The Minneapolis Lakers played their last game in St. Louis on March 26, 1960, with Elgin Baylor scoring 33 points in a 97-86 loss to the Hawks. It was Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in an eight-team NBA.
There was no three-point shot in the NBA until the fall of 1979. Elgin got his points with a head shake and a drive, or by elevating above defenders for an 18-foot jumper.
The Timberwolves played their first game in Seattle on Nov. 3, 1989, with Tyrone Corbin scoring 20 points in a 106-94 loss to the SuperSonics. The Wolves and Orlando Magic arrived that season as NBA franchises Nos. 26 and 27.
The Wolves went 1-for-4 on three-pointers, with Scott Roth making the one. Dale Ellis, a downtown shooter, went 4-for-6 on threes, and Seattle tried eight total.
The American Basketball League introduced the three in 1961, but that league folded in the middle of its second season. The ABA brought it back in the fall of 1967.
George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers great, was the first ABA commissioner. “We call it the home run,” Mikan said of the three.
On Thursday night, the Timberwolves upchucked past the grotesque Sacramento Kings 105-104 in two overtimes. The Wolves were 10-for-46 on threes; the Kings were 9-for-39.
Yes, the home run has been cheapened in Major League Baseball with the Titleist baseball, but that’s nothing compared to what has been done with basketball’s version of the home run.
In the 1980s, I would drive to Milwaukee a couple of times per winter to pick up columns and get my NBA fix.
Now, three-point madness has ruined the NBA for me. Wolves-Kings was the final, rim-bending night of nauseam. Serious column desperation might win out occasionally, but I can’t stand what has become of Elgin’s game.
A pox on the NBA’s house as we enter the 2020s. I loved basketball where the goal was made shots, not endless throws in the general direction.
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Minnesota athlete of decade: Maya Moore, in a landslide. The LeBron James of women’s basketball, lifted the Lynx to four WNBA titles.
Minnesota coach of decade: Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, edging Minnesota Duluth hockey coach Scott Sandelin and Minnesota State Mankato football coach Todd Hoffner.
Minnesota venues, top five for decade: 1. Redone Minneapolis Armory (boxing shrine); 2 (tie). CHS Field, Allianz Field and Target Field; 5. U.S. Bank Stadium (overbuilt, overpriced).