When Ronny Turiaf left Gonzaga University for Los Angeles and the NBA nearly a decade ago, he learned to live a professional’s life from Lakers veterans Aaron McKie, Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom and a guy named Kobe Bryant. Plenty of it was tough love. “They showed me how,” Turiaf says now. “Did they ever.” Nine years later, he is back learning all over again, this time in a 10th-floor downtown penthouse office overlooking Target Field alongside other summer interns employed by the Olson advertising agency. While everyone else seemingly is obsessed with Timberwolves teammate Kevin Love’s future, Turiaf this time is focused learning not the ways of the NBA but rather video-production skills, social-media intricacies and other marketing expertise that he will apply to his Heart to Heart foundation and his IVC Global management company that he intends will endure long after his playing days are done. “It definitely feels like when I was just coming into the NBA,” Turiaf said. “Just like back then, they’re throwing me into the fire.” A chance meeting with Olson executives at an event they coordinated with comedian Dave Chappelle last winter led Turiaf to an internship with Olson Engage, the company’s public relations and social media department. Turiaf is fulfilling it in one- to two-week segments when he hasn’t been traveling this summer to Taiwan for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program and to Facebook’s California headquarters and Montreal on business as well as his summertime base in Los Angeles and back home all too briefly to the Caribbean island of Martinique. He is one of 14 interns hired for the summer at $13 an hour, a sum he is donating to the agency’s BrandLab that seeks to broaden the advertising world’s ethnic and cultural diversity through a high-school mentoring program. At age 31, he clearly is this year’s oldest intern, and at 6-9 he is the tallest, too. “Yeah, I think they’re all definitely shorter,” Turiaf said.
Veteran Wolves center Turiaf is a rookie again as summer intern
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Aug 5