Denzel Washington and Magic Johnson Almost Helped Save the Timberwolves, Then Glen Taylor Stepped In

Denzel Washington, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a single NBA fan alive who doesn’t know who Denzel Washington is. Now, people like Charles Barkley are learning a lot more about the Minnesota Timberwolves. Glen Taylor is already well-versed in many Timberwolves topics, but there was a time when the franchise owner wasn’t involved in Minnesota’s pro basketball team.

Back in 1994, the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise (then just five years old) was in desperate trouble of moving. In fact, they had already been sold to a group “Top Rank” out of New Orleans that planned to relocate the franchise to the bayou. But at just about the same point of the sale process that Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore are in today, the NBA stepped in and voted unanimously to block the sale.

That time Denzel Washington, Janet Jackson and Magic Johnson almost saved the Minnesota Timberwolves

Problem was, they couldn’t find a buyer with enough cash that was set on keeping the team in Minnesota. At the 12th hour, Taylor stepped in, and he’s made a pretty penny for that franchise-saving investment.

But before Glen stepped up back in ’94, there was another group of buyers who was also trying to keep the Wolves in Minneapolis and all three are bigger stars than Alex Rodriguez.

Denzel Washington
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Denzel Washington is known for being one of the best actors of all time, earning accolades for his masterful work in movies such as Training Day, but did you know he also once had an interest in buying a professional sports team? That team, was your very own Minnesota Timberwolves.

According to Andscape’s Marc J. Spears‘ interview with well-known local musician James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, Washington, Janet Jackson, Magic Johnson, and local musician Terry Lewis were all once part of a potential ownership group that came close to purchasing the Timberwolves. But the deal never came to fruition once Glen Taylor stepped up with a $94 million offer.

“We got Magic (Johnson) involved. We had Janet (Jackson) involved, we had Denzel Washington. We put a little group together, and of course, by the time we got everything done, Glen Taylor just stepped in and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to buy the team, and you guys could come in with me.’ And at that point, the [Los Angeles] Lakers had gotten wind that Magic was really interested in ownership, and I think he went with the Lakers as he should have at that point in time. But we said to Glen, ‘No, we didn’t really care about owning a team necessarily. We just didn’t want the team to leave.’ And I think we achieved that because we held things up long enough where they were able to figure it out. So, I think we probably played a part in that.”

Jimmy Jam on Denzel Washington’s interest in purchasing Minnesota Timberwolves

Like Jimmy Jam mentioned, all he really wanted was to make sure the Timberwolves stayed in Minnesota, which aligned with Glen Taylor’s goals too. Who knows what the intentions were of the others involved, but still, we can’t help but wonder what life would have been like with stars such as Denzel, Janet, and Magic roaming the sidelines for the past three decades.

Related: All of the NBA’s Most Expensive Players are Eliminated from the Playoffs… Except for One Lone Wolf

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