Are you on the prowl for interesting Minnesota Timberwolves facts?
Despite the franchise’s relatively short history, the Timberwolves have already made quite the mark on the National Basketball Association (NBA) — having enjoyed long playoff stretches and individual accolades. They have also generated exciting headlines with blockbuster trades and top draft selections.
For all of the Twin Cities’ basketball fanatics, here are 29 of the most fascinating Minnesota Timberwolves facts!
1. The team was founded in 1989
Throughout the NBA’s 75-year existence, multiple expansion franchises have been added to the league. While many teams have endured since the 1940s, the Timberwolves franchise was only founded in 1989.
2. They are the fourth-youngest NBA franchise
Since the Minnesota Timberwolves’ inaugural season in 1989, only three additional franchises have entered the NBA — the Memphis Grizzlies, the Toronto Raptors, and the New Orleans Pelicans.
3. They debuted alongside another expansion team
One of the more overlooked Minnesota Timberwolves facts is that they weren’t the only team to enter the league in 1989. The Orlando Magic debuted in the same year — making them the NBA’s fourth expansion team in just two seasons.
4. They are not Minnesota’s first basketball team
Before relocating to the city of Los Angeles in 1969, the iconic Lakers franchise belonged to Minneapolis. The state of Minnesota was without a professional basketball team for the 20-year period that followed.
5. They held a fan contest to name the team
As Minnesota’s new team was preparing to join the NBA, the club held a “name the team” competition. The two finalists were the “Polars” and the “Timberwolves.” Needless to say, the latter option was the one that stuck!
6. They have quite a few team colors
While most major sports franchises might have two or three team colors, the Minnesota Timberwolves pull from a large color palette. The team’s main colors include midnight blue, lake blue, aurora green, frost white, and moonlight grey.
7. The name of their mascot is Crunch the Wolf
The Timberwolves’ mascot is a wolf by the name of Crunch — named after team sponsor Nestle’s famous chocolate candy bar. Rumor has it that Butterfingers was also considered before the franchise ultimately opted for Crunch.
8. They share an arena with the Minnesota Lynx
The Timberwolves currently play at Minneapolis’ own Target Center — a 19,000-seat multi-purpose arena that also hosts the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, as well as countless live concerts and events year-round.
9. They made the playoffs eight consecutive times
While the Timberwolves may have struggled to be competitive during their first few years in the league, they managed to make the playoffs for eight straight seasons from 1997–2004 — one of the Minnesota Timberwolves facts that make its long-time fans the proudest.
10. The team’s majority owner also owns a WNBA team
Long-time owner Glen Taylor owns not only the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves franchise but also the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx franchise. Founded in 1999, the Lynx have won a league-high four WNBA championships to date.
11. They have produced a league MVP
Many Timberwolves players have enjoyed exceptional individual seasons, but none greater than power forward Kevin Garnett’s 2003–2004 campaign. Garnett won the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award that year, averaging 24.2 points and a league-high 13.9 rebounds per game during the 82-game regular season.
12. They have contributed 20 all-star game selections
Minnesota has sent multiple players to the NBA all-star game — including ten-time selection Kevin Garnett, three-time selections Kevin Love and Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Sam Cassell, Tom Gugliotta, and Wally Szczerbiak.
13. They have produced two Rookie of the Year winners
The Timberwolves have had two Rookie of the Year (ROTY) award winners in consecutive years — athletic wing Andrew Wiggins in 2014–2015 and dominant big man Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015–2016.
14. They have yet to win an NBA championship
Although the team has managed to make runs deep into the playoffs in years passed, the Minnesota Timberwolves are still in pursuit of their very first NBA championship — one of the Minnesota Timberwolves facts that fans are most eager to see reversed.
15. They haven’t won a conference title either
The Minnesota Timberwolves won the first two playoff rounds to advance to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Unfortunately, Kevin Garnett’s squad fell to Kobe Bryant’s and Shaquille O’Neal’s Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
16. They have won a division championship, however
After the 2003–2004 regular season, the Minnesota Timberwolves won the Midwest Division — an effort that earned them the first overall seed in the Western Conference playoff picture.
17. They have the same all-time leader in five major statistical categories
With regards to the Timberwolves’ greatest player ever, there is no debate. 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Garnett is the all-time leader in all five main statistical categories — points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks.
18. They have only retired one jersey number
Despite being in the league for more than 30 years, the Timberwolves have only retired a single jersey. The number two was retired in honor of Malik Sealy, a Timberwolves player who was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 30. Controversially, Kevin Garnett’s number 21 has yet to be hung in the rafters.
19. They ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2018
Despite enjoying eight consecutive postseason runs from 1997–2004, the Timberwolves didn’t reach the playoffs again until the 2017 –2018 season when they earned the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
20. They have had 14 head coaches
One of the most astounding Minnesota Timberwolves facts is that the team has had 14 different head coaches in roughly 30 years — from established names such as Dwayne Casey and Tom Thibodeau to rookie head coaches such as Ryan Saunders and Chris Finch.
21. Only one head coach has made it past three seasons
The only Timberwolves head coach to endure for more than three consecutive seasons was Flip Saunders. The team’s most successful head coach to date, Saunders led the Timberwolves during their stretch of eight consecutive playoff appearances between 1997 and 2004.
22. They lost their most successful coach in 2015
Although he departed from the Timberwolves in 2005, Flip Saunders returned to the head coaching role in 2014. Unfortunately, he passed in 2015 due to a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
23. Kevin Garnett retired with the Timberwolves
Despite being drafted by the Timberwolves and playing for the team from 1995–2007, Kevin Garnett had the most career success with the Boston Celtics — the team where he won his lone NBA championship. Kevin Garnett was traded back to the Timberwolves in 2015 for his final season, however, and retired a Minnesota legend.
24. They have won the NBA draft lottery twice
The Timberwolves have managed to win the number one overall draft pick twice in their history. The team used these picks to draft prodigious center Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015 and high-flying combo guard Anthony Edwards in 2020.
25. They traded for two former number one picks
Despite only winning the NBA draft lottery twice, the Timberwolves made headlines in 2014 when they acquired two former number one picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. The three-team blockbuster deal saw Minnesota legend Kevin Love depart for Cleveland to team up with Lebron James.
26. The franchise’s estimated value is $1.55 billion
In 2021, the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise was valued at $1.55 billion. While this might seem like a high valuation, Minnesota is just the 28th most valuable franchise in the league.
27. A baseball legend is part of the ownership group
In July 2021, former Yankees and Mariners baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez joined long-time owner Glen Taylor and e-commerce tycoon Marc Lore as a co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
28. The team’s majority owners are set to change in 2023
Although Glen Taylor has maintained majority ownership of the Minnesota Timberwolves since 1994, he is expected to hand control of the franchise to co-owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore by the year 2023.
29. The team’s future is bright
The young Timberwolves broke yet another playoff drought this past season when they returned to the NBA playoffs — finishing 10 games clear of a .500 win percentage and earning the Western Conference’s seventh seed. The team’s young core of Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell poses to be a threat for years to come.
Wrapping Up Minnesota Timberwolves Facts
Given the team’s bright future and many exciting seasons ahead, more fascinating facts about the Minnesota Timberwolves are sure to follow.
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.