What’s the lifespan of an NBA arena, before it becomes a dinosaur?
Apparently, about two decades.
The Timberwolves play in the 21-year-old Target Center in Minneapolis and Tuesday owner Glen Taylor and community leaders started to lay out a $155 million plan to modernize the building. What they want to do is find a public/private partnership to enhance public money and revenue bonds in place, everyone told the Star Tribune.
“If we could have our wish list, we do what a lot of other communities have done, and that would be have a new facility,” Taylor said. “But I served in the Legislature. I know the difficulties that the government is facing, so we have never asked for a new facility. What we want is to bring this up to date for our fans. … We want our fans to have the same experience that they would have at Target Field, the Xcel Center or the new football field at the University of Minnesota [TCF Bank Stadium].”
A $1 billion bonding plan announced by Gov. Mark Dayton Monday includes $8 million to match city money (Minneapolis mayor R.T.) Rybak said will be used for basic upkeep at Target Center. The city already has $50 million in tax increment financing funds over the next 10 years aimed at keeping the facility functional.
“Now we have to come up with a public-private venture to bring it up to another level,” Rybak said.
The amenities being discussed are changes to seating and sight lines (making it easier to draw concerts to the venue), more and better food vendors, more bathrooms, and a beautification of a building that from the outside looks like a lot of cement. Part of the plan is to change the corner of the building where the main entrance is to create a more inviting space and lobby area.
Only three other NBA teams have older buildings, and the Kings are desperately trying to get out of theirs while Madison Square Garden is undergoing a massive renovation.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.