The Timberwolves are the state of Minnesota’s professional basketball team. They are one of only seven teams in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference of the NBA. On January 12, 1984, after almost 25 years without professional basketball in the state, Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich made his mark by assembling a 30-member team of Minnesotans, led by former Minneapolis Laker star George Mikan, to bring the sport back to the state. Over the next few years this group attempted to purchase teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Utah Jazz with no avail. However, in 1987 the state was awarded a new basketball franchise.
The Timberwolves name was developed when the owners
started a “name the team” contest, where
the timber wolf was suggested and finally selected
as the team Mascot. The first season for the team
was conducted in 1989, where they had 22 wins and
60 losses. That year the Timberwolves also had their
first draft pick, Jerome “pooh” Richardson,
who was named the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1989-90.
At the end of the 94-95 season, Kevin McHale, the former Boston Celtics star, was named as the successor to retiring Jack McCloskey as the Vice President of Basketball Operations. In the 1996-97 season, the team made the playoffs for the first time in team history. Also under the directorship of McHale, in the late 1990’s the team signed Kevin Garnett, a graduating high school student with a promising future in basketball.
Garnett proved to be a solid move for the Timberwolves. At this point in his ten year career, Garnett has been named an eight time NBA All Star, six time All NBA, six time All Defensive and four time All Interview. He has been named player of the month eight times and player of the week twelve times. He led the league in rebounding and double-doubles for the 04-05 season. He was the first NBA player to receive four player of the month awards in one season. He was also named the MVP of the 52nd annual All Star Game in 2003. He was named NBA All-Rookie for his first season (95-96), and was named NBA MVP for the 03-04 season. He was also a member of the 2000 Men’s Basketball Olympic Team, which took gold at the 2000 Olympics.
Also providing entertainment during Timberwolves games is their mascot, Crunch, and their dance team. Crunch is a Timber wolf through and through – he even has his own jersey! Crunch can be found throughout the game keeping fans energized and excited about the team. The dance team is made up of sixteen girls ranging in age from nineteen to twenty-seven. They never use a particular dance more than three times throughout the entire season, and their wardrobe consists of almost fifty different outfits.
As a team, the Wolves play together on and off the court. They are heavily involved in the local community, participating in many community service initiatives developed especially for the team. They have helped to bring the NBA supported Read to Achieve program, which is a year round literacy program across the United States. They have a “Junior Wolves” program, which is designed to promote the sport among the youth of the community through summer camps, pre-game clinics, and holding mini-games during half time at Wolves games. The Timberwolves also honor the top ten youth basketball players in the state each year, five boys and five girls, based on their performance throughout the season. Additionally, youth basketball teams can raise money for their programs by selling programs before and during Timberwolves games, and take the profits from selling these programs back to their organizations.
The Timberwolves are the pride of Minnesota Basketball fans and with great leadership from their MVP Kevin Garnett, the wolves are sure to keep impressing ticket holders with every game!