Could Gus Johnson be Timberwolves’ Next Play-By-Play Voice?

Photo: Mitchell Layton - Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore were expected to go big game hunting for the next TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves. This, after the Wolves and Bally Sports North decided against renewing the contract of 10-year veteran play-by-play commentator, Dave Benz, following the 2021-22 season.

Gus Johnson is one of the best and most unique play-by-play voices in the world and he would certainly qualify as “big name”. Johnson started his NBA career with the Wolves back in 1996 on the Midwest Sports Channel (MSC), before moving on to the Knicks and eventually becoming a broadcast mainstay for the NFL, Big Ten (football and basketball) and NCAA March Madness tournament.

Gus Johnson + Timberwolves Speculation

Last week, Judd Zulgad (SKOR North) floated Johnson’s name in a weekly notes column. Then in Sunday’s paper, it was Charley Walters (Pioneer Press) who brought Johnson’s name to the forefront. Walters’ mention really intrigues me. Charley wouldn’t just throw something this big out without there being merit behind it.

Here’s some Reckless Speculation: As the Timberwolves continue to conduct a search for Dave Benz’s replacement as play-by-play announcer on Bally Sports North, you have to wonder if Gus Johnson’s name has come up?Judd Zulgad (SKOR North)

Could Gus Johnson be the Timberwolves new play-by-play voice?Charley Walters (Pioneer Press)

Big Name, Big Expectations, Big History

Dave Benz was really good at his job, one he’d held for a full decade. Much of the fanbase has grown up with him. So when the Wolves decided to go a different direction, expectations immediately went through the roof. Gus Johnson is one hire that would exceed those high, big name expectations.

Minnesota Timberwolves fans haven’t been blessed with much, since 1989. But great TV broadcast talent has never been a problem. I mean, most of our early Wolves memories (for those old enough) are narrated by Kevin Harlan and a young Trent Tucker.

In the 90’s, Wolves TV broadcasts were split between KARE (CH. 11) and two regional sports networks. First, Prime Sports; then in 1995-96, Midwest Sports Channel (MSC). But no matter the channel, the on-air talent was a spirited mix of future stars. Gus Johnson, Michelle Tafoya, Tom Hanneman, Kevin Harlan and Chad Hartman all got their careers started on Minnesota Timberwolves broadcasts.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan