FanShot

Lockout affects Minneapolis businesses

MINNEAPOLIS — Bill Edlefsen might be the most loyal Minnesota Timberwolves fan you'll ever meet. He's been a season-ticket holder since the NBA franchise's infancy, more than two decades ago, and he sits in the Twin Cities' version of the "Jack Nicholson seats," right by the visitors' bench. "They should send a cab for me," Edlefsen joked in reference to his loyalty to the team. But even Edlefsen sounds a bit depressed when the topic of the NBA lockout comes up. After all, the longtime fan knows his team's perceived offseason momentum has slammed to a halt. "I think it's really, really sad for the Timberwolves," said Edlefsen, a manufacturer's rep. "Because they've got a quality coach (Rick Adelman), and with (point guard Ricky) Rubio coming in and (rookie forward) Derrick Williams and everything, people were excited. "It's kind of a shame." With the first month of the NBA schedule already canceled and the growing possibility more games will be lost, others in the Minneapolis area are starting to share Edlefsen's concern — especially those with businesses that have a symbiotic relationship with Timberwolves basketball. This lockout affects far more than millionaire players and billionaire owners. Plenty of relatively blue-collar locals could see their bottom lines take a hit if the NBA's labor dispute lingers. Yusuf Ahmed, who works as a parking-lot attendant near the Target Center, said the NBA lockout has become a concern for his business. "When the Timberwolves play, it's really super busy," Ahmed said. "But now I don't know. If the Timberwolves play, (the parking lot) would be full. We used to make a lot of money. But now I don't see it Plenty of Minneapolis pubs rely on the presence of NBA stars in the nearby Target Center to get their business flowing. The article goes to list a few more examples. I am going to have to disagree with the article with respect to this: The walls of sports-memorabilia retailer Pro Image are lined with countless clothing items representing the Minnesota Wild, Vikings and Twins. But, at the moment, only a few Timberwolves jerseys are scattered throughout Pro Image's racks, like the Wesley Johnson one in the back. From my experience nowhere carries more than a couple Love and a couple Wes jerseys. Its got a helluva lot more to do with the state of the Timberwolves than the state of the lockout as the article seems to imply.

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