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Wolves’ Minority Owner Alex Rodriguez is Already Helping Build a Winner in Minnesota

Soon-to-be Timberwolves majority owner and baseball legend Alex Rodriguez is taking the right steps to grow a winning culture in the Twin Cities.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves-Media Day
Alex Rodriguez
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the cusp of their most successful era in nearly two decades. Fresh off consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 2004, the Wolves are loaded with talent and primed to achieve even more in year two of the Rudy Gobert experiment.

The meteoric rise of Anthony Edwards has obviously been a huge part of Minnesota’s recent ascent, and Head Coach Chris Finch’s robust offensive approach gives this group a high ceiling. But one often undersold caveat to success in team sports is ownership.

Wolves fans are well aware that the franchise has been owned by business magnate and former Minnesota politician Glen Taylor since 1994. It was not until 2021 that ownership of the team began to shift.

On April 10, 2021, former Major League Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez and his business partner Marc Lore reached an agreement with Taylor to buy the Timberwolves for $1.5 billion. The purchase was set to take place incrementally, with Rodriguez and Lore making joint payments over the course of three years toward owning the team.

In 2024, the two entrepreneurs will make their final payment and will officially be majority owners of the franchise. But the duo has already been an integral part of the Timberwolves’ operations for the last few years, particularly Rodriguez.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves-Media Day
Glen Taylor, Alex Rodriguez, Marc Lore
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

As a former professional athlete who grew up a big basketball fan, Rodriguez seemed to be a great fit in a team’s ownership group since day one. Unlike most owners, A-Rod began his tenure with a thorough and nuanced understanding of how to put athletes in a position to succeed. Even before agreeing to buy the team, he knew what amenities, training staff, and intangibles would need to be in place for players to thrive.

His prior knowledge from an athlete’s standpoint gave him an obvious advantage from day one. But since Rodriguez’s involvement in professional sports until this point had primarily come on the baseball side of things, it still made sense for him to have a few years to acclimate to the pro basketball world.

Fortunately, A-Rod’s adjustment to the NBA landscape over the last two-plus years of minority ownership has been tremendous. He has showed his commitment to the organization through cultivating relationships with the players and coaches, and being a constant presence around any and all team activities.

Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Three Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A Whole-Hearted Commitment to the Timberwolves

Take Anthony Edwards for example. Back in April 2021, Edwards was asked in a postgame press conference about Rodriguez and what he thought about the team’s new owner. Edwards candidly replied that he did not know who Rodriguez was.

Fast forward to the present, and the two appear to have formed a growing bond. In May 2023, A-Rod and Edwards sat court-side in Miami for a Heat playoff game. Rodriguez posted a picture of the two on Instagram, with a light-hearted comment about their friendship as the caption.

These types of interactions have become the norm in the early stages of A-Rod’s ownership. In a short amount of time, Rodriguez has become one of the more personable and visible team owners across the entire NBA.

Alex Rodriguez has not only made an effort to grow relationships with those in the Timberwolves organization, but he has also been intentional about learning from other successful figures around the league. In his travels to support the Wolves at road games, he has done his best to soak up knowledge from his more experienced peers.

Former Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson served as the President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers from 2017 to 2019 and continues to operate as an ambassador for the NBA. Rodriguez has credited Magic with inspiring his entrepreneurial journey, and the two have routinely been seen chatting when the Timberwolves and Lakers play.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Cuban
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Learning From Other Prominent Sports Business Figures

Among the most recognizable and respected figures in professional sports is legendary coach Pat Riley, who also serves as a source of inspiration for A-Rod. The Miami Heat’s President of nearly 30 years authored “The Winner Within,” a book that Rodriguez has stated is one of his all-time favorites.

One of the core concepts of Riley’s book is mastering the art of being a team player, whether that be on the court or in business dealings. It is safe to say that Rodriguez is taking Riley’s lessons to heart as the Timberwolves’ owner. His intentionality in learning from others speaks volumes, and he clearly takes every opportunity to better himself.

We should also recognize that Glen Taylor’s involvement in the ownership transition process has been a big part of making the beginning of Rodriguez’s tenure a success. If Taylor was convinced he wanted to sell the team in 2021, he could have done so instantaneously. Instead, he has taken the time to mentor A-Rod and ensure that he is set up for success as much as possible.

In the end, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Alex Rodriguez could end up as a perfect pairing. His background as a professional athlete and his mentality as a total team player give him the potential to help accomplish something truly special in the Twin Cities. With A-Rod part of the team at the helm, the Timberwolves’ future is brighter than ever.