Game Night Spotlight - 2012-13

Editor's Note: Throughout the 2012-13 season, will highlight in-game acts and features that make a night at Target Center memorable and special for fans. Take a look at the different features and events that take place alongside the game on the court. (Photo credits: David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

April 8: 90s Night At Target Center

What better way to follow up 80s night in March than to put together a celebration of the 1990s? The Wolves did just that on Friday during their matchup with the Toronto Raptors, sending Timberwolves fans back to the days of the Backstreet Boys and Starter jackets with a collection of odes to the team's first full decade in the NBA. The Wolves Dancers performed in flashy attire associated with the decade, and Crunch made his mark by wearing Zubaz pants during the game. The Wolves were introduced along with a throwback video, pop culture trivia challenge fans' memories, and our Klondike Challenge included a fan listening to Hanson's "MMMBop" for more than a quarter. But the highlight of the night was probably Timberwolves Karaoke, which featured Wolves players giving their rendition of Ace Of Base's "The Sign." Many of the Wolves had a tough time remembering this 1993 hit—guys like Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio were only 3 years old at the time—but veteran Luke Ridnour stepped up. He not only had the words, but he also hit some of the high notes. Props to Luke Ridnour for keeping Ace of Base trendy in 2013.

March 24: 80s Night At Target Center

The Timberwolves hosted 80s Night at Target Center on Sunday, a throwback evening filled with homage to a decade of big hair, bright pinks and unforgettable pop culture. The Wolves featured several staples of 80s lore throughout the night, including dancer workout attire and some impressive suits and wigs worn by in-arena host B-Wright. There were graphics created specifically for 80s night during the introductions, music was almost exclusively from the decade and in-game contests were focused exclusively on 80s trivia and activities. The Klondike Challenge was having a contestant try to solve a Rubik's Cube, and trivia questions were based on movies and songs from the 80s. But the kicker was old footage of crowds from Target Center's early days, showing off the styles of the times. The video itself was from the early 1990s as Target Center was not built in the 1980s, but the style and the sentiment were still spot on. Those who grew up or lived in the 1980s got a blast from the past for three hours on Sunday night in downtown Minneapolis.

March 17: Circus Juventas Takes Center Stage

Circus Juventas, based out of St. Paul, is a performing arts circus school for youth that performs Cirque Du Soleil-style shows at varying venues. They took center stage on Sunday night during halftime between the Wolves and Hornets at Target Center. The group performs both in Big Top tent settings as well as rented buildings for companies, weddings and other special occasions. But very rarely do they perform for such large crowds like the one at Sunday's game—Joe McEachern, who has been with Circus Juventas for nine years, said it was the biggest crowd he's performed for. The group showcased their acrobatic talent for those in attendance and gave an indication of what fans might see if they attend one of their spring or summer shows. For more information on the group or how to sign up to participate, visit Circus Juventas' OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

March 6: Mini Dribblers Clinic Takes Over Target Center

About 30 kids ages 4-7 got a chance to showcase their basketball skills on the Target Center floor on Wednesday night before the Wolves took on the Washington Wizards. Crunch’s Mini Dribblers Clinic, which is part of the Timberwolves Basketball Academy, offered these young basketball players a chance to learn the game through one hour practice sessions over the past four weeks.

The clinic includes the kids receiving a Crunch t-shirt, a basketball, an autograph from Crunch and the chance to perform at Target Center along with receiving a game ticket. During each of the previous three sessions, the kids practiced their routine for their evening at Target Center three times. The Mini Dribblers Clinic has taken place in area YMCAs as well as venues in Minnetonka and Andover. They hope to perform again at Target Center with another group later this season.

March 4: A Big Week For The Slam Squad

The Timberwolves Slam Squad capped off a busy week of performances on Monday when they Wolves hosted LeBron James and the Miami Heat. The Slam Squad, which performs at select Wolves games throughout the season during the second half, is a popular form of on-court entertainment during timeouts. And over the past eight days, they've gotten a chance to take their talents to the University of Minnesota campus. On Feb. 24, the Slam Squad performed as the U of M women's basketball team topped No. 7 Penn State at Williams Arena, 89-81. On Feb. 26, the squad was back at The Barn—this time as the men's basketball team took on No. 1 Indiana. The Gophers beat the Hoosiers 77-73. Then on Monday, the squad was back at Target Center as the Wolves hosted the defending champions. The Slam Squad is an exciting group that helps add to the atmosphere within Target Center throughout the season.

Feb. 24: Kevin Love Receives KIA NBA Community Assist Award

Kevin Love was honored at center court Sunday with the KIA NBA Community Assist Award for the work he's done with his annual coat drive.

"It's truly an honor to receive the KIA Community Assist Award" Love said. "It's a privilege to be able to help people in need get a warm coat for the winter. The number of coats we received was outstanding."

The 5th annual Kevin Love Coat Drive collected more than 2,500 coats this season, which were distributed to help those in need this winter. Love wanted a way to impact the community when he joined the Timberwolves in 2008, and the Coat Drive has become a major success in doing just that over the last five years.

Love once partnered with Comcast Twin Cities for the four-week Coat Drive. Coats were accepted at seven metro-area Comcast payment centers as well as the Target Center Box Office. Love will personally deliver many of the coats collected to The Salvation Army. He also spoke with the kids on hand and signed autographs.

Feb. 20: Season Ticket Member James Larson Takes Home $10,000

Wolves season ticket member James Larson won $500 earlier this season after renewing his tickets for the 2013-14 season. He was then entered in a $10,000 drawing with fellow season ticket members, and Larson went on to win the drawing Wednesday night during the Wolves/76ers matchup.

Feb. 13: Crunch and DJ Mad Mardigan Invited To NBA All-Star Weekend

Minnesota Timberwolves mascot Crunch and DJ Mad Mardigan were honored for their in-arena talent and each received invites to NBA All-Star Weekend.

A mascot who wears many hats on game night, Crunch is known for his acrobatic antics, silly props, and also his acting prowess. DJ Mad Mardigan always brings down the house with his ability to energize the crowd with the right beat at the right time. In today's world of musical entertainment, DJ Mad Mardigan has a keen ear, and has made himself a crowd favorite.

Feb. 8: NBA Honors Chinese New Year

The Minnesota Timberwolves came onto the court before tipoff donning NBA Chinese New Year Celebration 2013 t-shirts to commemorate Chinese New Years Eve.

All 24 NBA teams who played on Friday wore the shirts to usher in the Year of the Snake with a record 23 live games televised and streamed in China over eight consecutive days. Five NBA teams also hosted Chinese New Year-themed celebrations in their respective arenas.

Feb. 6: Beale Street Flippers Dazzle Target Center

The Beale Street Flippers are touted as most popular act on Memphis' legendary music mecca. The talented group turned Target Center upside down, literally and figuratively. The team spins through the air with incredible athleticism and energy.

"We practice every day right on Beale Street," said a member of the team. "I love it. Being in the NBA, just flipping in front of everybody, I love it."

In this photo, the group took trusting members of the audience and leapt over them with no reservation.

Feb. 4: Crunch Plays Musical Chairs

His birthday in dog years may be inconceivable, but Crunch is still plenty spry as he performs a halftime skit of musical chairs to entertain the crowd at the Target Center. It's difficult for fans to leave their seats at the half when there's still on-court action to be seen!

Feb. 2: Largest Group Takes Target Center Floor

The Target Center saw a massive group of dancers from U Can Danz! Dance Company - the largest group to ever take to the Target Center floor. The girls shook, spun and dazzled the audience with an expertly coordinated performance.

Feb. 1: Pups Hit The Halftime Stage

The Timberwolves' junior hip-hop squad, The Pups, took the stage during halftime on Friday as the Wolves hosted the Los Angeles Lakers at Target Center. The Pups, which features performers ages 7-13, entertained the crowd with their unique dance moves. The group auditioned for places on The Pups' squad back in December, and since then they've worked together to create an impressive routine for the Target Center faithful. Look for The Pups at future games this season!

Jan. 30: LifeTime Fitness Ultimate Hoops 3-point Shootout

R.J. from Burnsville won the LifeTime Fitness Ultimate Hoops 3-point Shootout in which participants must shoot as many 3-point field goals as they can in 30 seconds.

R.J. iced the competition as the last participant on his sixth shot, ultimately sinking eight from the top of the arc.

His predecessors in the contest each hit one more shot than the next, but they were no match for R.J. While his basketball career ended in high school, his friends greeted him like a decorated All-Star as he exited the court.

But just where is his sweet spot on the court?

"Any shot is my shot," he joked.

Jan. 23: Cirque Zuma Zuma Flips Out

Widely considered an African-style Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Zuma Zuma is an acrobatic spectacle - each trick more impressive than the next. They showcased their talent on Wednesday night at Target Center as the halftime performance during the Wolves and Nets game.

Cirque Zuma Zuma features talented performers from 16 African nations, and together, they put on a spellbinding show that leaves spectators' mouths agape. They throw themselves through the air and contort their bodies for a seemingly impossible performance - and they stick each landing with a flawless bounce in their step.

The group says they have plenty more tricks up their sleeve, but their performances are all timed and they have to pick and choose which routine they'll put together each night. And their hard work and unique style pays off: They travel all over the world and have been featured on shows like America's Got Talent. Zuma Zuma has gathered 120 dedicated members over the years, and they make sure to fit in practice nearly every day. Their performances can run anywhere from a short half-time stint to an entire two-hour show.

These troupes have formed tight-knit bonds over the years, and their contagious energy and enthusiasm had audience members on their feet at the Target Center.

Jan. 19: Lion Dance For Asian Heritage Night

Saturday night's game at Target Center between the Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets was Asian Heritage Night, which included a Lion Dance as the on-court halftime performance. The Target Center concourse was also lined with tables displaying Asian crafts and artwork during the evening. Asian Heritage Night was sponsored by the University of Minnesota China Center, which according to their official website has overseen and managed the U of M's exchanges with the greater China area since 1979.

Jan. 17: Red Panda Makes Appearance

On Thursday night during the Wolves' TNT national television broadcast, the Red Panda Acrobat made an appearance during halftime showcasing her unique skill. She rides on a seven-foot unicycle and is able to kick bowls into other bowls that are situated on the top of here head. The performance also prompted Crunch to do a parody tricycle ride during the third quarter break.

Jan. 8: Cody Metz's Special Night At Target Center

Tuesday was a special day for Cody Metz, a 16-year-old from Lakeville who was at the Wolves game against Atlanta through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cody is diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma, and through the Make-A-Wish program he wanted to spend some time with the Timberwolves. Cody spent Tuesday with his parents and about 15 friends watching from a suite, and he got a special visit from Kevin Love during the second quarter. Then he and his parents flew on the team plane to Oklahoma City after the game, where they will watch the Wolves take on the Thunder on Wednesday night.

No question, he is excited about the entire experience.

"I never thought I'd be able to get this opportunity, and I'm really happy about it," he said.

Cody found out about a month ago that he'd be traveling with the team through a video message from Kevin Love. He said he's a huge Timberwolves fan, and even though it will be fun to go to a visiting city like Oklahoma City, the part he's looking forward to most is getting to interact with the Wolves players. "A little nervous," he said. "I met Kevin Love at one of his camps earlier this year, so I'm a little nervous but more excited I'd say." is with Cody in Oklahoma City and will have more on his experience with the Wolves in the coming days.

Jan. 5: Edina Children's Choir Performs National Athem

The Edina Children's Choir returned on Saturday night at Target Center to perform the National Anthem prior to the Wolves' game against the Portland Trail Blazers. This is the second time the Edina Children's Choir has performed at a Wolves game: They sang the National Anthem prior to Minnesota's matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 7, 2012. The choir is led by Jim Hawthorne, and they have also performed at Target Field for Twins games in the past.

Dec. 29 vs. Phoenix: Wolves Honor The Sandwich Man

For Allen Law, a sandwich means so much more than just lunch.

The Minnesota FastBreak Foundation honored Law, “The Sandwich Man,” at center court Saturday night for his dedication to helping the homeless.

Law has devoted his entire adult life to serving families in need. Every evening, he drives through the Twin Cities to make sure supplies, support and sandwiches are provided for those who don’t have the means to provide for themselves.

He began Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc. (MRD) in 1967, which began as an after school, weekend and summertime recreation program for at-risk inner city youth. It has since expanded in scope to serve the homeless, disadvantaged youth and their families.

Throughout his journey, he has seen dozens of smiling faces and success stories. The most rewarding part of his job is witnessing the people that he helps transition into a better life. His impact has resulted in new apartments, jobs and tons of Minnesota kids staying in school.

“Every day, I don’t know how many times someone comes up to me and reminds me of the olden days when they didn’t have something,” Law said. “The involvement that we had has changed their life totally. The whole idea is not to eat a sandwich, it’s to change lives. That’s they key.”

Wolves senior vice president Ted Johnson and SPIRE Federal Credit Union vice president of marketing Casey Carlson presented Law with a team-signed basketball as the Wolves took on the Phoenix Suns.

The Minnesota FastBreak Foundation honored Law as part of the Season of Giving presented by SPIRE Federal Credit Union. During the month, the Foundation focuses on giving the holiday season a little sparkle for Minnesotans in need, as well as recognizing those in the community who dedicate their time to assisting others.

Dec. 26 vs. Houston: Quick Change Steals The Show In A Hurry

This is one halftime show that you won't believe even after you've seen it.

David Maas and Dania Kaseeva are a husband and wife team of Quick Change artists who perform astonishing outfit changes within moments behind a curtain at center court—each outfit more elaborate than the next.

Coupled with music and dance, this performance requires intense dedication and precise timing, which begs the audience to wonder how it became the duo's craft.

"Born and raised in a family of entertainment," David said. "My wife is in the Moscow Circus, we met during the Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center in New York."

Dania is the daughter of Russian circus legend, Rustan Kaseev. Her training began at age six in sport-gymnastics, and later combined her training in dance and acrobatics to create a hula-hoop act with which she made her professional debut at age 14. David's background is in acrobatics, dance and theater, and together, the team has combined their talents to produce one unique show.

They met in 1995 and have toured together claiming awards while performing at NBA games, on cruise lines, and on NBC's America's Got Talent.

David performed one of the final costume changes of the performance Wednesday night and emerged in a Kevin Love jersey—a true crowd-pleaser.

"It's always great being Mr. Love tonight."

Dec. 20 vs. Oklahoma City: STMA Boys Basketball Gets On-Court Spotlight

John Olson's STMA fifth grade basketball team was huddled under the tunnel before Thursday night's tipoff. The boys were clamoring amongst each other, barely letting each other speak, while talking about which players gave them autographs.

They yelled, "Pek!"
One young man had autographs up and down his arms with a Sharpie marker. The namesakes of Alexey Shved and Derrick Williams worked as temporary tattoos and reminders of his special night.

The STMA Knights, enjoying a 11-1 record so far this season, were able to hang out with the Wolves during pregame after scrimmaging in the afternoon. The outing was coordinated by Steve Brown, Timberwolves and Lynx Basketball Academy manager. "What we did is we took the 5A and 5B team, divided them up and then they played against each other," coach Olson said.

Another boy exclaimed that he got a hug from Pekovic. "That's a strong hug," coach Olson joked. At halftime of Thursday's game, Ginger Weber of Northfield was one of the rare few to sink a shot at halftime to win Minnesota State Lottery tickets.

"I was told, no pressure, no one ever makes it," she said.

Ginger proved the crowd at the Target Center wrong. She is not a basketball player, but she perhaps gleaned a few pointers from her son.

"My son plays, and he's about dying right now, he wanted to come to this game so badly."

She'll be coming home to one proud son.

Dec. 15 vs. Dallas: Kevin Love's Donation For Breast Health Awareness

You may have seen the inspirational yet humorous YouTube video earlier this year—Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald shaved Timberwolves forward Kevin Love’s head to raise awareness for breast cancer prevention. For every view and share of the video, Love promised $0.25 to charity.

Well the tallies are in, national non-profit organization Bright Pink received a $43,000 check from Love prior to Saturday's game against the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center.

Bright Pink, which is based out of Chicago, focuses on breast and ovarian cancer prevention and early detection. The organization noted that Love reached out to them.

“Kevin contacted us,” said Carli Lustig Feinstein, Marketing and Communications Manager for Bright Pink. “He said that he wanted to do something in the breast cancer space and was very interested in the prevention side of things. He reached out to us, and added he was looking for a way to give back; we were eager to get involved.”

Dec. 12 vs. Denver: Ultimate Hoops 3-Point Shootout

The top four 3-point shooters from Lifetime Fitness’ Ultimate Hoops adult basketball league came together at halftime of the Nuggets game to have a 3-point shootout. Dan Nguyen of the St. Louis Park league ended up winning, and participant Brian Sames (St. Paul) noted just how much more difficult it was to shoot at Target Center.

“It’s nervous!” Sames said. “You get in front of people and that 3-point line is longer, it’s a little bit of a shock. I was trying to get more shots up, but you get up there and your legs get more tired than you might think.”

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