Star Tribune

A long way away: Wolves' Turiaf has Breakfast at the NBA Finals

Wolves veteran center checks Taiwan off his countries-visited list with the NBA's Basketball Without Borders trip

Blog post by: Jerry Zgoda

Updated: June 16, 2014 - 2:25 AM

You can tell Ronny Turiaf has been around the NBA and the world by two things he has done recently:

First, he made a veteran move and slipped out of Flip Saunders' introductory news conference as coach last week and headed back to his summer internship while reporters were busy talking to rookie Gorgui Dieng instead.

And now on Sunday -- or Monday, actually -- he was wise enough to head west rather than east with the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program developed to spread the game with youth camps worldwide and was able to watch the San Antonio Spurs win their fifth NBA title while having breakfast in Taipei. If he had gone to Europe or Africa on his latest trip with Basketball Without Borders, he would have watched the game in the middle of the night.

Either way, he actually only sort of watched it because buddies Boris Diaw and Tony Parker were playing with so much at stake.

"I tried not to watch too much," Turiaf said.

Too nervous or didn't want to jinx them?

"A little bit of both," Turiaf said.

Turiaf talked by phone early Monday morning Twin Cities time as he headed in a bus just after lunchtime in Taiwan and at that point hadn't tried to text or make contact with congratulations for his friends.

"I'm trying not to have an exorbitant cell-phone bill while I'm over here," Turiaf said.

He is there with Wolves player development coach Bobby Jackson, Toronto's John Salmons and Charlotte's Cody Zeller spreading the game, just as Turiaf had done with previuos Basketball Without Borders excursions to India, Senegal and France.

"This is my fourth edition, something I pride myself on," Turiaf said. "I like just traveling, different countries. It changes my perspective on everything that surrounds me."

This time, he went to Taiwan with his mother.

He shared what he called a "confession" while on the phone.

"My dream is to go to every country in the world," he said. "To be able to come here is something I've always wanted. To get to know the culture, that's something I've very proud of. It's similar to other Asian countries, but with its own twist."

He heads back to the United States on Tuesday and will spend time in Los Angeles before he returns to Minneapolis in mid July to continue a summer-internship with the Olson ad agency in which he is learning public-relations, advertising, video-production and social-media skills he can apply to use with his Heart-to-Heart Foundation.

He's doing that internship in two-week stints, and getting paid $13 an hour.

By the time he gets back to Minnesota, he knows his team could look very different, should Kevin Love be traded by then.

Turiaf was with Flip Saunders briefly in Washington and says Saunders was one of the reasons he decided to sign with the Wolves last summer.

"I know as an organization that Flip will try to make every single step necessary," Turiaf said. "At the end of the day, everybody has to be happy. That's what all parties are doing...Everybody is entitled to their own explanation of things. You never know what people truly feel in their heart. I know Kevin is a winner. He wants to win basketball games. He has proven that because he goes out every single night to win...It's an unusual situation."

This post is from the On the Wolves blog

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