Once again the Wolves have hit the skids. This will be the ninth straight season they miss the playoffs. Think about that for a second -- nine straight seasons in a league in which more than half the teams qualify for the postseason. No other NBA franchise can match that level of futility.

Even some of the perennially bad teams -- such as the Wizards, Warriors and Kings -- have avoided this sort of drought. Over the years here, we've witnessed bad draft choices, awful trades, poor coaching, front-office mismanagement and now, what, injuries? Well, it's always something.

Hope is an easy sell. But losing is an identity unto itself. For years, the New York Mets were considered lovable losers. Remember those early Tampa Bay Bucs teams under John McKay? Floridians were mesmerized by all the losses and flocked to the stadium to witness records for futility.

Perhaps the best example is the Northwestern football program of the late 1970s and early 1980s. After the Wildcats' record-setting 29th straight loss, a 61-14 home drubbing at the hands of Michigan State in 1981, their fans charged onto the field and tore down the goalposts. They chanted "We're the worst!" as they carried the posts out of the stadium.