Authors Posts by Mark Madsen

Mark Madsen'
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Mark, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your weekly column in the St. Cloud Times. I thought it was refreshing and honest. Good luck with the rest of your career whether it is with the Timberwolves, which I hope it is, or with another club. You always gave us 100 %.

L. S., Realtor

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Dear Mark Madsen…My name is Johnny,I am 6 years old and live in California. I love basketball, mostly the Lakers, but I cheer for the T-Wolves too (because my nanny/babysitter grew up in Minnesota and she cheers for them like crazy) I wanted to thank you for talking at your college last Saturday I could not go,but she went for me which was so cool because she’s like a young grown up and doesn’t even have kids. She just went so she could tell me what you said. She plays ball with me and it’s fun because she’s like almost 6 feet tall No kidding!! She always tells me to be a good sport on and off the court and she told me you said pretty much the same thing plus that you told cool stories like missing free throws and having to be nicer to Shaq. Awesome!!! I hope your wrist feels better and that you have a good season next year except maybe against the Lakers –just kidding –sort of. Your fan

Johnny B.

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Hello, I was writing to you because I dont have a question really but I wanted to express a few things. Im 17 years old and in 11th grade, one thing I notice when you are playing is that you no matter how much time you get to play during a game you always give your all, obviously as I read some mail from others fans of you and others can see that to. When I play basketball, I keep im mind the way you always play and thats helps me.

Also, I have been ready your column and I like what you have been writing, I find it entertaning and very interesting, keep up the good work!

– Collin
Verndale, Minnnesota

Get Well, And thanks for your time…

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I been a Laker fan for a long time and your one of my favorite Laker.I just have 1 question why? Why did you leave the purple and gold? Was it boredom? Change of scenery? Or lack of respect by the laker organization. Good luck,but you know the championship goes thru L.A.



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When the season ended I had my routine “exit interview” with Phil Jackson and Mitch Kupchak (Lakers GM). They told me that they weren’t sure what direction they were headed in as far as free agency was concerned but that if they were interested in re-signing me, they’d let me know. As the free agency process progressed, Karl Malone indicated publicly that he would come to the Lakers if Gary Payton came. When Karl expressed the interest, the Lakers didn’t have as strong an interest in re-signing me. It wasn’t personal, it was just a business decision.

After Karl signed with LA, the Lakers let me know through my agent, Arn Tellem, that I was still high on their list of people to sign, but that I was number two, behind a player who could play power forward and center. They said that they were quite confident they could sign this player and advised me to explore my other options. So, I explored other options and at the time and two serious offers emerged–Dallas and Minnesota.

I talked to Donn Nelson once and was impressed with the Mavericks organization. But then when Kevin McHale, Flip Saunders, and Glenn Taylor called me and shared the direction the Timberwolves were headed, it became an easy decision. Glenn Taylor (owner of Timberwolves) and I must have had two conversations that lasted close to an hour each time. I signed with Minnesota and that very same day, the Lakers announced that they had reached an agreement with Horace Grant, a personal friend of mine and a great addition to the Lakers.

It worked out well for all parties involved. I was privileged to have three great years in LA. Now I’m in Minnesota and I love it. We’re having a great year here in MN and we’re looking to make a run at the title. Jonathan, we think the championship goes through Minneapolis. 🙂

All the best and thanks for the question.
Mark Madsen


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Glen Taylor, Player and Coach, Selfish, Mineapolis, NBA Timberwolves
I am personally quite disappointed. Every player, coach and front office staffer, up to owner Glen Taylor is very upset about the way this season has gone thus far. photo:

As I write this the chances of us making the playoffs are pretty bleak. I can tell you that I am personally quite disappointed. Every player, coach and front office staffer, up to owner Glen Taylor is very upset about the way this season has gone thus far. Trying to put a finger on what exactly went wrong is hard to do. Unfortunately, we as players are responsible in the end for getting the job done on the court, and we didn’t. It cost a coach his job and it cost the fans and us a playoff appearance. I certainly can understand the frustration coming from our fans. So we are going to keep the hope alive, as we’re not out of it yet. The chances are slim, but we are going to fight and try to find a way to make it in. That’s what we’re still hoping for.

After our loss to Atlanta, Kevin McHale came in and really gave it to us. A coach has to be able to get on people at times, and we as players need to have thick skin and be responsive. Coach was upset that we weren’t passing the ball and we were playing selfish basketball. He told us two things about passing the ball and being unselfish that hit home. The first one came from the legendary University of Minnesota hockey coach Herb Brooks who told him, “Passes don’t come from the hands, they come from the heart.” Then he told us something his high school coach used to say, “If you have to think about passing the ball, then something is wrong.” He reminded us how we grew up playing the game—for fun and for pride in trying to kick someone’s tail every time you stepped onto the court. The thing about him is that he’s a basketball purist and when the effort and unselfishness isn’t there (on offense and defense) he’s very upset. I also think it legitimately hurts him to see the game played the wrong way. The truth is that everyone on the team can be unselfish and give great energy. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that fact. I know we will bounce back in a decisive fashion.

Now that I can’t really work out as much, I have been doing a lot of walking around the lakes in Minneapolis and in the western suburbs. I am really trying to get out with friends and enjoy nature and take in the sun. Maybe get a little Vitamin D back into the system after a long winter. Minnesota is a great state, and particularly attractive if you enjoy the outdoors. Maybe this summer I will be lucky enough to get out on a boat and do some tubing. I have heard so many good things about Lake Minnetonka, maybe I will hang out there a little bit and soak up some rays and enjoy one of the 10,000 lakes.

Every once in a while when I’m walking around people will recognize me and say hello. They have all been very supportive. I had a few people come up during a recent walk and wish myself and the team the very best. They reached out on a personal note to ask me about my surgery and wish me well in the recovery process. They were hoping that I can recover on all levels and it was very much appreciated.

I am fortunate as part of this organization to be able to work with Dan Zeman, who is a local exercise physiologist. He used to work with Greg LeMond and has been talking to me about cardiovascular conditioning. When I combine his expertise and knowledge with that of Wolves’ strength coach Thomas McKinney, they offer up quite a source of knowledge. I hope to build on conditioning and hopefully be stronger when I return from my surgery. I look forward to writing again next week. Thanks, Mark.

Thanks, Mark

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Hand Surgery, NBA, Lakers, Two Sergeries, Anthony Carter
Talking about injuries and players Photo:

As you know, I had hand surgery again last week. The process this time is they went in with a two- to three-inch incision into the topside of the right wrist. They found the ruptured ligament and re-attached it to the bone with a suture and some other constructive tissue in the area. I am going to get a briefing on the operation in the next few days, so I will have a better understanding of the procedure on a more technical level after that meeting.

Right now my arm is completely immobilized and it has been an adjustment being able to use just one hand. Tuesday was my first day back to practice and I went upstairs to the athletic club and tried to do some running, in addition to getting on the elliptical machine and the bike. I am just trying to stay in some kind of cardio fitness. The problem with athletes is that they eat so much because they are burning it off rapidly, but the minute you stop the activity, you can put on a quick 10-30 pounds. I am going to try to stay in the 250-pound range.

I really don’t have a timeline for getting back on the court at this point. The reason I say that is that I need to be able to do the everyday things, like take a normal shower, before I can worry about basketball things. After practice, the training staff took a big plastic bag and taped-off my arm before I got into the shower. It was a process and made me think how lucky I am when everything is normal with my health. I am hoping the 3-6 month range the doctor has told me for recovery will be more like two and a half to three months for me.

Prior to this season I had had two surgeries in my life. One as a freshman in high school, the other in the summer with the Lakers. To have two surgeries in one season leads to a little bit of frustration. You ask yourself, “Why is this happening to me.” I’ve come to the realization that I am going to look at this as a positive. I really believe that some very positive things will come of it. I can’t see completely what they are, but I know they are out there. I think that is the way you have to look at everything. Nobody has great things happening to them 100% of the time. We all have ups and downs in life. I am going to try to deal with this so-called “down” as a positive and a stepping-stone to something good.

I am still going to try to do everything I can to contribute to this team, just in a different way than before. You have to look at a guy like Anthony Carter, who played a ton while some guys were hurt, now he’s not on the floor as much. He’s calling out encouraging things and telling guys what he’s seeing from the bench. I am going to try to be very supportive and positive at the games. When guys are coming of the court, I’m going to be the first one at to high-five them. I’ll get people towels and Gatorade if I have to. My thing is a team is a team. Every member is very important. Even though I’ll be in street clothes, I’ll find some small way to contribute.



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NCAA Tournament, Mississippi State, Minnesota, March Madness, NBA,Coach Mike Montgomery, Shaquille O'Neal, Dallas Game, Dirk Nowitzki, Target Center
Talking About Games, Fans, Coach and Players. Photo:

This last week was a tough one for me. The Stanford Cardinal, my alma mater, was bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the first round by Mississippi State. However, our women’s hoops team is still alive and is led by a Minnesota native, guard Susan King Borchardt. Susan attended Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, and married Curtis Borchardt, who was a teammate of mine at Stanford. Curtis now plays center for the Utah Jazz.

March Madness is a fun time for all of us in the NBA, because it gives us a chance to talk some trash to each other (for fun of course) about how everyone’s college team is doing and how far they go, or quickly they get bounced. We spend a lot of time together on buses and planes, so inevitably there is going to be plenty of opportunities for good-natured ribbing. And I certainly got my share last week when my squad went down.

In 1998, our Stanford team made it to the Final Four in San Antonio. When we left our hotel for the game, they made us sneak out of the kitchen because there were so many wild fans in the lobby. Coach Mike Montgomery put a password on the phones in the players’ rooms, so that only family and friends could call us. As a side note, many NBA players use aliases when they check into hotels so that people can’t reach them on the phone in their rooms. I use my own name because no crazy people ever try to get a hold of me. Shaquille O’Neal’s old alias was something like Henry

Perot (not using it anymore, so don’t try), but Phil Jackson always used his real name. Kevin Garnett’s alias is… well he probably doesn’t want me to share it, sorry.

At the Final Four we lost a semifinal game to Kentucky by one point in overtime. The only consolation was that they wound up winning the whole thing. When we got back to school it was like a circus. Someone had circulated a fake e-mail that our point guard, Arthur Lee, was going to leave early for the NBA and a lot of the fans on campus were going berserk, because they loved the way he played. Now that Stanford is out, I think I’m going to cheer for Washington. I love the way guard Nate Robinson plays and how fearless he is.

Last week in the Dallas game, I fouled Dirk Nowitzki and did something to my wrist. I took myself out of the game immediately, because I knew something was wrong. They took X-rays on the wrist at the arena during halftime and told me it was fine. They taped it up like a boxing glove and I finished the game. Injuries are part of basketball and this one is pretty severe because I can’t really catch or use my right hand very much at this point. On Monday, they injected my wrist with dye and then took an MRI to see exactly what happened. I am going to a hand specialist in the Twin Cities this week, so I’m hoping to see all of you at the Target center soon. I’ll talk to you next week.

— Mark Madsen

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Shaquille O'Neal, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Toyota Previa, Staples Center, Chevy Tahoe, Beverly Hills, Beverly Center, Rolax Store, California, Minnesota
In 2000, as a rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq told me he wanted me to be at his contract extension press conference. Afterwards he said to me, "Are you ready to go shopping?" I was a little shocked, because I really didn't know what was going on.

After playing against Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat last week, a lot of old memories came to mind and I’ll share a few. Back in 2000, as a rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq told me he wanted me to be at his contract extension press conference. Afterwards he said to me, “Are you ready to go shopping?” I was a little shocked, because I really didn’t know what was going on. When I arrived in L.A. a few months earlier, I came with the car that my parents gave me as a college graduation gift. The car was an old Toyota Previa and it even sported a nice little dent in the side that one of my older siblings left. One thing Shaq told me right at the start of training camp was, “You can’t be driving into the Staples Center in that thing.”

I went shopping with him and it was a pretty fun day. First he took me to a car dealership and marched right in to the CEO (whom he knew) and told him to give me a great deal on a Chevy Tahoe (that was the car I had mentioned I thought was nice). Then he offered to put a down payment down for me to lease the car. After that he drove us up to Beverly Hills and we went to a Big and Tall clothing store. I found a pair of jeans that fit and Shaq said to the store worker, “He’ll take eight of each color!” I said, “All I need is one of each color.” When Shaq kept piling on Italian sweaters, I told him I didn’t need all the stuff, but he told me it was a welcome gift and to relax while he paid the $2,500 bill.

Then we went to the Beverly Center (a big L.A. mall). First he took me to a trendy store that sold suits. He picked out a nice one and when I asked the store worker how it looked, the worker said it looked “really fly.” That was the first time I had ever heard the word fly in that context before. I took it to mean it looked good. The last stop was the Rolex store in the mall. Right before we walked in, we ran into our teammate J.R. Rider and his friend in the same mall. Shaq told J.R. to pick out a Rolex then he told me to pick one out as well. He then picked out about 20 more. The bill was about $75,000. The next day Shaq came in and gave a Rolex to each teammate, coach and staff member. He told the team thank you and that he wouldn’t be the player he was without their help. I still remember driving around L.A. that day with Shaq, everywhere he drove, people were honking at him and saying hi and stopping alongside to congratulate him.

I still remember when I drove my car out here from California. It was a little scary going from the state where I had lived my entire life and coming to a place where I hardly knew anyone. One of the stops I made along the way was Kearney, Nebraska, where my older sister and her husband and their kids live. The day I left for Minneapolis I woke up early and the thought that came into my mind was something like, “What have I gotten myself into?” After a year and a half of being here in Minneapolis I am so glad I made the decision to come to this awesome state. L.A. was a great three years, but coming to Minnesota has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ll talk to you next week.

— Mark Madsen