Column: Love's Role In Practice Facility Important To Him, Timberwolves
Not only will Minnesota have a unique setup with its arena and practice facility side-by-side in the downtown area, but it will be a state-of-the-art venue that also partners with one of the most respected names in medicine worldwide.
When the Timberwolves, Mayo Clinic and Block E delivered their joint announcement on Tuesday regarding the Wolves’ new administrative offices and practice facility at Block E—officially renamed Mayo Clinic Square—the group took a moment to play a video with a message from Timberwolves forward Kevin Love. In the video, Love delivered a short but sweet message saying how excited he is to be part of this new facility, which will be available as early as Fall 2014 for both the Timberwolves and Lynx.
If you’re wondering how much professional athletes think about that stuff, Love put it to rest. It’s a big deal, and the involvement Love had in the process proves that. It was a reciprocal approach between the organization and its cornerstone player. Love was brought into the mix early on to give input and help with the pitch to the Mayo Clinic, and in the end his involvement proved to be an important piece of the puzzle.
“It’s great. It’s just, they’re doing things the right way,” Love said about the organization. “I feel honored that they had me participate and speak in front of those doctors and some of the movers and shakers down there for the Mayo Clinic. I don’t know if they’ve broke ground yet or whatever, but I’m excited this thing’s a go. And I mentioned the infrastructure next door. It’s easier than building from the ground up, and we’re excited it will be ready to go pretty soon.”
On Tuesday, the Wolves and Lynx announced a partnership with the Mayo Clinic and Block E to bring a new, world-class practice venue to downtown Minneapolis. The third and fourth levels of the building will include the Lynx and Wolves front offices as well as a new practice court, training facility and Mayo Clinic facility. In total, about 105,000 square feet will be dedicated to the Wolves and Mayo Clinic in what is now a largely vacated building.
The infrastructure is already in place, which makes it easy to begin remodeling and get the project going as soon as possible. It’s why the Timberwolves expect to be practicing in the new facility by the start of next season.
Not only that, but the Wolves expect to have top of the line medical care through their partnership with Mayo—something Love also said he values greatly. Throughout the process, he was able to get to know some of the personnel at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and during those exchanges he got a sense for the type of professionals the Timberwolves will be working with side-by-side. He said he enjoyed getting to know them, and it got him excited for this new partnership. Mayo Clinic will become the official medical provider for the Timberwolves beginning next year.
“I had been down there a couple times, and just seeing that state of the art facility, meeting the doctors and nurses and the people that work there. It’s like a religion down there,” Love said. “They care so much about their staff, their people that live down there. It’s a really, really great place to be. To bring them to the Twin Cities is pretty cool.”
Personally, I’ve been around other training facilities in the NBA and I’ve seen the type of set-ups other teams have. This new training center will give the Wolves more room to work and operate, something other teams definitely have, but it also does something some organizations don’t have. By keeping this training center downtown next to Target Center, it keeps the Timberwolves’ presence in downtown and centralizes all of their facilities. Other teams, for instance, must practice 10-20 miles away from their home arena. This gives Minnesota all the latest practice amenities and medical care, and it does it right next door.
Love was part of this process and had a good view of what these negotiations looked like from the start, and in the end the Timberwolves, Mayo Clinic and Block E seemed to get this training center set up just right.
“I’m excited to be part of this and see how quickly this goes up,” Love said. “It’s a very big deal for us to have a practice facility like this, because we’ll walk in and really have the best of the best.”