The 2013 WNBA Finals now heads south to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday between the Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream, the last two teams standing.
“Anytime you get to this point when you’re at the end of the season in the Finals, these two teams know that there are a maximum of five more games before they’re hoisting a trophy,” said President Laurel Richie Sunday before Game 1 took place in downtown Minneapolis.
“It truly doesn’t matter which two teams are in it. It just matters that we’re at the Finals and ready to bring it on. I think it’s going to be a wonderful way to end what has been a terrific season for the WNBA,” Richie said.
Although Madame President must remain impartial at her league’s championship stage, this certainly wasn’t the case with three other points of view shared with the MSR last Sunday evening:
Ta’Shauna Rodgers, the Lynx’s 2013 second-round pick, had the best seat in the house before she logged the final four minutes of Minnesota’s 25-point victory. “The atmosphere was crazy,” admitted the rookie guard. “It’s great,
Kenyatta Bolden and his five-year-old daughter Madison were part of Sunday’s 13,804 sellout crowd. “I’m a father of three small girls, and I want to encourage them to have role models, and the Lynx provide that for me and my family,” said the father. “The atmosphere here was so much straighter than any event in the Twin Cities.”
Young Madison was too shy, so her father instead spoke for her: “She was into it,” he reported. “She absolutely had a blast and didn’t want to leave her seat. It was great for her to see positive role models. It was so much fun. I said to my daughter, ‘I wish we could stay here all night.”
KMOJ morning co-host Shed G. watched Sunday’s contest from media row — he was among, at best, 10 Blacks among the credentialed media, including two MSR reporters. “It’s a lot of energy [here],” he observed. “Just being here gives you chills and goose bumps to see people do what they supposed to do in supporting your own team.”
Yet in the days leading up to the Lynx’s third Finals appearance, there was more media discussion about the Vikings — and it was their bye week. There was more discussion about their arena roommates, the Wolves, who haven’t seen a playoff game in nine years and counting. There was more discussion about the Twins, who narrowly avoided 100 losses for the third straight summer.
Other than the women’s pro basketball team, the only local pro franchise to play for a league title in three successive years was the Minneapolis Lakers in 1952-54.
“This is a town where we’re known to be bandwagon fans,” noted Bolden. “Whenever a team wins, everyone jumps on. I don’t know what it is — this is a team that has been to the finals three straight years in a row and won a championship two years ago.”
This town also boasts bandwagon media folk: Most, if not all, falsely claim they have closely followed the 15-year-old Lynx franchise since day one when actually they didn’t show up until year 12. And then only after Minnesota native Lindsay Whalen was acquired, sealing the deal for these bandwagoners.
“It’s embarrassing for me…as a Minnesota sports fan,” admitted Bolden. “I think this team is the best sports team in Minnesota history.”
“There’s nobody else really winning championships or anything like that here from football to men’s basketball,” added Shed G. “Some of [the Lynx’s] top players are African American women.”
Finally, the KMOJ personality suggested, “I think there needs to be more exposure for them in our community,” pointing out the Lynx’s seven Blacks on the roster. “I feel that they [the Lynx] need to reach out to our community more.”
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Cutline: Lynx fans at Sunday’s Game Two of the Finals
Photo by Sophis Hantzes