Timber-KAT Karl-Anthony Towns is already demonstrating chops as a deft handler of fans.
Chanhassen’s Wendy Spillum and her family dined at The Union on Friday before the Twins game.
“We were leaving and he was with his father,” said Spillum, who then paused. “Well, C.J., I am 99 percent sure it was his dad, because I happened to watch the draft pick and they showed his dad. I’ve seen his dad on TV. We left at the same time. I was with my three kids — Danny, 19, Ben, 18, Alex, 16 — my husband, Dan. When we got down to the lobby of the restaurant, Karl-Anthony was on his phone. I just went up to him and said, ‘Two of my kids played high school basketball, can we get a quick picture?’
“And what struck me as so awesome about him is, whoever he was talking to on the phone, probably another buddy, he said, I’m going to call you right back. He got off the phone. He patiently waited while I got my camera working on my phone and took the picture; shook all of our hands. We wished him luck. He was very thankful. I was impressed that he interrupted a phone call to take the picture with us.”
Me, too. The bigger those athlete egos get, the less they appreciate your interrupting their phone calls to interact. In the case of some semi-slick operators like Derek Jeter, they use “talking” on the phone as an excuse not to interact with fans.
But this was a pleasant encounter for Spillum, who said: “We just happened to go downtown that night to the Twins game to do something before my kids go back to college. Danny is a sophomore at Iowa State. Ben, my middle son, will be a freshman at the University of Minnesota. My youngest child will be at Chanhassen High School and plays basketball. We are a huge, huge college basketball family.”
Asked if either Danny or Ben played college ball, she said, “They’re too short, C.J.; Look at them! Actually, two of them are 6-1 and 6-2, but no, they are going to college just to go to school.”
Because she has children about the same age as KAT, Spillum saw the rookie NBAer as “just a kid” who transformed this family outing into “quite a night.”
Hrbek on jury lineup
With much less fanfare than leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump did in NYC, two-time World Series winner and local Twins hero Kent Hrbek showed up for jury duty this week in Hennepin County.
Harris’ hidden talents
ESPN sportscaster Jay Harris can sing a little.
I ran into him in the lobby of the Hilton, along with fellow ESPNer J.A Adande and Fox Sports 1’s Mike Hill when they were here for the National Association of Black Journalists convention.
As the conversation turned to where they would eat, one of them mentioned going online to book an Uber ride to Seven. I told them that was silly; they were big and strong enough to walk to Seven, and to prove the point I walked them over to David Koch’s restaurant.
We lost Twitter’s @jadande and off we went. I pointed out other places they might dine, such as the Dakota. I wondered aloud if the folks at the News Room were as perplexed as I was by why there were so many more diners outside the Local.
When we got to the section of Nicollet Mall near the IDS building, I told the guys that if they looked inside and up they could see the atrium restaurant table where Mary Tyler Moore dined in the opening theme of her show. Somebody asked if that show was “based” here, and I told him yep and pointed out where the MTM statue would have been, had it not been removed during the mall renovation.
“Who can turn the world on with her smile,” Harris sang. I joined in on Sonny Curtis’ opening theme.
We sounded pretty good.
The next day when I saw Harris, I had a couple of kiddie mikes with me and was ready to record us but he declined to play.
On Twitter Sunday, I asked Harris’ ESPN colleague @jemelehill if she had ever heard Jay sing: “No I haven’t. Can he sing?”
Jay joined my conversation with Jemele with: “#hiddenskillz Haha … some skills should stay hidden :-)”
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.