Wolves Dedicate Newly Renovated Court

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer
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Forget Facebook, MySpace, or even Twitter. The best way to discover the relationship status of your favorite Wolves' player is to ask them.

On Thursday afternoon, the Minnesota Timberwolves dedicated a newly renovated basketball court at Minneapolis' North YMCA's Community Youth and Teen Enrichment Center.

Center Ryan Hollins and forward Sasha Pavlovic assisted in the christening of a state of the art new floor. The crowd of 10-16 year olds quickly took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions, which is usually the most unpredictable portion of a community event.

One young lady seemed uninterested in basketball but showed no hesitation in digging into Hollins' personal life.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" The question received a chorus of laughter from the adults in attendance and Hollins was caught off guard.

The 7-footer bounced back and replied, "Yes, I have known her since we were five years old, like some of you guys."

Following the event, Hollins chuckled when asked about the inquiry, "I'd say yeah, and I have kids also, so you guys need to hush, pay attention a little bit. It's priceless, you know, the things that come to their minds, the joy, the smiles, the games, the laughter, it's just natural with them -- kids being kids."

The children were in a jovial mood due to the fantastic facilities that are now at their disposal. Over a year and half, the YMCA has been under construction to update several areas that include the office area, swimming pool, and of course the basketball court. The Wolves Fastbreak Foundation made a significant contribution to help the refurbishment process.

"It means a lot, because our community is really looking to find support in numerous ways," executive director of the Youth and Teen Enrichment Center Henry Crosby said. "Not only in time, talent, and resources, but also helping young people overcome any fears about being able to accomplish anything they want to do. These players actually add a lot of desire and hope for these kids; we also want the kids to know that organizations like the FastBreak Foundation are the key players in making sure these kinds of relationships continue to develop, so that we can keep giving them the exposure."

Wolves' radio producer and studio host John Focke anchored the event and welcomed team president Chris Wright to represent the franchise. After the presentation, Wolves' clinic host Steve Brown led a basketball clinic with Hollins and Pavlovic.

"Many of these kids will never get to a game to see these guys, or to get this close to them and have this kind of fun," Crosby said. "We want to continue to promote the foundation as well as the team; we want to support the players, and we also want the kids to know that they can overcome anything that they're faced with, and they can have aspirations too."

The future stars of the NBA and WNBA will have a tremendous facility to hone their skills at a young age. The new court features six adjustable glass basketball goals, Wolves and Lynx logos on both sides, and a track high above the floor.

Hollins spent a portion of his youth at the Boys and Girls Club, unfortunately in a less attractive building. The Wolves big man understands the importance of place like the Minneapolis' North YMCA.

"It means a lot, just to be able to come and give back to the kids, make sure they have a good time -- it's all about them and keeping them off the streets, keeping them in a positive environment, and keeping them doing things," Hollins said.

The 100 kids walked away from the dedication ceremony with a new t-shirt, tickets to a Wolves game, and a spanking new court. Oh, and we all now know that Mr. Hollins has a girlfriend.

Hey, all you have to do is ask.
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