Starting with tonight's game against Denver at Target Center, the Timberwolves will begin providing closed captioning for fans who are hearing imparied.
Perhaps nobody on the Wolves understands how important that is more than Zach LaVine. LaVine took American Sign Language (ASL) as a second language for two years in high school. Shortly after coming to play with the Timberwolves, he built a relationship with the Metro Deaf School in St. Paul, making it the focus of his community service.
He has made appearances at the school. In April the school opened a new kitchen area built with a $10,000 donation LaVine made that came from his winning the NBA Slam Dunk contest. A large group from the school will be hosted by the Timberwolves tonight. The students will be recognized during the game with a video from LaVine.
“I think this is great,” LaVine said about the closed captioning. “It brings a different group of people that came come see the game and enjoy it. To be able to see it, but now actually understand what’s going on and read what’s going on. It’s going to be cool.’’
The new scoreboard at the arena has technology that makes it possible. Among the things that will be included in the captioning? Things said by the public address announcer, the videos and announcements made during time outs and anything that the in-game hosts have to say.
Here are some other items from today’s morning shoot:
--Having lived in Chicago so long, Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau has a pretty good idea what the Cubs’ World Series win means there. “They city’s probably going crazy today,” Thibodeau said. “But it’s great. Cub fans are unbelievable. Good, bad indifferent, they pack that place. It’s an event. It’s great for the city. Chicago is a great sports town. It’s great to see all the things they’ve gone through, and how they’ve persevered. And it’s a team that was built through their farm system, so they have some lean years before those guys got called up. But they’re young, and they’re good. So they could be good for a long time.’’
--For the second straight game Thibodeau will go with a starting lineup that has four players aged 22 or younger, with Kris Dunn – starting in place of the injured Ricky Rubio – joining Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and LaVine in that group. “They’re very athletic,” Thibodeau said. “They have young legs and pure hearts. If we do the right things, I think we will grow and we will get better.’’
--You can bet Wolves assistant Ed Pinckney was involved in the advance scout of today’s game with Denver. Pinckney, who was an assistant with Thibodeau in Chicago, spent last season on the Nuggets’ staff, not joining the Wolves until the team opened training camp. “We had some pretty good information from both he and Dice,” Thibodeau said, referring to Daisuke Yoshimoto, the team’s special assistant to the president of basketball operations. Yoshimoto was the Nuggets’ video coordinator last season. “But that’s sort of the way the league works. Coaches tend to move around. So it’s good.’’