Nothing quite compares to winning a championship. It's something that you cherish forever and will never forget. Just the memories of the celebration afterward are something you can never really duplicate, never even come close to matching. The postgame celebration, the spraying of champagne in the locker room, everyone was ecstatic. Nothing else mattered at that point; it was only pure joy. The following days, I just walked around with a glow.
When we got back to Minnesota from Atlanta, the airport was mobbed with fans. We came down the escalator, and it was crazy. There were hundreds and hundreds of fans there just wanting to share the experience with us. I had never seen or been a part of anything like it -- it was amazing.
And yet, it was somehow topped the next day when we had our championship parade down Nicollet Avenue. The sidewalks were packed with fans. They were at least four rows deep on every block. When we turned the corner to head down Seventh Street toward the Target Center, it looked like there was a sea of fans just waiting to congratulate us. I was in a car with Seimone [Augustus] throwing out candy to the fans and signing autographs. The support was overwhelming; it was really unbelievable.
Those are easily the top memories of my postseason career. Honestly, I'm just lucky that I have some playoff memories to look back on. I've been lucky enough to be on a lot of really good teams over the years, and I'm just fortunate to have the opportunity to look back and reflect on some of these memories from earlier in my career.
Once you reach the playoffs, the atmosphere is unlike anything else, especially in the first two rounds, where one slipup can mean you're going home early. With a best-of-three series, you can't slow down at all. You need to play your best for every minute of every game, or the series could slip through your hands. It's tough to keep that level up, but a chance to win a ring is why we play.
At that point of the year, you've put in the hard work. You've already spent all the hours in the gym, all the days watching film, and you simply need to go out there and execute. The playoffs really are the ultimate test to see which team is the best in the league. If you don't win in the playoffs, nothing else you did during the season matters. Playoff games usually come down to a couple of possessions here and there where you need to just execute your plays.
Every year, the playoffs are an absolute thrill ride of emotion. Hopefully our run this year will be as fun as it ended up being last year!