Minnesota vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale
never worried about swingman Malik Sealy. Sealy had interests
beyond basketball. He dabbled in acting and clothing design. He
loved to talk politics. He was armed with a management degree
from St. John's. "He was such a multidimensional guy," McHale
says. "You could have a conversation with him about anything.
And he always had a book with him. The last one I saw him
reading was Tuesdays with Morrie. I don't think you'll find too
many guys in the NBA reading that."
Early last Saturday morning McHale was awakened by a frantic
phone call from coach Flip Saunders informing him of the
unthinkable: Sealy had been killed in a head-on collision when a
pickup truck traveling the wrong way on a divided highway rammed
After eight seasons with four NBA teams Sealy had found a niche
in Minnesota. He was inserted into the starting lineup on Dec.
22 when the Timberwolves had a 9-13 record and the team went
41-19 thereafter. Known as a defensive player who did the little
things, Sealy also emerged this season as a reliable perimeter
shooter, averaging 11.3 points and shooting a career-high 47.6%
from the field. "He had become one of the key guys on our team,"
McHale says of Sealy, who was set to sign a long-term contract
with the T-Wolves worth close to $4 million a season, after
becoming a free agent on July 1.
Sealy's stunned teammates have rallied around his wife, Lisa,
and their two-year-old son, Malik Remington Sealy, the little
boy they call Remi. Veteran Sam Mitchell accompanied the police
to Sealy's home so Lisa would not have to hear the horrific news
from a stranger.
Lisa had spent last Friday evening boxing up the family's
things, preparing to return to New York City, where Malik grew
up. Instead, she and young Remi will linger in Minnesota, their
boxes packed, their destination unknown, waiting to bury a
husband and father who had every right to believe his whole life
was in front of him.
COLOR PHOTO: LAYNE KENNEDY