The Minnesota Timberwolves were defeated by the Memphis Grizzlies last Friday, 90-94.
Memphis arrived in Minneapolis the evening before and spent the evening at the Graves 601 Hotel Wyndham Grand. The four-star hotel is located across the street from Target Center, where the Wolves play, but is also attached to the city’s network of tunnels known as skyways. When exiting the Graves one may either elect to walk out on the street or into a lobby, the lobby is bare but connects to a Starbucks and an elevator which takes passengers to either a parking garage or skyway level.
Prior to the Grizzlies morning shootaround I picked up my media credentials from the Wolves administrative office and headed out of the Target Center via skyway. I had some time to kill. Conveniently enough I received a gift-card to Starbucks earlier that morning as a present from my Mother, and there I was. I ventured into the lobby connecting the Graves Hotel and Starbucks and entered the Seattle based coffee shop. There were Marc Gasol, Nick Calathes, and a few other Memphis players also in-line for beverages prior to getting on the floor that Friday morning. A few minutes went by and it was my turn to order.
Standing there, with clerk waiting for orders, I finished frantically skimming the menu above and ordered a hot chocolate. If you’re unfamiliar with how the Starbucks process works; after placing an order the clerk asks for your name so that the Barista may call it after making the beverage. After receiving my receipt I slowly turned to the right, toward the exit, and saw Zach Randolph enter the establishment just as I had done only minutes before. Randolph stepped in front of the same register and ordered the same thing, a hot chocolate. He removed a $100 dollar bill from his pocket. The clerk requested that he pay for the two-something dollar beverage with a card, or a smaller bill. Randolph exited into the lobby where he was met by someone who handed him a $20, returned to the register, and payment was complete. He turned to the right. Moments later, a Barista yelled, “Zach.”
I doubt it even crossed the clerks mind, but two customers – both named Zach – ordered the same drink only seconds between one another. I doubt Starbucks has a protocol for this scenario, the thought didn’t even cross my head until Randolph grabbed the cup with his name on it and went about his way. Before he could exit the Barista yelled, “Zach,” again — I grabbed the cup, also with my name on it, and opened my laptop.
I know, I know — it’s all too convenient. A Starbucks gift-card that morning? You were that early to something? Professional athletes are humans? However, it’s true. In a simple, and accidental, mistake — Randolph and I each drank a beverage intended for the other.