I wanted to take a minute to tell the fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves a heart felt thank you for all of the support and enthusiasm for the team over the past few years. Even though the past couple of years had been tough from a wins and losses perspective, when I will think of my time in Minneapolis, I will always think about that 2004 team that almost made it to the NBA Finals. At that time, Kevin Garnett was the MVP of the entire league, Sam Cassell was an All-Star and Latrell Sprewell was one of our emotional leaders. I remember during the playoff run that year how driving to and from games was absolutely crazy with part of downtown shut down so that cars could get through. This was all possible because of you, the fans and your amazing support.
From a different standpoint, Minneapolis has come to feel like an absolute second home for me personally. Having grown up in Northern California, I never really knew much about Minnesota until Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor signed me to play for the Timberwolves. Needless to say, the past several years have been some of the best years of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity, the support from the community and the fact that you truly made me feel at home in new place. Thank you for your friendship and for the giving me the chance to play for the team. When friends from out of town came to visit Minnesota I would always take them to the stone arch bridge downtown, the state Capital, or the Mill City Museum. Exploring new parts of the Twin Cities became one of my passions while I was there.
After I learned of my trade to the LA Clippers, David Kahn left me a voicemail and it was great. To you, the fans, David Kahn is going to do a great job as the General Manager. He is going to tirelessly do everything in his power to return the team to the same form of that special 2004 season. And to Glen Taylor, I express my thanks for allowing me to contribute to a great team. I’m sure that you will get the team back to the high expectations that you and the community have for the team. It has been an honor to play for the team over the past number of years and to be part of your organization.
But above all, I want to thank you the fans. I wish all of you the best and I hope that I will see you down the road and perhaps at a Timberwolves vs. LA Clippers game in the future!
I think you guys will find this pretty funny. Last year during the NBA finals Robert Horry had just hit a HUGE three pointer and basically won a huge game for the San Antonio Spurs. I was in Utah at the time and was so happy for Rob. I knew he’d be getting bombarded with phone calls so I sent him a text message from my new phone. (My phone keeps all text messages from the last six months, so I’ll basically quote it).
June 15th 1:41 AM (I wrote to Rob) Congratulations on the 3 pointer record. Now hurry up and get your 6th Ring! MM
June 15th 1:54 AM (Rob wrote to me) Who is this?
June 15th 8:25 AM (To paraphrase my text to Rob) Your buddy, Mark Madsen!
June 15th 8:57 AM (Rob to me) What’s up Dog? Didn’t have your number stored. How’s the family? Better yet, how’s the hand? (My parents and some family members had met Rob and loved him.)
June 19th 11:54 PM (Me to Rob) Rob….great job! It couldn’t be happening to a better guy!
I didn’t include everything from our texts during the finals, but I put most of it just because I thought some of you guys might get a kick out of it. I included this because Robert Horry was my first true mentor my rookie season along with Rick Fox and Shaq. But I have to talk about Rob a little beacause our lockers were right next to each other and he was such a great veteran for me to have. We sat next to each other in Phil jackson’s “Warrior Room” toom. (That’s what Phil called the film room.)
One time I came to the bench after I missed a shot and Tex Winter said, “Your job is to pass the ball!” Robert looked at me and said, “Don’t listen to that…..you are a scorer….when you get on that court you are a scorer!” Of course Rob and Tex had a great relationship but sometimes as players we have to keep each others’ confidence high.
Another time we were having a team meeting and Derek Fisher said something like, “We’ve got two superstars in this room (Shaq and Kobe) and the rest of us are role players and we have to do our job.” Derek was one guy who would tell everything like it was. He and Phil used to have heated exchanges from time to time and Phil loved it. He once called Derek the “emotional leader” of the team or something like that. We were losing at the time and it was sort of a clear-the-air type of meeting. I kind of agreed with what Derek had said. I could tell Rob was uncomfortable with what Derek said because he started shifting around and looked ready to say something. These meetings were great because the respect level was high so guys could say whatever they wanted and no one took it personally.
Rob then went on to tell everyone in the room, “Yeah, we have two superstars in this room and the rest of us are STARS. There are no role players in this room there are stars in this room.” I’ll never forget that because that is truly the way Rob plays basketball. I think his confidence level is so high that when the huge shot comes he just has such great self belief he always seems to knock it down. I could go on talking about Rob and the lessons he taught me.
Ocasionally Rob had a bad game as every single pro-athlete does. One time I think he played about 20 minutes and didn’t score and had one rebound. (I have plenty of games like that too.) I was curious to see how he was in the locker room. The media guy came by and handed everyone a copy of the box score of the game which is the routine. Rob glanced at the sheet of paper and then crumpled it up and tossed it away and went to shower. It was like Rob was not going to dwell on anything negative at all. I now do the same thing after a bad game. For me it’s kind of a mental way of telling myself. “Hey, I played terribly, but I’m crumpling up this bad memory and flushing it down the toilet and tommorrow I am coming back with all my confidence and effort! I’m going to be strong and forget about it like Rob does.”
I was lucky to have Robert Horry as a mentor. On every team some players really have a sports mind and can see every little nuance and others can’t see any of it. Rob is one player who seemed to see every single detail of every game. When we were on the court together, he’d see something on defense and shove me and yell “Go double team that, I’ll watch your man.” The first time I was scared to leave me man for fear he’d score and Phil would highlight it on film review the next day. But soon I realized that Rob was rarely wrong with his defensive assignments and he ALWAYS had my back when he told me to go double. I wish Rob the very best in everything and I look forward to seeing him soon on Dec. 15th.