An NBA Fan's Quest To Target Center

David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

An NBA Fan's Quest To Target Center

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Ask Andrew Meehan about the Timberwolves. Chances are he’ll come up with the right answer.

The 16-year-old knows this team. He can recite the Wolves’ injury situation this season, give a history lesson on the likes of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio and produce facts like Minnesota being one of five teams this year to beat Oklahoma City twice.

Meehan knows the Wolves and he knows the NBA. And it’s even more impressive to know Meehan is watching from Portlaiose, Ireland, a country not known for having a strong hoops following.

But Meehan has played basketball for three or four years and has been hooked on the NBA for much of that time. The Wolves are one of the teams he follows closely, and over the past week he got the chance of a lifetime to take in the NBA atmosphere at Target Center. Meehan and his dad, Bernard—who is the foremost authority on the Book of Kells—took in the Wolves’ games against the Lakers, Thunder, Grizzlies and Celtics.

At first, the opportunity seemed too good to be true.

“I was watching the NBA and my mom said, ‘Do you want to go see some games?’” Meehan said. “I said, ‘Haha, very funny. Good joke.’ She said OK, do you really want to go? It went from there.”

The two made the trip to Minnesota and stayed with a host family in Roseville. During their trip, they took in the Mall of America and other sights around the Twin Cities, but the main attraction was Target Center.

That’s where Meehan got the chance to take in NBA games and really take in the full atmosphere of game day. They were able to sit on the bench during warm ups prior to Saturday’s game against Memphis, check out the locker rooms, and Meehan also got to talk about his experience on the Wolves Radio Network’s pregame show before Monday’s game. During the games, Meehan got to see what the entire NBA atmosphere entails—something that isn’t always possible on television.

“It’s different—the crowd is so much louder here than they are on TV,” Meehan said. “The fan involvement with the halftime shows and stuff. You don’t get to see that during commercials and stuff during commercial breaks. It’s different—it’s good. It’s not what I expected.”

Wolves Vice President of Fan Experience Jeff Munneke accompanied Meehan and his dad during some of their pregame adventures at Target Center, and he said he was impressed with just how much knowledge he had about the game and the Timberwolves.

The Wolves’ current advertising campaign is titled “Get Closer,” focusing on the up-close experience fans can get as season ticket members for the Wolves. Munneke said Meehan, a special guest that traveled more than 3,500 miles to see NBA basketball, got a taste of that “Get Closer” feel when he was in town.

“I was teasing him that he’s not really here for the players—the dance team is performing here in a couple minutes, too,” Munneke said. “I think he enjoyed that as well, but the people that were with him were just in awe of how big the players are, how hard they’re working. That night they had the other team there as well, and we took some photos out at center court, took some photos on the court. I think they’re thrilled.”

Meehan said his favorite Wolves player is Kevin Love, because of his mix of size and power while also being able to shoot from outside. He wasn’t able to see Love play on this trip because of his broken right hand, but he was able to see firsthand why he enjoys watching Minnesota play.

“I like their work ethic,” Meehan said. “I think they’re very strong. I mean, obviously injuries this year have made things difficult…It’s been tough, but they’ve persevered.”

After enjoying a weekend of NBA basketball, Meehan said it’s an experience he won’t soon forget. Not only was it exciting to see the games, but the atmosphere and energy from the fans and the music inside the arena were unforgettable.

“Far more than we would ever have expected,” Meehan said. “I never thought I’d be able to sit courtside and see the team warm up. Everyone is so nice. Since we’ve been here, everyone has been so nice to us. The service has been fantastic since we got to the stadium. Everyone has been good. It just made us feel looked after. It made us feel really good.”

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