WASHINGTON – For the second consecutive year, the Timberwolves had two off days in Washington before playing the Wizards, and again they used some of their extra time to make a trip to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
A lot of Wolves players, even those who weren’t on the team last season, had been there before, but the museum is so vast and time-consuming they learn new things upon each return.
It was the second time for Josh Okogie, who was moved by an Emmitt Till exhibit on his first trip last season. This time the interactive exhibits stood out to him.
“They’ll put you in a scenario, help you visualize how things were actually done back then, whether it was sit-ins or how they used to boycott …” Okogie said. “But there’s so many artifacts, so much knowledge and history in that building. You can go six times and learn something new.”
Guard Shabazz Napier said he noticed how an exhibit on the history of slavery was staged on a ramp that kept rising from one floor to another.
“Maybe that ramp signifies that you’re climbing up and you’re keeping going, prospering,” Napier said. “I thought that was cool, whether they meant to do that or not. It made me feel a certain way about it.”
Added Napier: “One of the staff members told me it’s always great to know your history, whether it’s good or bad, and I guess that’s one perspective to look at. No matter how bad or how good your history is, it’s always good to look at it.”
Maryland native Treveon Graham said it was his third time, and he plans to bring back family members for another visit.
“It’s always a surprise to me how long we came as a culture and the world has come from back then to now,” Graham said. “It just shows how much more work we still have to do and where we came from.”
Amid the fallout surrounding suspensions for Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid on Thursday, the Wolves announced a bit of news — that the team had picked up the team option for the third year of Okogie’s contract.
“I’m forever grateful,” Okogie said. “Any time I get a chance to play on the court it’s definitely a blessing. I always thank God and obviously thank the team for giving me another opportunity to be able to play the game I love. I’m just blessed.”
Okogie, the 20th overall pick in the 2018 draft, is off to a solid start this season, averaging nine points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game off the bench.
He has injected his brand of energy into all four of the Wolves’ games and has a net rating of 19.9, the highest on the team.
Okogie is set to make about $2.7 million next season, and the Wolves have a team option for the fourth year of his deal as well, for about $4.1 million. He would become a restricted free agent after that.