Wolves, Coors Light Offer Fan A Chance To Be Player For A Day
Akshatha Anil has always been a Timberwolves fan. Growing up in Apple Valley, she’s been to Target Center and watched the Wolves and her favorite player—Kevin Love—but never had a chance to be up close and personal with the team.
Until last week.
That’s when Anil got the opportunity of a lifetime. Anil won the Timberwolves’ Coors Light Player for a Day sweepstakes, and she was offered the chance to join the team on Thursday and Friday. Anil, 22, was selected after sending a text message in as part of the sweepstakes’ rules.
After she was selected, Anil took part in an introductory press conference with the Twin Cities media, signed an official Timberwolves one-day contract, received a personalized Timberwolves jersey, got shooting lessons from General Manager Milt Newton and Director of Player Programs/Scout Calvin Booth, and got courtside seats for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s literally a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Anil said. “I’d never imagine being able to sit so close.”
Anil got the chance to see what it’s like to be on the inside of the Timberwolves organization for a day. Perhaps the coolest part of the experience was being able to shoot on the Target Center court and get lessons from Newton and Booth. They went over shooting balance, follow through, layups and more.
It took place in an empty NBA arena on the same hardwood where the best basketball players in the world compete.
Between that and the press conference, Anil got to do two things usually reserved for the Timberwolves’ actual players.
Speaking of the press conference, it was both nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. The Wolves treated Anil with the same type of event they hold for their players who really sign with the team, equipped with a Timberwolves backdrop, an introduction and a member of the front office—Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Babcock—sitting next to her. Oh, and a packed room full of the Twin Cities media was on board, too.
“I was really nervous about it, and I thought I would say something stupid, because I tend to do that,” Anil joked. “But it went really well. The reporters and everyone was so nice. I really enjoyed it, and it wasn’t intimidating like I thought it would be. And signing the contract was so awesome and getting the jersey. It was really cool.”
During the press conference, which included mock questions from the media ranging from what style of play Anil will bring to the team to how she will complement Kevin Love on the floor, Anil was able to joke around a bit while also expressing her gratitude for having the opportunity.
The whole experience ended on Friday night, when she sat closer than she ever had as the Wolves took on the Lakers. It was the type of Don’t Blink moment she’ll never forget.
Anil said she was grateful to the Wolves and to Coors Light for allowing her to enjoy such a memorable experience.
“They’re insanely kind,” she said of the Wolves and Coors Light representatives. “Everyone was so nice to me, and I don’t know, like when I was on the court and the general manager (Newton) was there, I wasn’t expecting him to actually show me how to shoot, basically because I don’t know how to do that. He was kind enough to take time out of his day to do that. So that was incredibly nice of him.”
Anil might have been the Coors Light Player of the Day, but she’ll be a fan for life.
“I’m really glad they started this and I get to—I’ve never heard of anyone being able to play on the court before,” Anil said. “So stuff like that, I think it’s amazing. Hopefully they continue doing this in the future years.”