Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie gives a large portion of his time trying to figure out different ways to help others around him. He helped lead food and clothes drives last summer to provide for those in need.
After a tragedy occurs, one of Okogie’s first thoughts is always “What can I do right now to help?”
Peter Warden, the team’s equipment manager, approached Okogie prior to Tuesday’s game against Brooklyn and showed him a potential warmup shirt. It read “With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL.”
“Would you wear this?” Warden asked Okogie.
“Yeah,” Okogie said. “We need to get the whole team to wear it.”
Not only did they, but Brooklyn did, as well. The following game against Milwaukee on Wednesday, Okogie asked Finch about the shirts, and the entire Wolves coaching staff donned them during the game.
Okogie then went to Warden asking to get everyone to sign their warmup shirts for a potential auction. That set Friday night into motion, in which the Timberwolves, Lynx, Bucks, Nets and Heat teamed up to sign shirts to auction off, with the proceeds to benefit The Daunte Wright Memorial Fund — the designated official fund to support the Wright family.
Okogie was the catalyst behind the entire effort. He worked Thursday to bring the fundraiser to fruition.
“(The) Timberwolves have been great in giving me all the resources I need to be able to execute this vision we have,” Okogie said. “We’re blessed to be able to auction off these shirts and make a difference right now. But obviously there’s no amount of money that’ll be able to replace Daunte Wright, but hopefully this small gesture can help the family who’s grieving right now, and my prayers stay with them.”
Bradley Smith is a big Timberwolves fan, and his fandom for Jimmy Butler remains.
Smith is also the coffee roaster at Northern Coffeeworks in downtown Minneapolis. Butler is a coffee connoisseur who started his own company — Big Face Coffee — last year in the NBA bubble.
So with Miami coming to town Friday, Smith took a shot Thursday, sending a tweet to Butler and telling him if he needed coffee in Minneapolis, Smith had him covered.
On Friday, Smith quote-tweeted that tweet with a photo of himself and Butler at the coffee shop with text that read “Thanks for hanging and talking coffee, @JimmyButler.” Butler retweeted Smith.
“Jimmy is one of my favorite all-time players,” Smith said in a message to the Pioneer Press.
Was it the tweet that drew Butler into the shop? Who knows. That was supposedly one of the coffee shops Butler would stop at when he played for the Wolves. Smith said it may have just been convenient for the all-star.
Still, when Butler stopped in, he and Smith, the self-appointed “unofficial coffee provider of Timberwolves Twitter,” discussed a number of topics, from pour-overs to Big Face Coffee to Friday’s game.
Smith attended Friday’s game. He harbors no ill will toward Butler regarding his ugly exit, instead pinning that situation on former Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau. He wishes Butler nothing but the best. The Heat are his NBA Finals pick.
Still, Smith’s allegiance to the Timberwolves put him in an awkward position Friday.
“I told (Jimmy) if I boo him, it’s nothing personal,” Smith said. “He said he loves the boos.”
Jaylen Nowell missed Friday’s game with the right tibia contusion that’s previously caused him to miss time. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said it’s an issue of pain tolerance and pain management.