'It's crazy': Timberwolves fans go viral for Naz Reid tattoos during playoff run (2024)

  • 'It's crazy': Timberwolves fans go viral for Naz Reid tattoos during playoff run (1)

    Kalan Hooks, ESPNMay 16, 2024, 12:53 PM ET

Tattoo artist JC Stroebel was fired up when he posted the special offer on social media -- one that Minnesota Timberwolves fans couldn't turn down, especially those of Wolves center Naz Reid.

After Minnesota defeated the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 in the Western Conference semifinals to secure an early 2-0 lead, Stroebel posted on X that he'd tattoo Reid's name on anyone for $20. He has taken on the initiative with his partner Jesse George at Beloved Studios in Roseville, Minn.

"I sent out the tweet thinking if I just find one person to tattoo Naz Reid on, I think it could be cool," Stroebel told ESPN. "And locally it would be really funny if I found somebody to tattoo it on, and I made the mistake of underestimating the fan base, which is hard to do in Minnesota because they're always showing up. But I was shocked to see how many people engaged with it and wanted it. ... I think this is so much bigger than winning."

Stroebel saw the Timberwolves' playoff dominance as an opportunity to celebrate the franchise with life-long artwork.

"Timberwolves fans haven't had a ton of postseason wins or things to celebrate in the postseason, and so this just turned into an opportunity to celebrate that and to do something special for the Wolves fans because we're so thankful to be a part of it and wanted to give back and engage with the community," Stroebel said.

The members of the "Naz Reid operation" have had a general question presented upon them: Why Naz Reid and not Anthony Edwards?

"I just think Naz Reid is someone that represents the fan base. I mean, I've said it countless times now, but he's just the underdog story and I think Minnesota fans really resonate with the underdog story," George told ESPN.

Reid, who was the No. 12 ranked player in the class of 2018 and a McDonald's All American, spent one season with the LSU Tigers, averaging 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft, he signed a two-way contract with Minnesota and earned a multiyear deal after a strong showing during NBA summer league. Reid averaged 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Timberwolves in the 2023-24 regular season, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award.

The Timberwolves sold towels with the 6-foot-9 center's name on them, a testimony to how Minnesota embraces him.

At Beloved Studios, tattoos average about $200 an hour, but the cost is significantly less for Reid artwork. Stroebel and George charge clients twenty bucks for the ink and allow them to choose the placement.

"We have people who are 18 years old all the way up to 82 years old and everything in between -- men, women, it doesn't matter. It's just people who have been fans of the Wolves their entire lives. People who have become fans of the Wolves in the last couple of years," George said.

The artistic duo views the Reid tattoo era as a way to help familiarize themselves with their clients and Timberwolves fans.

"When you throw something out there like a $20 tattoo, you never really know who's going to end up in your seat, and it's just been amazing that every single person that's been in our seat has been an awesome conversation and great person. It's been a testament to Wolves fans and people from Minnesota," George said.

Stroebel's and George's tattoos have caught the eyes of many, including Ryan Tanke, chief operating officer of the Timberwolves, who texted the duo with an invitation to Game 4 that included courtside seats, food and drinks, according to Stroebel. The two were also featured on the big screen at the Target Center, which showed photos of them tattooing, and were labeled "Naz Reid Tattoo Guys."

"It was very surreal and amazing to be in that moment with all the other Wolves fans because this is a combination of not just us, this wouldn't be a thing if people weren't coming to our door, and so I think this a win for every Wolves fans and a testament to our amazing community," Stroebel said.

"It's crazy, I love it. Keep it going," Reid told reporters.

Stroebel and George told ESPN they plan to fulfill Reid's wish of continuing to tattoo his name on Minnesota fans as long as the Timberwolves remain in the playoffs. They also plan to grow their catalog with new Reid tattoo designs and larger Timberwolves designs. They see the tattoo expanding to Timberwolves flash events with other local businesses in the Minneapolis area.

"We've always joked about being the official tattoo artists of the Timberwolves and it was always a joke that we thought would be years and years out but I think we're right now kind of at the entrance of that possibility at least within the fan base," Stroebel said.

On the brink of elimination from the playoffs, the Timberwolves need a win against the Nuggets in Game 6 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) to stay alive and continue the Reid tattoo operation.

'It's crazy': Timberwolves fans go viral for Naz Reid tattoos during playoff run (2024)


Why do people keep saying Naz Reid? ›

People around Minnesota greet each other by saying "Naz Reid" as a substitute for "Hello." Fans chant his name during games. One fan bought a shower curtain with Reid's face on it. A Jeopardy contestant revealed she named her cat after him.

Where did Naz Reid go to college? ›

Nazreon Hilton Reid (/ˈnɑːz/ NAHZ; born August 26, 1999) is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the LSU Tigers. Reid won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2024.

How many championships does Naz Reid have? ›

Naz Reid has not won any championships in his career.

Who has the most rings in the NBA? ›

Boston Celtics center Bill Russell holds the record for the most NBA championships won with 11 titles during his 13-year playing career. As of 2020, Robert Horry, John Salley, LeBron James and Danny Green are the only players to have won championships with three different teams.

How much weight did Naz Reid lose? ›

About food: When Reid arrived at LSU, he said he weighed 272 pounds. Now he's at 246. The weight loss can be attributed to both increased workouts and a change in diet. He had a weakness for fast food: McDonald's, Popeye's, Chick-fil-A.

How did Naz Reid get into the NBA? ›


Reid initially signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Timberwolves. And then a two-way contract. And finally, a full NBA contract.


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