National Basketball Association
Minnesota governor on Anthony Edwards' 'bring ya ass' rallying cry: 'It lit us all up'
National Basketball Association

Minnesota governor on Anthony Edwards' 'bring ya ass' rallying cry: 'It lit us all up'

Updated May. 23, 2024 3:09 p.m. ET

It's well-known that Anthony Edwards responded to Charles Barkley's comment that he hadn't been to Minnesota in 20 years by saying, "Bring ya ass," after the Timberwolves won Game 7 of their second round playoff series against the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

But the NBA superstar didn't know it would become a government matter.

Minnesota governor Tim Walz was toggling his attention between two TV screens Sunday evening, watching what he described as a "a very intense" legislative session and Game 7, when he heard Edwards' funny line along with the rest of the world.

Walz was highly amused, so much so that he and his communications team immediately began exchanging text messages with the goal of making those three words a rallying cry for a state that had been long-starved of any success from its professional basketball team.


On Wednesday, ahead of the Timberwolves' first Western conference finals appearance in 20 years, their plan came to fruition. Walz declared it "Wolves Back Day," posting an official proclamation to X in which the first letter of each graph spelled, "Bring Ya Ass."

Walz also briefly tweaked his X profile to feature "," a humorous re-direct to his state's tourism site

It's not typical verbiage for the 60-year-old who has served as the 41st governor of Minnesota since 2019, but he wanted to fully embrace this moment.  

"We live in a place where we walk on water half the year because it's frozen," Walz told FOX Sports. "We're tough folks. But it has been a while. When [Edwards] said that, it felt like it just lit us all up."

The rest of the day didn't go as planned for the Timberwolves, who fell to the Dallas Mavericks 108-105 in a hard-fought contest that featured 14 lead changes, seven ties and neither team ever leading by double digits. Game 2 is Friday at 5:30 p.m. PT and the Timberwolves are vowing they'll respond.  

But still, Edwards' "Bring Ya Ass" slogan was the theme of Wednesday night.

After the game, a photoshopped meme of Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic holding up a sign that read "1-0 Bring Ya Ass" popped up online. Both Edwards and Barkley wore "Bring Ya A**" hats. And fans were shown on the video board sporting "Bring Ya Ass" headbands.

Earlier that day, a Minnesota funeral home even went viral for changing its street signage to read: "Cremation Service Available, Bring Ya Ash."

It just shows Edwards' reach, which is far and wide considering he's the most viewed player on the NBA's social and digital platforms these playoffs, amassing 414 million video views, 132 million more views than No. 2 Kyrie irving.

But Edwards' words being celebrated by a governor?

"I saw," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said ahead of Game 1 of the conference finals. "Someone forwarded it to me. It's pretty cool. Real cool, actually. People take to Anthony. Since I've gotten here, he has been extremely popular with the media. I think his genuineness is what people are really drawn to. Something like this, given the moment, certainly catches on. And it's fun to watch the people embrace it."

For the Timberwolves' fanbase, the "Bring Ya Ass" rallying cry is just the latest fun they're having around this playoff run. 

Hundreds of people have gotten $20 Naz Reid tattoos. The decibel levels at Target Center on Wednesday surely reached unsafe levels, with a sea of fans wearing white Timberwolves t-shirts standing, screaming and waving towels for much of the game. Even halftime performer Montell Jordan joined in on the fun while singing his hit, "This is how we do it," amending the first two words of the lyric "South Central does it like nobody does" to "The T-wolves."

What's clear is that this moment means a lot to a city that hasn't had much to celebrate sports-wise recently other than the WNBA's Lynx, who have won four championships.

The Timberwolves have never won a title. The Vikings have reached the Super Bowl four times, but lost each one. And the Twins haven't won the World Series since 1991.

Now, Minnesotans are finally feeling as though their luck is going to change. The Timberwolves came back from a 20-point deficit Sunday, the largest in Game 7 history. And they did it against a Nuggets team that was widely expected to compete for its second-straight title.

For Walz, it was a giant sigh of relief. 

"As a Minnesotan, it seemed like it was the typical script," Walz told FOX Sports. "We get to Game 7 and can't pull it off — and then the magic started to happen." 

So, even though Walz was in the middle of the final five hours of a marathon legislative session in which multiple important issues were being discussed, such as meals for children, he had to take stock of the moment.

Now, the slogan "Bring ya ass" is official government business. In his proclamation, Walz even snuck in a shot about the Minneapolis Lakers being "stolen by the coastal elites and flown to Los Angeles in 1960" following winning five championships from 1949-1954.

He has no regrets. 

"Sports can be fun," said Walz, who helped coach the Mankato West football team to their first state championship in 1999 before turning to politics. "It doesn't have to be all business all the time. These guys are making the game fun." 

Not to mention, the "Bring Ya Ass" movement has even won Walz some favor at home with his 17-year-old son, who hasn't taken much of an interest in his political affairs, but found his father's engagement with the NBA superstar hilarious. 

"It's like, oh my dad does this job and whatever,'" Walz said. "But this one, yeah, he's into it."

More than anything, Walz is grateful to the Timberwolves.

Their success has given an economic boost to the state. Karl-Anthony Towns has been a big advocate for voting rights, playing a major role in the passage of Minnesota's Restore the Vote bill, giving thousands of people who were formerly incarcerated the right to vote.

And, ultimately, the team has just been a lot of fun, led by Edwards, who has captured the hearts of people nationwide and is regularly being compared to Michael Jordan.

"Ant has become like a folk hero almost overnight," Walz told FOX Sports. "It's a 22-year-old guy who has just taken over the league. And just to see him interact with Chuck was so great. And I knew it and my team knew it — texts were flying back and forth — because instantly my comms team said, 'Oh man, this is going to go viral.' They were right."

For Walz, Edwards' three words were a form of poetry, imbuing his constituents with a renewed sense of optimism. 

"That interview on TNT is exactly what people needed," Walz said. "I think it's a shot in the arm for all of us."

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.


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