Mark Madsen's Blog

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Minnesota, Win, Rashad McCants, Al Jefferson, Turkey , training camp
We win our first game in front of our home fans in Minnesota. Photo: Brocreative
We finally won our first game and it happened to come in front of our home fans in Minnesota. We had a lot of guys step up in the win. Rashad McCants had 30 points, Al Jefferson had his normal dominant performance and Antoine Walker had a huge game in crunch time to put us over the top. Marko Jaric made a ton of hussle plays. I wanted to talk a little bit about the game.

We were in Turkey for training camp which was going long and hard. Late in one practice session, Rashad McCants stole the ball and then took off down court for a dunk. All of a sudden, he stopped dribbling and staggered off the court in obvious pain. He strained his hamstring and then was on the injured list for a few days. Even earlier this season, he tweaked his ankle and had to sit out. I watched Rashad work tirelessly in the training room to get healthy to come back ASAP to help the team. Rashad is mentally tough and has a huge heart and he showed that once again tonight. Rashad is a team player first whose intelligence about the game reminds me of my old Lakers teammate Robert Horry.

In all my years of playing basketball you’re always taught not to go for pump fakes of opposing players. Especially when an opponent is trying to post you up, you never want to jump in the air to block the shot. It just puts you too much at risk for a foul. I’ve only been on the same team with Al Jefferson for two months, but I have never seen a post player get so many of his defenders up in the air and then just drive past them. Each game, I know it’s going to happen that he gets his post defender jumping in the air like a pogo-stick. The other day in practice I told Al, that I’ve never seen a player get so many defenders to go for his fake as does. Al told me that he learned his fake from Paul Pierce and their years together in Boston. Tonight was no different as Al got people in the air and utilized his signature, go-to move of the soft jump hook that seemed to be unstoppable.

Another old Celtic really stole the show in tonight’s game. We got Antoine Walker in a trade from the Heat and he was huge for us. I’ve enjoyed practicing with and against Antoine in practice every day. Antoine Walker is a three time all-star in the NBA and he gives so much energy and attention in practice every day that it’s kind of revitalizing to everyone on the team. I knew Antoine Walker the three point shooter, rebounder, great post up player and ball-handler, but the Antoine Walker I didn’t know is the player who knows every defensive rotation like the back of his hand. In the fourth quarter tonight Antoine floated a difficult 10 foot floater over the Sacramento defense that brought the crowd to their feet in the Target Center. When he came to the bench a fan yelled out, “Antoine, let’s see the shimmie!” I looked over and I saw Antoine smile and then just chill. I think he’s saving the shimmie for bigger and better things for the Timberwolves this season. Having a true veteran like Antoine on our team helps everyone from 1 to 15.

For a little more background on Antoine, (and the origin of the shimmie), you can go to his official website at

Well, that’s all here. I should receive the medical clearance soon to play. When I get it, I hope to earn my way back onto the court to help my team in any way possible.

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Hagia Sophia Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey, , largest Christian Cathedral in the World, Ottoman Empire, Museum, Muslim Emperor
Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: ruzgar344
Today we had some time off, so John Edwards (My current teammate who has played for the Hawks and the Pacers) and I went over to see some sites here in Istanbul, Turkey. The coolest one to me was the Hagia Sophia Mosque. For one thousand years, it was actually the largest Christian Cathedral in the World. Then, it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire (I learned all of this from our guide today!) and converted into a Mosque. Today it is a museum! So it’s been a Christian church three times (Replaced once then burned down a second time, finally rebuilt a third time), a mosque, and now it’s museum! How cool is that! The Muslim emperor at the time of conquest ordered that the many Christian mosaics not be seen in the Mosque. But instead of destroying the incredible mosaics, it is said that perhaps his appreciation of art caused him to cover them with plaster instead. Now, that it’s a museum, Istanbul has peeled off the ancient plaster and many of the mosaics are fully intact and incredible. All of the Islamic and Christian influence can be seen in the building! Then we ventured down to a giant underground water tank (Cistern) that was like a mini reservoir to hold water for those many times when Istanbul was attacked and seiged over the centuries. It was awesome!!

I am very excited about our team this year. Gerald Greene Jr. one of my new teammates here is an amazing talent. Obviously he is the slam dunk champion from the NBA from last year, but he does so much more than that. His energy is huge for our team and he’s vocal. His three point shot is good and gets better every day. Sebastian Telfair game him the perfect alley oop pass the other day in a game and when I saw Gerald go up and catch that ball it was in a place that only a few NBA players could get to.

Juwand Howard has been a great addition to our team. He’s really a guy who has kind of done and seen most everyting in the game of basketball. He’s a guy who kind of talks to everyone on the team, 1 through 15 and helps them know what they can do to help the team. The fact that he can shoot the ball from deep differentiates him from a lot of other “bigs” in this league.

OK, I’m out of here and off to try to sleep. I’m not sure…I got one hour of sleep only two nights ago so I definitely need some rest!! Maybe it was the jetlag!

Trivia: From Wikipedia:

Hagia Sophia is featured in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia With Love where Bond’s lover Tatiana Romanova slips Bond small blueprints of Istanbul’s Russian consulate where Bond needs to steal the Lektor communication device. The Hagia Sophia is also seen in background shots in the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.

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Goodbye, Kevin Garnett, Traded to the Boston Celtics, Minnesota
Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball power forward and center with the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Photo:
Today I got the unimaginable news that Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics. Being out here in Minnesota and hearing this news was interesting because it is the most talked about thing in almost every circle in which I move. Friends from out of state are emailing me about it. A non-sports radio station “wished Kevin safe travels to Boston” tonight at 10pm while I was driving home.

Here are a few memories of the Kevin Garnett that I know. This is the side that the public doesn’t see every day.

One Cardinal rule in our locker room is this: Never wear gear from another NBA team. So when our new assistant trainer from Oklahoma had a Dallas Mavericks screensaver on his cellphone, Kevin Garnett found it and enforced the penalty. When I say penalty, Kevin made him sprint two hundred yards from our team bus to a pickup truck parked in the distance and then yell out “I love the Timberwolves!” three times.

When Craig Smith came into practice wearing some Golden State Warriors practice shorts, Kevin brought out the entire team and had Craig go to center court and hold up the shorts and say “I will never wear these shorts again,” while he held the shorts up and walked around three times. Everyone was laughing. Craig was laughing too. KG loves Craig on and off the court. I’ve never seen a rookie big man like Craig come in and win over the trust and confidence of Kevin so quickly.

Our offense calls for two “big men” to be on the court at the same time and it takes quite a while to learn all of the defensive rotations. Kevin Garnett expects nothing short of perfection on defense. Mark Blount is one of the smartest veteran centers in the NBA and he and Kevin read each other all the time. Where I have been impressed with Craig is that he’s beyond his years on defense. On offense, he’s been tearing up the other team’s interior and scoring in bunches. But in some ways he’s been even better on defense.

But getting back to the theme of this blog. I never thought Kevin Garnett would be apprehended by our own locker room fashion police. But it did happen a few months ago. It all started after practice one day when a few of us got into the locker room to shower and get ready to go home. KG was still down in the weight room lifting weights. Rashad McCants went over to Kevin’s locker and pulled out his shoes and put them out for everyone to see. “What the heck are these?” Rashad said as he pointed to Kevin’s shoes. As everyone looked down to Kevin’s locker we were shocked to see that his shoes had the words “Portland Trailblazers” alongside the Trailblazers logo! All of this was of course in Trailblazer red and black colors!

I’ve never seen so many guys so excited to bust Kevin’s chops. When Kevin finally got up to the locker room he walked in and saw his shoes out for everyone to see. Kevin busted out smiling and yelled out, “Who was in my locker! I don’t know who was in my locker!” Rashad stood up and called out, “I peeped it out when you walked in here this morning!” Trenton Hassell was having a field day. “Throw those shoes in the trash” he yelled out. It was my job to take the shoes and stomp on them and then take them to the garbage can. Kevin was laughing so hard. I guess Adidas had sent out a bunch of walking shoes to Kevin and the shoes all had logos of different NBA teams.

Kevin told us how he had gotten up that morning and tried on the Portland shoes and that they had looked good. So he asked his wife “What do you think? Can I wear these in to practice?”

“Well Kevin, I don’t think so. I mean, the Trailblazers are in your conference and you play against them, right?….” she said.

Kevin decided to wear the shoes in anyway and explained how he “had pushed his jeans down over the Trailblazers logo and walked into the locker room really quickly.” He even showed us how he had pushed his shoes way to the back of his locker area under his chair so that none of us would see the shoes. Well, nothing gets past Rashad fashion wise. We had a good laugh that day. But the story didn’t end there. Trenton Hassell called out:

“Man I’m going to use those shoes…..I’m getting them out of the garbage can. I’ve got my guy in Chattangooga Tennesse and he’s 6’10” and wears size fourteen too!”


Back to a serious note. Kevin Garnett is one of the mot loyal individuals I have ever met in my life. We’re all gong to miss him and we all wish him well.

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Trades,, Justin Reed, Mike James, Kevin Garnett, Minnesota, Juwan Howard, Houston, Rochester Athletic Club
Last week I lost one two teammates and I gained one. Justin Reed and Mike James were being traded to Houston for Juwan Howard. Photo: alexmillos
Last week I lost one two teammates and I gained one. As I scrolled through last week, I saw the breaking news that Justin Reed and Mike James were being traded to Houston for Juwan Howard. I guess this is the really hard part of the business of NBA basketball. When you go to battle with the same guys every day you get close to them. I’m going to miss Mike and Justin. Clearly, Houston loves Mike James and almost signed him last summer. I think that Justin Reed is only really lacking the right opportunity. It seems like he played really well here for us, especially when he got extended minutes.

Today, I was in Rochester Minnesota giving a “Life in the NBA” talk at Rochester Athletic Club. I can’t remember how many times people asked me if Kevin Garnett was going to get traded, but it was a lot. I really think that there is not going to be any trades involving Kevin Garnett. I sure hope not. I know for a fact that Kevin loves Minnesota and he likes the guys in the locker room. But I’m also aware the realities of professional sports and that from a business standpoint, anything can happen to anyone. The thing about Kevin is that he makes everyone around him better. Three years ago, Sam Cassell had an all-star season, Sprewell had a great year and many other guys on our roster had career years. When you have someone like Kevin Garnett on your team, everyone is going to benefit.

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Derek Fisher, Don Nelson Basketball Camp, Injury, Lakers, Utah Jazz, Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Oakland
Derek Lamar Fisher is an American basketball player. He spent his first eight seasons with the franchise, winning three consecutive league championships (2000–2002) with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Photo:
Warriors versus Utah Jazz Playoff Series I played with Derek Fisher for three years while playing for the Lakers and he is one of the most professional people I have ever met in any field. When I got to the Lakers Derek was going through a very serious foot injury and was on the injured list for some time. One time while he was injured we as a team were playing terribly. Before one of the games, Derek gave an impassioned speech while in street clothes and really tried to encourage the guys to take up their level of play a notch. Everyone in the locker room from Shaq to Kobe to Slava Medvedenko was all ears. Afterwards, Phil Jackson referred back to Derek as the emotional leader of our group.

Derek was always working on his jump shot. There were so many days when Derek would be there early at the gym with his brother feeding him passes and giving him feedback on fine-tuning aspects of his jumper.

Later that same season in the playoffs Derek had a monster game against the San Antonio Spurs and hit something like seven or eight three pointers in a blowout win for us. A few days later when we were watching the game film in our “warrior room,” Phil Jackson commented on how Derek had played so very well, and yet Derek did not get involved in any kind of self-promotion, or on-court antics that are so popular in the game today. Phil Jackson rarely was impressed with individual accomplishments, but he was keenly appreciative not only for how well Derek played, but how Derek Fisher carried himself while playing so well.

The Warriors vs. Jazz series is a great one. I was so happy for how well Derek played tonight for his team. I actually want the Warriors to win because I grew up about 30 minutes from Oakland and I know the Warriors team pretty well. Don Nelson was the coach of the warriors when I was in high school and I even worked at the “Don Nelson Basketball camp.” But above all, I’m just so happy that Derek Fisher’s daughter is doing well after her surgery. I hope that Dee Brown’s injury is okay and I hope that he’s able to make a full recovery. Detroit is my favorite to win the title.

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Trenton Hassell, NBA General Manager, Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, NBA draft, Mitch Kupchak, Jaron Rush
Trenton Hassell told me that if he was an NBA General Manager he would rather have the 2nd pick in this year’s NBA draft instead of the first pick. Photo:
Trenton Hassell told me that if he was an NBA General Manager he would rather have the 2nd pick in this year’s NBA draft instead of the first pick. When I asked him why, he said, “Because you can’t go wrong with the 2nd pick….I’d hate to be the GM that had to choose between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.”

When NBA teams are getting ready to make a draft selection, nothing is left to chance. Teams will fly groups of players in to work them out and match them up against each other to see who is toughest and who competes hardest. A lot of teams administer the same written, multiple-choice psychological survey. I must have seen the same survey four times from four different teams. One team (Chicago Bulls) actually brought in a psychologist to administer a whole set of unique tests. One of the sit down interviews in Chicago may have been a type of IQ test. I’m still not sure.

They test your strength in the weight room, your body fat, watch how you interact with the equipment manager and trainers, and seem analyze everything you do and say. Then, a lot of teams will have you sit down with the General Manager for an interview. I still remember my interview for the LA Lakers. “Do you drink?” They asked. “No,” I said. “That’s the first time in years we’ve interviewed two players in a row who both don’t drink,” they replied. The player before me was a UCLA player who has ended up having a very nice professional basketball career.

Mitch Kupchak (Current LA Lakers GM) asked me an interesting question during the interview process. “Who is the best [current] college player you have played against?” I knew right away. “Jaron Rush,” I said. I still think he was the best I played against in college. I ended up playing with his brother Kareem Rush for the Lakers for a year.

Mitch probably got some good information from all the people he interviewed. What better way to try to assess the draft class and future drafts than asking the people who have grown up playing against each other in high school, AAU, pickup games and college games.

Over the course of years, I’ve probably spoken to well over 10 different NBA general managers. I asked one with a pretty nice draft history “How do you know who to draft each year?” His exact words to me were: “It’s a crapshoot.”

Then it clicked. There are just too many unknown variables that are impossible for GM’s to predict. If every GM was perfect, then there’s no way that Kevin Garnett and Kobe would have been selected as low as they were in the draft. There would never be any draft “busts.”

But someone has to make the decision and that’s why the GM’s go to great lengths to get as much information as possible. When Brevin Knight was a senior at Stanford, the rumor circulation around campus was that there was a private investigator going around campus asking questions to verify Brevin’s very high personal character. We were told that for the top 10 projected picks, private investigators came around asking questions.

When they make a great pick, they are hailed as “great talent evaluators.” When they mess up with a pick they are labeled by the media as “out of touch” or “can’t see the obvious.” To the GM who ends up with the 1st pick in this years NBA draft I say “good luck.”

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UCLA Bruins, Ben Howland, NCAA, Stanford, Florida
Ben Howland is an American college basketball coach and former player. He served as the head men's basketball coach at Northern Arizona University from 1994 to 1999, the University of Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2003, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 2003 to till date. Photo:

UCLA made a great decision when the hired Ben Howland to become the new coach of the UCLA Bruins. As a “Pac-10” guy I watch UCLA very closely as well as the rest of the Conference and in two years Howland has been in the NCAA Finals and in the semi-finals. As one who played on a Final Four team myself at STanford, I can attest that it is not easy to advance in the NCAA tournament. To get the the Final Four two years in a row is incredible. But the thing that impresses me most about Howland is his graciousness in defeat. I just finished watching the interview with him and all I can say is that Ben Howland is a complete class act. He was the same way last year also. He complimented Florida and gave them all of the credit even though inside we all know he was really hurting.

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Brian Shaw, Kobe bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Orlando, Mark Blount
Mark Blount has been having a monster season for us and tonight he did it again. Before the game tonight against the Lakers, I caught up with one of my favorite all-time teammates: Brian Shaw. Photo:
Mark Blount has been having a monster season for us and tonight he did it again. There are very few seven footers play in this league who can MAKE three consecutive three pointers in the last two minutes of regulation….how many seven footers even want to take three pointers in the clutch? Not many. Mark Blount did that tonight in our game against the Lakers and he basically saved our hide by getting us to the first overtime and eventually the second.

Before the game tonight against the Lakers, I caught up with one of my favorite all-time teammates: Brian Shaw. Brian is an assistant coach now with the Lakers and is on his way to a very successful post basketball career. When we both played for the Lakers, Brian was the one guy on the team who could pick up his cellphone and call every single teammate at any time. From Shaq, to Kobe to Slava Medvedenko, to Horry to Rick Fox. Forget about his basketball I.Q. for a moment (which is off the charts). His ability to communicate with today’s athlete is a rare gift and something that would serve him well as a GM or as a head coach in this league.

Yeas ago, Brian Shaw played with Kobe Bryant’s dad professionally in Italy (I think the name of the team was Kinder Bologna). Brian told me once that he remembered playing HORSE with a young Kobe Bryant in Italy and being impressed with his skills. After a few years in Italy Brian Shaw came back to the NBA and played alongside Shaq in Orlando during the heyday of Orlando Magic basketball. Finally, he was reunited in LA with Shaq and the next generation of the Bryant basketball legacy–Kobe–from 2000 until 2003.

Needless to say Brian Shaw was that veteran type of player that Shaq would listen to, he had a great relationship with Kobe, and then he could go to Phil with suggestions. One time Brian thought we were practicing too much during training camp and breaking the collective bargaining agreement rules. He brought it up in a team meeting and Phil Jackson just smiled and laughed and said, “Brian you should really go to law school when you are done playing in the NBA.” Given that Shaw played for Phil Jackson and now is an assistant with Phil shows the respect that Phil has for him. There are a lot of teams in this league that would benefit from the skill set that Shaw brings to the table.

It was fun to play against my former team and to beat them tonight. I look back on the three years I played in L.A. under Phil Jackson and I have great memories. In a lot of ways, Phil was the one who really helped me to gain confidence to be able to compete at this level. Today, I saw in the media that Phil and Smush Parker were having some kind of public feud going on. It happened a few times when Phil would go at it with Shaq and Kobe or someone else on the team while I was there–either right there in practice or through the newspapers. The interesting thing is that once Phil got his point across to the player and the player responded, the relationship with that player would quietly simmer down and sometimes even seemed stronger in the days that followed.

I had a few friends at the game tonight. Some of them thought they saw Jack Nicholson at the Target Center. I guess my other buddy Enrique told them that they were mistaken and the man was really just impersonating Nicholson. Can anyone out there confirm or refute this? I guess that is just a random point of interest.

Well, I’m going to enjoy this victory tonight and the great performances of KG, Ricky Davis and Mark Blount especially. We have the Lakers again in Los Angeles in a few weeks and I know they’ll be trying to make a statement so we have to be ready.

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Jack Nicholson, Lakers, Impersonator, Timberwolves
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer, and writer. Photo: Everett Collection
Two of my friends said they got their picture taken with Jack Nicholson last night at the Lakers vs. Timberwolves game. Jack Nicholson is a regular at the Lakers home games and he travels on the road a lot to watch his team (The Lakers, of course) play. But my other friend said that he was a “Nicholson Impersonator” and that it really wasn’t him. Well, I wrote about all of this in yesterday’s blog right here on Then tonight I go to my email inbox and my webmaster has forwarded me an email. Here is what the email said:


‘Jack’ was at the game last night. I know because that was me. In fact, since Jack shaved his head, I look more like Jack than Jack.

I am a Nicholson impersonator and will be attending the International Celebrity Impersonator Convention the end of May in Vegas.

It was a lot of fun last night being Jack but it hurt me to clap for the Lakers. Because of my role as the Lakers number one fan I needed to fulfill the role. You guys did an incredible job though. Congratulations.

Best Wishes

Now before all of you tell me that I’m dumb to believe a random email into my inbox here are the facts:

1) The email was sent from a verified email address of a major fortune 500 company: (i.e. course it was not Target though) as opposed to an “anonymous email” like or

2) John’s email included a link to his bio which is publicly accessible on his company’s website. (i.e. )

3) John is a major executive at his fortune 500 company.

4) His photo showed up on the Fortune 500 company website and here it is. You tell me….does John have a chance at the Vegas convention? I think he’s the favorite!


John, I would love to accept your invitation to go to lunch sometime. Maybe I will bring someone from the organization and we can have some fun with this in the media guide. I hope that you have a great day and I hope that you guys continue to keep the capital markets going strong! (I guess we all should have known something was up when our Jack Nicholson impersonator was sitting about 15 rows up…..the Real Jack is always courtside….even on the road games).

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Gregg Farnam, Boston, Treatment for my injured ankle, Lakers, Phil Jackson, Kobe, Target Center,
Gregg wanted me to get a lot of treatment for my injured ankle so that hopefully i can get back to playing this week. Photo:
We are struggling right now plain and simple. Our trainer Gregg Farnam had me stay at home so I was not at Boston for the game. Gregg wanted me to get a lot of treatment for my injured ankle so that hopefully i can get back to playing this week. I am actually dying to be ready for the Lakers game. It’s always great playing against Phil Jackson and Kobe.

I was lucky to have TV’s in our training room and weight room, so while I was doing all of the rehab in the Target Center with our assistant trainer, I watched as much of the game as I could. Troy Hudson, Garnett and Ricky Davis all hit huge three pointers for us. But it was really Troy who gave us a huge spark. Troy has always had big games against the Lakers, so I’m thinking he’ll probably start again on Tuesday when L.A. comes to the Twin Cities.

Having a sprained ankle is brutal. You sit there and basically work out for hours each day doing ankle drills, stationary bike and the Eliptical Machine. Then you try to freeze your foot (not really, but it just feels like it) with ice for 20 minutes to get the swelling out. I REALLy am hoping to be back soon. Man, I neglected this blog for a little while because I was so busy with ankle stuff, but I’ll be writing more stuff soon.

My old teammate Ervin Johnson used to say “365 days is too long not to laugh.” I know we’re losing, but I’m going to try to use some humor in the locker room to get us more loose and back on track. I’m going to share some stuff on this blog too that has happened in the locker room in the last few months that’s pretty funny too. Have a great Monday !!!