Minneapolis • Coming from the Phoenix Suns, one of the first thing that comes to mind when Ty Corbin thinks about his move to Minnesota is the cold.
Another lasting image: the dome.
Saturday, on another cold Midwestern morning, officials deflated the Metrodome once and for all.
The venue opened in 1982 and was the longtime home of the Minnesota Vikings. Beginning in 1989, it served as the temporary home to the Timberwolves in the franchise’s first two seasons. The building was cavernous and not built with basketball in mind. There were "long runs to the locker rooms at halftime," said Corbin, who was selected by the Timberwolves in the 1989 expansion draft.
But the fans flocked to games that season.
"It was freezing, but the fans were great and they came out and supported us," Corbin said Saturday, as his Utah Jazz prepared to face his old team at the Target Center.
Minnesota set an all-time NBA attendance record in the Wolves’ inaugural season, bringing in an average of 26,160 per game. On April 17, 1990, the third-largest crowd to ever watch an NBA game — 49,551 fans — were on hand for a Wolves-Nuggets game.
"Absolutely great memories," Corbin said.
On draft night, Trey Burke walked onto the stage and shook NBA commissioner David Stern’s hand while wearing a Minnesota Timberwolves hat.
"My first interview, that’s when they told me," the rookie point guard said. "So I had to take the hat off and put the Utah Jazz hat on."
Midway through the season, the draft night trade that sent Burke to Utah in exchange for Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng has been one-sided.
Burke is averaging 13.9 points, 5.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds a night, and is in the running for the Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile, Muhammad is averaging 1.1 points in 11 appearances. Dieng, in 21 appearances, is averaging about 3 points and 3 boards.
As for those hats?
"I know somebody took it, the officials that were working," Burke said of the Minnesota cap. "Never seen it since."
The Jazz hat, however, is back at Burke’s home in Columbus, Ohio.
"I’ll always keep that one," he said.
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