The Courts At Mayo Clinic Square | 'The Gold Standard'

“Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like this… This is truly the gold standard.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said what everyone was thinking on Wednesday afternoon.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, along with Mayo Sports Medicine, held the Grand Opening for The Courts at Mayo Clinic Square.

To help describe how significant this moment truly was, just look at the attendance of Silver. Less than 12 hours before he stood on stage at The Courts in Minneapolis, he was awarding the Golden State Warriors the Larry O’Brien Trophy and handing Andre Iguodala the Finals MVP trophy in Cleveland. That's 751.6 miles away according to the fine folks at Google Maps.

"It feels like less it than 12 hours," Silver joked after being introduced by Wolves radio play-by-play voice Alan Horton.

When it comes to state-of-the-art facilities, Silver knows a thing or two. With his position as commissioner, he’s been able to tour not only all of the facilities around the NBA and WNBA, but some of the best facilities of soccer clubs in Europe and sports organizations in Latin America.

And out of all of them, Silver hasn’t seen anything like The Courts at Mayo Clinic Square. 

In attendance at Wednesday’s Grand Opening was Silver, WNBA President Laurel Richie, Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.

This was something that has been in the works for some time. Construction began in February 2014 when the Wolves, Lynx and Mayo Clinic announced a new partnership. But the idea for a facility like this came well before thanks to owner Glen Taylor, President Chris Wright, CEO Rob Moor and CMO Ted Johnson.

The goal was to have the facility in the heart of the city to remain a big part of the local community. Another goal was to have the basketball operations team work underneath the same roof as the rest of the Timberwolves employees.

It wasn't easy, but after finalizing a partnership with Mayo and moving across the street to Mayo Clinic Square, here we are.

“We both are committed to our local community, we’re committed to growing our brands nationally and to a world-class customer service,” Taylor said. “In addition, this new environment will allow us to continue to develop a more efficient decision-making process between our business and basketball operations.”

None of this would be possible if not for the partnership with the Mayo Clinic, obviously. With Mayo Clinic Medicine located literally a hallway away from the entrance of the Wolves' offices, this gives players the opportunity to get the best care in the business in an instant. That’s extremely rare. When you add in the fact that Mayo has called Minnesota home for 150 years and is the state’s largest employer, that makes the partnership that much more special.

The center won’t just help professional athletes, but will also help the Weekend Warriors who need medical attention.

“It’s for weekend athletes as well. It’s for people, for regular people, who need health care,” Silver said. “And I think what’s so unique about this facility is that you see some of the best athletes in the world treated side-by-side with people who have just your everyday injuries and they need to be cared for as well.”

To say this is the end would be a giant mistake. While the Grand Opening is over, the process has just begun with this partnership. The Wolves have had their struggles on the court over the years, and Taylor along with many others in the organization believe that this is another step to right the ship. Having a state-of-the-art facility doesn’t guarantee a team wins, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. It changes the day-to-day mindset. And having the best doctors in the world just a few steps away is an unmeasurable advantage.

“Having just come from a championship, these are how championship organizations are built,” Silver said. “… To us, of course it’s wonderful to see championships, but we have 30 teams in the NBA, 12 teams in the WNBA and not every team is going to win a championship. But every team can operate in a world-class fashion.”

The Timberwolves are operating like that now and Taylor hopes that means big things are around the corner for the Wolves on and off the court.

“Today will be a day that we will look back on years from now as a game-changer in our franchise history... I feel like we're doing all the right things."