Rudy Gobert Should Focus on Winning, Not Fans Booing
The (9-8) Minnesota Timberwolves have won four-straight games, elevating them above .500 for the first time since November 1. But during their most recent contest vs a depleted Miami Heat team, they trailed by double digits early and fans at Target Center were frustrated. Consequently, boos rained down on Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards and the rest of the Wolves.
Thankfully, a 3rd quarter rally changed the course of the game for Minnesota. And a solid 4th quarter finish sent the Heat back to warm weather with an ice cold L on their record. So, all was good in the winning locker room postgame, right?
Well… not exactly. Because the boos heard earlier in the night were still weighing heavy on some of the Timberwolves roster. Most notably, Rudy Gobert.
I followed up asking if Gobert thought that the boos came from higher expectations from the fans. “I appreciate when they cheer, but I hope they support us in tough moments, too.” pic.twitter.com/mUEbt8y3L5— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 22, 2022
Anthony Edwards: "I love the crowd, man. Tell them, Hey y’all, if y’all listening to this, keep coming, showing us love, stop booing us. We’re going to give you everything we got, man. We trying.”— Jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) November 22, 2022
Reminder for Gobert, Edwards
Why is Rudy Gobert so concerned about how fans at Target Center are fanning? Shouldn’t he and the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves be more concerned with their struggle to remain over .500? I mean, Gobert has yet to prove he was worth the plethora of draft picks and roster assets that new President of Basketball Operations, Tim Connelly, gave up for him. And that’s a large part of why the boos are happening.
Lucky for Rudy, there’s an easy remedy for boo birds at Target Center: Play better.
Which the Timberwolves did later that same night. And guess what? The crowd responded immediately. In fact, Jon Krawczynski’s (The Athletic) question, which prompted Rudy’s complaints, actually surrounded how loud the crowd got in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
That’s when the Wolves turned things around and flipped the momentum in their direction. Jon asked about how that support felt during the run. It was one of the more raucous the home crowd has been all season.
21-5 RUN pic.twitter.com/HiEq9JljBN— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 22, 2022
pic.twitter.com/sZ97wVgcf1— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 22, 2022
But instead of answering the question as asked, Rudy (and Ant to a lesser extent) steered the conversation back to the boos heard earlier; trying to tell fans how to cheer, or in this case, when it’s ok to boo.
But there’s one problem. Fans can boo whenever they want. They pay for the tickets, thus they decide when and when not to cheer or boo their team. If Rudy & Co play better, the boos go away. Just like they did on Monday night. Pretty simple.
Wolves Fans Called Out Again
Remember, this isn’t the first time Minnesota Timberwolves fans have been called out by a newcomer. Last season, it was D’Angelo Russell who called them out from the podium and challenged fans to stand up early at home games until the Wolves scored their first field goal of the day/night.
When DLo did it, the Target Center “quiet ass fans” weren’t loud enough. Now this year, their boos are too loud for Rudy Gobert. But here’s the thing. Professional athletes cannot have their cake and eat it too, in this situation.
If they want sports fans to invest themselves financially and emotionally, then they should expect negative ramifications when they play poorly. Because when you invest in something and it fails, that’s frustrating. If fans are uninvested, then failure is met with apathy.
It’s been a long time since the Minnesota Timberwolves entered a season with the high expectations they did this season. Fans were promised a winner, something they haven’t really seen in nearly two decades. If those expectations aren’t met, players shouldn’t point fingers at fans. They should look in the mirror.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan