Australian Fans Enjoy First Trip To Target Center

Brad Weier and his wife, Tash, are Australia natives who are longtime Timberwolves fans. This month, they got the chance to come to Minnesota for the first time and see four games at Target Center.

Believe it or not, Brad Weier became a Timberwolves fan halfway around the world based on merchandise, not geographic location or even, at the time, a favorite player. When he was 11 years old, Weier—an Australia native—received a pair of socks and a hat donning the Timberwolves logo.

That was more than 20 years ago.

“I’m fairly loyal to my sports teams, so I couldn’t change,” Brad said. “Then the Wolves had heaps of success, so I stuck with it.”

Today, Brad is still a Wolves fan and has stayed true to his squad—despite being geographically a free-agent fan—through all the ups and downs this franchise has experienced. He came on board during the Laettner/Rider years, enjoyed the ride with Kevin Garnett, battled through the post-KG rebuilding and is still going strong today.

But until this month, he hadn’t experienced the Timberwolves in person. That changed when he and his wife, Tash, traveled to Minnesota as part of a three-week North American tour that included four Wolves games at Target Center. Brad and Tash were in the stands for the Knicks, Pistons, Raptors and Bucks games. Their eight-day stay in Minneapolis was the tail-end of a trip that included six days in New York and five in Toronto.

For Brad and his wife—who became a Wolves fan through marriage five years ago—the experience was worth the wait.

“My first game, honestly, I was beside myself sitting in the seats,” Tash said. “The seats are awesome. You can see everything.”

This trip is a testament to the dedication they’ve put toward the Wolves during their respective years following the team. While the Wolves are recognizable in Australia—they’ve had Australian natives like Luc Longley and Shane Heal on the team, and Timberwolves Kevin Garnett jerseys are still visible in pickup games—the team is not always the trendy choice for NBA fandom. That’s reserved more for the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls and other larger-market squads.

Brad and Tash are well aware. Their friends who follow the NBA gravitate toward those teams. In Tash’s case, she’s yet to see a Wolves squad finish above .500 since she’s been following them.

Still, they remain loyal because they’ve fallen in love with the team on the court and they’ve begun developing relationships with the franchise in the business office. Vice President of Fan Experience Jeff Munneke helped get the couple tickets for both the Knicks and Pistons games, and during their stay they were able to meet team personalities like center Nikola Pekovic, assistant coach Terry Porter, player development coach Bobby Jackson and announcer Jim Petersen, among others.

“You don’t expect someone to give you tickets for your first two games at all,” Tash said. “It was really cool to have someone responding here: ‘Come to the games and have my tickets.’ It was so nice.”

That’s another thing the couple have noticed during their time in the Twin Cities. Living up to the “Minnesota Nice” persona, they’ve found locals here much friendlier than in other stops along the way.

“The warmth of the Minnesota people—I know that sounds a little bit corny, but everyone we’ve met at games, at the bars, total strangers in elevators, everyone’s just been really nice. Really friendly,” Brad said. “When they find out we’re from Australia, they think we’re crazy.”

That, perhaps, is the biggest testament to Brad and Tash’s Timberwolves fandom. They left their home in Brisbane during their summer to come to watch the Wolves during one of the coldest winters in memory.

But they’re dealing with the weather, and they’re enjoying every minute of their trip. It’s an opportunity they won’t soon forget.

“The experience has just been awesome,” Weier said.

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