On this day in 1980, former Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Kevin McHale was selected by the Boston Celtics with the third overall pick. This began a fantastic professional career in which McHale won three championships.
McHale is undoubtedly the greatest basketball player to come out of the state. He dominated during his time at his hometown Hibbing High School and was named Minnesota Mr. Basketball after his senior season in 1976. He averaged 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in four years with the Gophers, earning All-Big Ten First Team honors after his senior year. His No. 44 jersey is retired by the team.
Along with team success at the professional level, McHale earned numerous individual accolades during his 13-year career as a seven-time All-Star, three-time All-Defensive First Team selection and two-time Sixth Man of the Year winner. His best season came in 1987, when his averages of 26.1 points and 9.9 rebounds on over 60% shooting earned him a spot on the All-NBA First Team and fourth place in MVP voting. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
McHale has held multiple roles during his post-playing career, including as a coach, front office executive and television analyst. He was the general manager of the Timberwolves from the 1995-2009 seasons.