John Wooden: the legendary coach from… Minnesota?

The year is 1948. A 38-year old John Wooden is waiting by his phone to hear about a hopeful job offer from the University of Minnesota basketball team. Unfortunately, due to the not-yet-apparent effects of global warming, a Minnesota winter storm knocks out the power and the University is unable to make the call to the waiting coach, which leads to Wooden taking the job at the significantly warmer University of California-Los Angeles, also known as UCLA.

This single unfortunate occurrence of typical Minnesota weather is the reason why the University of Minnesota was not home to the greatest college basketball coach of all time, a man who went 671-161 in his career, winning 10 national championships along the way. It begs the question as to what would have happened if Minnesota weren’t a barren winter wonderland…

1948: Due to his Midwestern roots Wooden accepts the job offer at Minnesota and begins a slow process of rebuilding.

1957: Kevin McHale is not born.

1960: After promises by Wooden and Minnesota officials to bring more Minnesota talent to the NBA, the Minneapolis Lakers decide not to move to Los Angeles. That year they draft West Virginia guard Jerry West with the second pick overall.

1964: Motivated by the increasing success of the team, Wooden recruits a 7’2” center from New York named Lew Alcindor. Together they win three national championships in four years.

1969: Alcindor is drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks where he wins the Most Valuable Player award three times. Eventually relations between the team and Alcindor become bitter and in 1975 Alcindor, now named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is traded to the Lakers who are rebuilding after the loss of their star, West.

1980-1988: The Lakers, with the help of stars such as Abdul-Jabbar and recently acquired Earvin Johnson, win five NBA Championships.

1989: The NBA does not start up an expansion team in Minnesota named the Timberwolves, therefore avoiding any possibility of defacing the name of Minnesota basketball and preventing the eventual takeover by the non-existent McHale.

1996: After an eight-year drought, the Lakers acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Orlando Magic and rookie Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets.

1999: With the massive egos of O’Neal and Bryant not responding to the coaching of Del Harris, the Lakers hire Phil Jackson who does not eventually start dating the daughter of the Lakers’ owner. O’Neal and Bryant never start fighting, they become best friends and spend weekends together at O’Neal’s cabin in Brainerd, Minnesota. ESPN loses millions of dollars due to the fact there never was any Shaq-Kobe drama, which means there was nothing to play on Christmas. They eventually only air arm-wrestling and shuffleboard.

2000-2007: The Lakers 7-peat for NBA Champions and spry, 97-year old John Wooden, still coaching the Gophers with such prospects as Kevin Love, continues the winning tradition in Minnesota with their 40th straight NCAA Championship.

2007-present: After 59 years Wooden steps down and is replaced by Tubby Smith who recruits top ambidextrous prospect Jrue Holiday.Present-future: The Gophers and Lakers combine forces and achieve world domination. Smith changes the traditional clock to a sign that simply says “it’s Tubby Time.”

John Moore, diversions editor