Wolves Turn Rookie Press Conference Into An Opportunity To Give Back
The Timberwolves held a press conference on Thursday to introduce the newest additions to the squad—Jarrett Culver, Jalen Nowell and Naz Reid (newly signed to a new multi-year contract). However, this presser was a little different than previous ones.
Typically, Wolves press conferences are held at Target Center or Mayo Clinic Square, but on Thursday the team traveled to the Conway Community Recreation Center and held introductions in front of not only local media, but over 30 local boys and girls aged 10-14. Afterwards, the Timberwolves and Lynx Basketball Academy partnered with the Sanneh Foundation to provide a free basketball clinic with the Wolves rookies to the youth in attendance.
Cool move by the Wolves. The 3 rookies introduced today have changed into athletic gear and are now running a youth camp at Conway Community Recreation Center in St Paul pic.twitter.com/nGuNfaM1Q4
— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) July 18, 2019
It was a nice idea for the Wolves to use a press conference as an avenue to engage with the local community. It was clear throughout that doing so had an effect on Culver, Nowell and Reid.
“It’s special to see young hoopers and kids here being able to share this day because these guys were you guys at one point in their careers,” said head coach Ryan Saunders.
Nowell in particular seemed to take the presence of the youth in attendance to heart.
“When coach Ryan says we were one of you guys, I literally was,” said Nowell. “I was in a gym like this every day just playing. Me and my friends, just running up and down every day. This is what really made me love the game of basketball, so I hope you guys look at us and see that you guys can accomplish this too whether it’s basketball or anything you guys want. Work very hard and you guys can accomplish anything you want to.”
One of the benefits of places like the Conway Community Center is that they act as gathering places where youth can develop peer groups that last for the rest of their lives. Even though not every kid in the gym will go on to be an NBA player—they will go on to achieve at a high level in other areas of their lives.
“I’ve been in your shoes since I was in like fifth grade,” said Reid. “Boys and Girls Clubs, I built a lot of relationships throughout the Boys and Girls Club, it’s a wonderful thing to have. It’s exciting, you just see your peers grow up with you and do amazing things with you and just being wonderful towards each other.”
It was exciting to see the Wolves’ newest players immediately engaging with the community by holding a basketball clinic after the press conference. Each of the new players had a station at the clinic where they ran the kids through drills and shot around with them. Even a little bit of time out of a pro athlete’s day can go a long way towards inspiring local youth. It’s great to see Culver, Nowell and Reid buying into that.