The Minnesota Timberwolves are named after a fierce animal, so you know they have to be a tenacious team! What they lack in titles, they make up for in loyal fans who have helped the T-Wolves set some impressive attendance records.
When original owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolvenson (AKA Harv and Marv) submitted a formal expansion proposal in 1986, they also held a “Name the Team” contest, which drew 6,076 entries from excited fans. A mind-boggling 1,284 different nicknames were suggested, but the two most common were the Timberwolves and Polars. City councils from across Minnesota were asked to vote, and of course, we know which name was selected by a 2-to-1 margin. With the state being home to the largest wolf population in the U.S., it's a fitting name indeed.
In 1989, the T-Wolves began their inaugural season, with Bill Musselman as head coach. They scored their first victory at the Metrodome when they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 125-118 in overtime before 29,117 loyal fans. However, playing at the Metrodome was just temporary; the following year, they moved into the stunning Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. In addition to being the very first arena in North America to install a green roof, it is one of only a handful in the country with a moveable floor. The venue is also home to another basketball team, the WNBA's Lynx.
At any T-Wolves game, you’ll be entertained by both the Timberwolves Dancers and Crunch, their mascot. Legend has it that Crunch keeps his den deep within the Target Center and is lured out on game days by the deafening howls from fans. He boasts a 15-foot jump (with the help of a trampoline, of course), and his #1 dunk is the reverse power slam. Crunch would never brag about this, but he’s also a past Mascot of the Year winner. So keep that hush-hush!
But what gets every fan really revved up is the game itself, and the Timberwolves have certainly seen their share of star players. In 1995, rookie forward Kevin Garnett had his first start and never looked back, setting record after record and playing in ten consecutive NBA All-Star Games as a Timberwolf. After he was drafted, the team made the playoffs eight straight times, including a berth in the 2004 Western Conference Finals. Other players such as Ricky Rubio have also scored their place in the team’s history. In a 2012 game against Detroit, Rubio put up nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and six steals -- the first such stat in the league’s history.
A beautiful location, a larger-than-life mascot, and a team that never quits -- the Minnesota Timberwolves have found the recipe for getting their steadfast fans through those turnstiles!