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The Alpha Wolf: Derek’s Photos from Kevin Garnett’s Basketball Camp 1996

Having returned from vacation, and only a few days late on our Kevin Garnett Day from last Wednesday (Oops…), I still wanted to give my contribution to the series.

I’ve told my story a couple of times in this space on how attending Kevin Garnett’s basketball camp as an eight year old made an impact on me as a basketball fan by hooking me for life. Having watched Garnett in his early years, then being able to attend his camp taught me a great deal about the game. Those lessons helped me as a player and coach, but also as a writer later on.

Every time that I’ve talked about Garnett’s camp and getting to walk around Hopkins High School with him, I’ve only had to reference the pictures. Because the return of Garnett to Minnesota was such a big deal, especially to someone like me, I placed a call to my Mom to dig out those pics. Now, I’m finally able to share those with the internet.

Here we are walking around behind one of the courts after a game. And a 6'11 NBAer is really difficult to fit into a shot with 3rd graders unless the photographer is this far back.

Here we are walking around behind one of the courts after a game. And a 6’11 NBAer is really difficult to fit into a shot with 3rd graders unless the photographer is this far back.

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Yep. That’s me in the Charles Barkley Houston Rockets jersey. KG definitely gave me a little grief for wearing this during his autograph signing. Still not sure why I chose this jersey since this was probably after the Rockets knocked the Timberwolves out of the first round.

 

Here is Garnett talking to a group of campers. I hate that I remember nothing about what he said, but it was still cool.  Also, jorts.

Here is Garnett talking to a group of campers. I hate that I remember nothing about what he said, but it was still cool. Also, jorts.

 

Seriously. I'm surprised more kids didn't get stepped on since we didn't even reach his waist in height. Still, I'll always remember Garnett walking around and engaging with all of us.

Seriously. I’m surprised more kids didn’t get stepped on since we didn’t even reach his waist in height. Still, I’ll always remember Garnett walking around and engaging with all of us.

 

These are the memories I’ve always had of Garnett: the 22-year old budding superstar hanging around with a bunch of kids in the offseason. For me, its created a bit of a bias since these memories override some of Garnett’s actions that some might call “dirty.” To be honest, I’ve been just fine with this.

If it weren’t for this camp, I may still be a basketball fan, but it may not be to this extent. Memories like this cause people to develop ties and associations to things like sports teams that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter. Garnett may not be returning to Minnesota to give the team elite production, but that hardly matters. Seeing Garnett in a Timberwolves jersey evokes fond memories like these that are unique and rare.

For Garnett and the Timberwolves, the reunion brings the two full-circle. But for me going from fan to covering Garnett, it feels like full-circle for me too.

Derek James

In addition to writing for Hardwood Paroxysm, Derek James covers the Minnesota Timberwolves for 1500ESPN in Minneapolis. Derek is also a co-editor for SB Nation's At the Hive-- the best Charlotte Hornets blog around. He often finds himself writing too many words on irrelevant players. Unrelated to LeBron James, but taught him everything he knows.