Minneapolis-St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx celebrate Black History Month presented by Deluxe with a variety of planned programming on and off the court throughout the month of February. Black History Month Night will be celebrated on Feb. 16 when the Wolves host the Toronto Raptors.
Planned activations and programming throughout the month include:
“The Come Up,” an original content series will feature Black business owners and community leaders in conversation with Timberwolves and Lynx Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Tru Pettigrew. Presented by Deluxe, the discussions will highlight the significance of Black excellence and the importance of uplifting the Black community. Look for episodes of The Come Up on Timberwolves and Lynx digital and social media platforms.
Timberwolves partner, AAWOL (Athletic Apparel Without Limits) recently dropped its exclusive Minnesota-inspired retail collection featuring hoodie, crewneck, and t-shirt styles. The Black-owned business gives a voice to the next generation through sports-inspired apparel. To purchase a limited time design, visit the Timberwolves Team Store on the skyway or 100 (outside section 108) level inside Target Center.
A longtime partner of the Wolves and Lynx, RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) is a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice, and improve race relations. Presented locally by U.S. Bank, RISE’s Champions of Change virtual experience will come to life for fans to explore during game days at Target Center on Feb. 24, Feb. 25 and Mar. 1.
The Timberwolves and Lynx in partnership with Deluxe will also host a Career Development Training Camp on Feb. 25 working with The Black Men’s Success Initiative. The camp is a series of 90–120-minute symposiums, designed to educate, inspire, and empower BIPOC and other historically marginalized youth and young adults with actionable insights, and relevant information that will help them secure and achieve long term success in their career choices.
A new episode of Wolves+ will feature Timberwolves and Lynx Vice President of Basketball Development John Thomas. The Bally Sports North produced podcast and show will air later this month and include a candid conversation with host Marney Gellner.
In partnership with WCCO Radio, Pettigrew and Rebekkah Brunson will participate in a virtual Black History Month roundtable with morning news host Vineeta Sawkar.
Previously announced, the new Education Station, powered by Xcel Energy, will visit four area Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the Twin Cities. At each visit, up to 100 youth will select a book of their choice and receive a book bag of fun and special items. The Education Station will be stocked with books celebrating Black writers and authors, and stories with Black protagonists.
All in-arena entertainment will spotlight Black artists and performers including pre-game, anthem, and halftime performances. On-court, players will wear special Black History Month warm-up t-shirts, designed in collaboration with the NBPA.
Additionally, the Iowa Wolves will debut themed jerseys recognizing Black history for its Feb. 14 game. The team collaborated with local arts nonprofit ArtForce Iowa to create and design the jerseys which will be auctioned to benefit I’ll Make Me A World in Iowa: Iowa’s African American Festival.
T-Wolves Gaming visited the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. The museum preserves, records and celebrates the history, art and culture of Blacks in Minnesota through exhibitions, programs and community events. T-Wolves Gaming had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the contributions and achievements of African Americans in the state.
Black History Month Night – Feb. 16 vs. Toronto Raptors
The night will feature Jovonta Patton singing the national anthem and Jamela Pettiford performing Lift Every Voice and Sing. Halftime will include a special performance by Duniya Drum & Dance and on-court recognition of Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Ujamaa Place by the NBA Foundation. The local organizations are recipients of the NBA Foundation’s latest grant round recognizing their ongoing work to increase economic opportunities for young Black women and men.
As part of the organization’s guest chef platform which spotlights BIPOC-owned businesses within Fhima’s Test Kitchen, Lutunji’s Palate will be selling their signature Peach Cobbler throughout the night. The evening will also highlight new food partners, Soul Bowl and Nashville Coop. The BIPOC-founded and owned businesses joined Target Center this season and are local favorites offering reimagined healthy soul food and authentic Nashville style hot chicken, respectively.
“Black excellence, reflecting on Black history, and spotlighting the central role Black people play within society extends beyond February,” said Pettigrew. “It’s vital we continue to hold space for the Black community during this month, but actively pursue racial equity during the eleven other months of the year. As an organization, we continue to build bridges with our BIPOC communities and uphold values of equity, inclusion, and opportunity for all.”