As a courtesy to Alan Horton, radio voice of the Timberwolves, I'm not going to add up the team's winning percentage during his 14 full seasons plus 22 games this year calling games.
Suffice to say, given that the Wolves have only had a winning record and made the playoffs once during that time, there are more losses than wins.
Horton rarely lets that seep into his work. And on the occasion that he does — Ed Malloy! — it feels appropriate. As the singular voice working on Wolves radio broadcasts, Horton is a pro.
He joined Friday's Daily Delivery podcast to revisit his path to Minnesota, his favorite moments, his optimism for this season and, yes, his most memorable moment on the mic.
After a decade calling various sports in various locations, Horton landed the Wolves job in 2007 not long after Kevin Garnett was traded. A lot of lean years followed.
"It makes it more difficult. And there is a balance. You don't want to be so tied to the team that if the team doesn't do well you're down in the dumps and in a funk and you can't get excited about things," Horton said of calling games when a team is losing the vast majority of them. "But if you detach yourself from the team, you lose some of the passion and that connectivity to the team that the fans want you to have. ... Your job is the same no matter what the record is."
That passion was on display during a Wolves loss to Dallas eight years ago. The Wolves trailed by two points in the final seconds when Kevin Love was quite clearly fouled by Shawn Marion. But no call was made, and Horton's shout of official "ED MALLOY" still resonates with fans.
"I will still get tweets occasionally from games where Ed Malloy is the referee and the Timberwolves aren't even involved. ... You have to embrace it. I didn't know that would become viral as a broadcaster. You hope it's, you know, the Al Michaels 'Do you believe in miracles.' ... But I'll take it," Horton said. "What's nice is that everybody I heard back from that listened to that and liked it expressed that I was expressing exactly how they felt. As a broadcaster, that's the best compliment you can get."
That Wolves team finished 40-42, the second-best finish Horton has witnessed outside of the Jimmy Butler playoff season. This year's team, at 11-11 entering Friday's game against the Nets, feels different.
"This franchise has only had one top 10 defense in their history. Just one, and that was all the way back in 2003-04 when they finished sixth," said Horton of the Wolves, who are currently No. 7 in the NBA in defensive rating. "If you don't defend, you're just going to be in these high-scoring shootouts and the Wolves haven't had enough firepower. When you defend in this league, you give yourself a chance to win games. You have to be able to defend at some kind of level."