Former Timberwolves co-owner Marv Wolfenson dies
Marv Wolfenson, one of the two businessmen who brought the NBA
back to Minnesota, died Saturday. He was 87.
Wolfenson died in La Jolla, Calif., Timberwolves spokesman Brad
Ruiter told The Associated Press on Saturday. He did not know any
The Star Tribune reports that Wolfenson died Saturday
Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner were the Timberwolves original
owners when the NBA granted them and Minnesota an expansion
franchise that began play in 1989. They also owned a series of Twin
Cities health clubs.
The team released a statement Saturday, saying the organization
was deeply saddened.
”Marv will long be remembered by our organization as not only
an original owner of the franchise, but more importantly a mentor,
friend, and incredible businessman who helped us all establish the
Wolves in this market,” the statement said.
Ratner died in 2006.
The pair were known as ”Harv and Marv,” working together for
nearly five decades while managing their collection of apartment
complexes and health and fitness facilities.
The Timberwolves marked the NBA’s return to Minnesota after an
absence that began when the Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles
One of four expansion franchises spawned by the league in 1987,
the Wolves were bought for $32.5 million and began playing in the
Metrodome in 1989.
The following season, they went to the other end of downtown
into a new arena, Target Center, which was funded by Ratner and
Their ownership was ultimately unsuccessful, ending in debt
after five mostly miserable seasons on the court. Minnesota went
105-305 during that time and the franchise was sold to a group of
investors in New Orleans in May 1994. The league blocked the sale a
Glen Taylor, a printing magnate and former state senator, wound
up finalizing his purchase of the team in March 1995 with his
limited partners for $88.5 million after a messy transition that
included a widely criticized, publicly funded takeover of Target
Ratner and Wolfenson eventually sold most of the rest of their
holdings, including the chain of Northwest Athletic Clubs in 1997.
But they were regulars at Timberwolves home games, as the team
finally found a way to win and made eight straight playoff
appearances from 1997-2004.