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An NBA Star’s Remark Becomes a Minnesota Rallying Cry

Dearest Times readers:

The following article contains a three-letter word beginning with an A that is considered vulgar. We would avoid the term, but it doesn’t seem possible. Profoundest apologies in advance.

OK, deep breath:

“Bring ya ass.”

In the last day or so, basketball fans and the people of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in general have been saying it. That includes the city’s basketball star, who launched it, the local tourism council, and many fans gleeful about a great victory.

It started with the win: In a do-or-die Game 7, the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied from 20 points down to defeat the defending champion Denver Nuggets, 98-90.

Afterward, the winning team’s star, Anthony Edwards, was interviewed by the TV commentator and the former N.B.A. great Charles Barkley.

“I have not been to Minnesota in maybe 20 years,” Barkley said. Edwards interrupted him: “Bring your —” and so on.

The impromptu remark, with a more informal pronunciation and spelling of “you,” suddenly became a meme and then something more.

Minnesotans began asking Gov. Tim Walz to make it the state’s tourism slogan. He responded on social media with the eyes emoji, apparently implying a willingness to look at the idea.

Doubt it? Well, the state tourism board, with or without gubernatorial approval, went ahead and posted the phrase in large letters on its home page, though it did demurely render the offending word as “A**.”

Photoshop virtuosos got to work adding the phrase to the state seal and various area landmarks. Fans suggested the line was the epitome of memorable Minnesota sports sayings, though there was still strong support for a 2005 utterance by Randy Moss of the Vikings who, when asked how he would pay a $10,000 fine, replied, “straight cash, homie.”

On the postgame broadcast, Barkley asked Edwards for a list of good restaurants, and some Minnesotans began recommending places people could bring their, uh, posterior regions for the Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks beginning Wednesday in Minneapolis.

Few seem to be wringing their hands over the proliferation of the three-letter word.

Minnesota sports fans may have other things on their minds. The region could use a winner. Since coming to town in 1989, the Timberwolves have only once before made a conference final, and they lost that one to the Los Angeles Lakers in a heartbreaking Game 6.

The baseball Twins last won it all in 1991. The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, and the Wild and their predecessors, the North Stars, have never won a Stanley Cup. The Lynx of the WNBA have been the major trophy winners in recent times, taking four titles in the 2010s.

Minneapolis-St. Paul is not the first region to embrace a silly slogan, or one to annoy grammar scolds. New Orleans Saints fans are fond of saying “Who dat?” The 1973 Mets celebrated an unlikely run with the inspirational slogan “Ya gotta believe” (they lost in the World Series). The 2008 Phillies asked “Why can’t us?” (they did win).

Mississippi State took a snide insult for their hometown of Starkville and embraced it, dubbing the city “Stark Vegas.”

With athletes, city leaders and, for all we know, maybe ministers and even English teachers, proclaiming Minnesota’s new slogan throughout the Twin Cities, another blow has been landed against the efforts of blue stockings to regulate public discourse and purge the language of naughty words.

Before you accuse Edwards, born and raised in Atlanta, of being a mercenary devoted to the Twin Cities because he is paid there, consider his words to Vanity Fair earlier this year.

New York and Los Angeles are “cool,” he said. “But they ain’t better than Minnesota.”

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