve, head coach of the Minnesota Lynx, to congratulate her and her team on winning the 2011 WNBA Finals. The President told Coach Reeve that he is very proud of the way the Lynx played this season and of all the hard work that lead [sic] to the team’s first WNBA title this year. The President said he looks forward to congratulating the team in person at the White House.
It's easy to get cynical about professional athletes. It's even easy to dismiss the myriad pitches we get from teams about players doing good in the community as nothing more than an attempt to raise their PR profile (we honestly believe this is not the case with tons of athletes and teams; we're just saying it unfortunately happens). Sometimes, though, a neat little story comes along and warms even the iciest of hearts. This one, which we first caught wind of last week courtesy of Jon Marthaler -- commenter, weekend linker and friend of RandBall -- has stuck with us. For many of the details, we turn to Tim Marthaler -- counselor at Ortonville High School and, yes, Jon's dad. Tim's words came courtesy of the Lynx (and with permission from him for us to use), after Tim contacted them to share his story. The Lynx PR folks were not aware of it until folks from Ortonville filled them in. Before confirming it, though, one Lynx staffer said it sounds like something Taj McWilliams-Franklin -- whose 41st birthday is today -- would do. Here is the story of what happened last week from Tim Marthaler:
Students and teachers in our school had the rare privilege of meeting and hearing from a lady who needs no introduction to you - Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Needless to say, it was the highlight of the day in our K-12 building.
Again, athletes visit schools all the time. But for a player to make a surprise visit to Ortonville -- more than 150 miles west of Minneapolis -- is awfully cool. We grew up in Grand Forks, which often felt even smaller than the population of 50,000 or so at the time would suggest. If someone of any stature pays attention to you in a small town, it makes you feel a little bigger and a little special. Sounds like Taj delivered that, and an Ortonville crowd will never forget it.
Each week Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
We here at the Weekend Links love our less-covered sports teams, so congratulations must go out to the Minnesota Lynx for dominating en route to their first WNBA Championship. It's an awesome thing for an area that's been starved of any good news on the sports pages lately, and it's the first local title since Gopher hockey in 2003 and the first pro title since the now-defunct Thunder won the now-defunct A-League in 1999. [Proprietor note: Fans of Saints baseball and their 2004 Northern League title are shaking their heads]. We'll take any opportunity to celebrate.
*On with the links:
*We start off with soccer, as ESPN's Leander Schaerlackens looks at the growth of fan groups in MLS. Soccer has for years tried to sell itself as a family game - Junior plays soccer, so let's get Mom and Sis and go to a game! - but is finally, at the MLS level, realizing that the fan that's going to drive these franchises is young, urban, and (mostly) male. Soccer is a game that, let's be honest, has some slow stretches, and what these clubs are figuring out is that they need something to drive the atmosphere. Nobody comes back if the sounds are of Mom and Dad sitting on their hands, or (worse) of Thunderstix and screaming and those horns that used to be de rigueur. That's what you get when you go for families. This kind of thing from the (Portland) Timbers Army is really what you need.
*This is as good of a time as any to remind you that if you're young, urban, and male (or otherwise), head up to Blaine tonight and make some noise for the Stars in the playoffs. As Rand mentioned in his Q&A with CEO Djorn Buchholz, the game's at 7:30, but you really want to be there at 5:00, when Surly Brewing will be handing out free beer at the tailgate. You'll be hanging out with the Dark Clouds, the Stars fan group. They are really good guys (mostly guys), and they're the ones who provide the atmosphere at the National Sports Center, and while it's nothing like the thousands-strong Timbers Army, you cannot begin to imagine how quiet it'd be without them. This will sound stupid, but I can't imagine who'd want to go to a Stars game if they weren't there.
*We move next to the Twins, as Parker Hageman says what the team really needs is guys who'll hit line drives to center at Target Field. You might scoff at this, but it's the simplest way to explain the drop-off of Danny Valencia, who made the change to pull the ball more and ended up hitting 65 points lower as a result. Also in Twins news, John Bonnes has another look at the Twins' likely payroll next year, with the note - there's really no reason it should need to go down next year. That'll give the Twins some money to spend, which could help.
*And finally: I don't have a lot of experience with rugby. I've seen a handful of games now, and I've heard much of the legends of how much rugby players like to party, and I had a professor in grad school who played rugby and who liked to tell stories of how much Pacific Island players like to fight. I don't know much, but I'll say this - this story, in which Deadspin's rugby correspondents have to rescue a sozzled American girl from an Wellington drunk tank despite being credentialed media, seems like it's pretty much par for the course for all rugby stories.
That's enough for this week. I need to go get the air conditioner turned back on. Seriously, it cannot possibly be this warm outside.
Average attendance for the Timberwolves last season was 15,242. Attendance for Game 1 of the WNBA finals between the Lynx and Atlanta was 15,258 -- a figure surely helped by the 2,000 upper level tickets purchased by Wolves boss David Kahn and new head coach Rick Adelman. Those tickets were split evenly between fans calling in and charities. For Game 2 on Wednesday, the duo is buying another 2,000 tickets. This time, they are all going to charities. Can Kahn and Adelman help the Lynx once again outdraw the Wolves?
“Rick and I are thrilled that so many fans were able to take advantage of these tickets and make it out to the game last night," Kahn said in the press release. "The crowd was fantastic and we're hopeful that even more great Minnesota basketball fans will have a chance to come out to Target Center on Wednesday and recreate that atmosphere.”
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