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Anthony Edwards Is Forcing Me To Say The Unsayable

Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball over Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets during the game during Round 2 Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2024 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Justin Tafoya/NBAE via Getty Images

I am not a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. I was present for their first-ever exhibition game as an NBA franchise, played at the Metrodome back in 1989, but haven’t given much of a shit about them since that evening. Not even during the Kevin Garnett years. Why would I have? The T-Wolves have never won dick. They can’t even sell themselves without fucking it all up. As such, they’re the perfect avatars for a state that hasn’t won a single championship in any of the big four men’s pro leagues this century.

And yet, I watched these same sorry-ass Wolves play the Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semis on Saturday night—a game in which they blew an early 14-point lead, which was very them of them—and saw something I hadn’t seen from a Wolves team before. It was this man, and this basket in particular:

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen. If you wanna get into a GOAT fight and tell me I’m wrong, go ahead. I’m not assigning GOATS here. I’m just telling you about how Jordan made me feel, as a spectator. I had to watch that man. To miss any moment that he was on the court felt like missing out on the fucking moon landing. No other player has made me feel that way since. Until now. Watch that whole highlight reel above and tell me I’m wrong. Watch all of the Holy Shit dunks. Watch all of the signature turnaround fadeaways with the leg kicking out (that’s the one Kobe stole). Watch Ant make every shot as if defenders aren’t even there.

But most of all, watch the hangtime. It was when I watched Ant Edwards make a basket while falling in midair, and with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope yanking his body nearly parallel to the court, that I recognized what I was seeing. What I’d been missing. Jordan could jump a mile. You might recognize a certain brand logo that celebrates that fact. But a lot of players can jump. It was what Jordan could do while jumping that made him superhuman. He had so much instinctive body control that, when he took flight, it felt as if a time portal opened up for him and him alone. Jordan could do things in half of a second up there that any other NBA player needed five seconds to do. Real Santa Claus shit. That was the difference, and I couldn’t articulate it until I saw Ant demonstrating the exact same power the other night. This was the play that made me realize that I’m gonna have to watch every game that Ant plays for the rest of his career, regular season or postseason.

Because I know what I’m watching. I’ve talked myself into so many athletes, in so many different sports, throughout my adulthood. This is almost always an exercise in delusion. If Ja Morant can stop getting hurt and picking fights with teens, he might just be the truth! When you stumble onto the real deal after all of that self-hyping, your folly becomes crystal clear. That’s what watching Ant Edwards has given me: clarity. This is a special player. You have to be if you’re gonna make the Minnesota Timberwolves into a team to fear and not mock. I should have no business feeling good about these Timberwolves. Then Ant, spring-loaded, takes the court with them and they don’t feel like the Minnesota Timberwolves at all anymore. They feel important. Inevitable, almost.

I could be proven wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. This series is merely a game old, and Denver could reassert themselves at any moment. Meanwhile, the specter of Victor Wembanyana in the coming years looms over the entire league like the Mind Flayer. This is a very tight window of basketball history that Minnesota is attempting to squeeze through. But there’s a reason that Ant is eliciting a good number of cautious Jordan comparisons right now. He’s built to not only squeeze through that window, but to blow it wide open while in midflight.

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