Anthony Edwards’ ascension to Garnett-level stardom

Posted: April 19, 2024

Anthony Edwards: Restoring Kevin Garnett’s Legacy as the Face of Minnesota Basketball

Anthony Edwards had just led the Timberwolves to their 55th win of the 2023-24 season (second most wins in franchise history) when he posed for his 50-point game celebratory photo, holding up five fingers on one hand, and a closed fist with the other. What the photo revealed was a sleeve placed on the middle finger of Edwards’ left hand, but not just any sleeve; it had the number 21 in white text, paying homage to Timberwolves legend, and Minneapolis icon Kevin Garnett.

Edwards, the charismatic superstar, is finding himself among the most beloved Minnesota characters as he ascends up the NBA totem pole — matching only the praise that Kevin Garnett received in a Wolves jersey.

Garnett’s passion on the court captured the hearts of Minnesotans alike. Garnett was making national headlines, taking the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals in 2004 — where they could have won the Championship had All-NBA point guard Sam Cassell not gotten hurt. Through the late 1990s and early 2000s, Garnett defined Minnesota basketball culture.

In the time since Garnett’s departure, the Wolves have been missing the marketable superstar that success in the NBA requires. Whether it’s passing on Stephen Curry in the 2009 draft (twice), or trading for Jimmy Butler just to have him leave after a bitter year-and-a-half, the last 15 years of Timberwolves history have had their fair share of disappointment.

It all changed when Anthony Edwards, the athletic 6’4”, 225lb guard, ushered in a new era of Timberwolves basketball. Despite a few rocky months to open his career, since being drafted with the first overall pick in 2020, Edwards has shined as one of the league’s bright young talents. His raw athleticism and basketball poise is must-see television for fans of the game, and at just the young age of 22, Anthony Edwards is the name on every headline — it was even announced that he will be joining team USA for the 2024 Olympics, along with long-time superstars LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and many more.

What Edwards has is unteachable; it’s the Magic Johnson ear-to-ear smile and the Michael Jordan on-court dominance. Seeing all 19,000 Timberwolves faithful at Target Center on their feet, rallying behind an Edwards boomlet is reminiscent of the love that Garnett garnered from this fanbase. 

Minnesotans love to cling to their heroes, whether it be Prince or Randy Moss, and Anthony Edwards is finding himself among the small list of honorary Minnesota representatives. All over the North Star State, kids can be spotted sporting their new “Edwards” embroidered jerseys.

Luckily for Minnesotans, Edwards is embracing the north-most state with open arms.

“I love Minnesota, it’s my home,” Edwards told reporters.

The Timberwolves are currently on a scorching hot run, having even claimed their first Playoff series victory since 2004. The emerging superstar has an opportunity to lead the much maligned franchise to glory — a foreign concept to the fans who have followed this team since its 1989 debut. 

“I’m looking at Anthony Edwards,” said ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, “When you saw Jordan, and you saw Kobe, that’s what you’re seeing right now.”

Anthony Edwards is restoring Kevin Garnett’s legacy as the face of Minnesota basketball, and maybe Edwards can do what even Garnett couldn’t: bring the Larry O’Brien home to Target Center.

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