Back in the hazy mists of time, 21 years ago today, fresh-faced, peroxide-haired Aussie legend Shane ‘The Hammer’ Heal was pulling ’em on next to Kevin Garnett and a rookie Stephon Marbury 3 for the Minnesota Timberwolves as they took on the Los Angeles Lakers with Shaquille O’ Neal (in his first year with the team) and a rookie Kobe Bryant.
Having started the season fresh off trying to punch on with big Chuck Barkley and the rest of the #DreamTeam, ‘Strayan basketball’s Golden One found himself languishing on the end of the Wolves bench between Stojko Vrankovic (who’d eat goulash from a thermos brought from home on the sidelines) and Cherokee Parks (busy morphing from one of Duke’s clean-cut Krzyzewski Youth into the lead singer of SmashMouth crossed with one of the meth-heads you see punching on near Franger station on a Saturday).
And all because Minny’s coach Flip Saunders somehow didn’t realize he had Aussie Reggie Miller on his bench! That’s a bigger mistake than hanging out with anyone who’s ever said ‘oh yeah, put on The Cat Empire!’.
BUT! Fortunately for the Hammer, Shaq and Kobe were in town, so, not being a bloody wuss, he had a chance to shine in front of a sold out Target Center!
Unfortunately for the Hammer, he only got to play 2 minutes in a blow-out loss to the Lakers (even though Shaq left with an injury in the 1st Q) as the Wolves copped it harder than Warwick Capper when he tried to box bloody Wendell Sailor at Star City Casino!
Not to be deterred, however, the Pride of the Yarra Ranges did what he did best: get ‘em up without a bloody hint of shame. The Golden One snagged a single rebound, took it the length of the court, waved off his mates Stojko and Cherokee, and heaved up a 3-pointer that presumably only missed by a bee’s old fella.
Still, with that single rebound, it was the Hammer’s 32nd best game of his NBA career! Can’t take him to court and charge him for fraud for that!
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