Former Timberwolves Turned Media Members Gush Over Anthony Edwards’ ‘It Factor’

Dec 21, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates after making a shot against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are about to start a 7-game Western Conference Finals series against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. They’ll be led by their young playmaker Anthony Edwards, whose superstar seems to grow brighter with every playoff game he plays.

Despite being just 22 years old, it’s beyond clear that Anthony Edwards has a focus and leadership mentality that is well beyond his years. Mixing those personality traits with his talent puts him on a platform for consideration as the face of the NBA. And some of the most influential recently retired former players are taking notice.

Former NBA players turned media members gushing over Anthony Edwards’ “it factor”

Let’s start with Austin Rivers on First Take (ESPN) Tuesday morning where he gushed over Edwards ‘it factor’ and pretty much pre-crowned him as the next face of the league.

“Not only does he embrace the attention, he embraces the attention as a hooper. This isn’t a guy that wants to go to the Met Gala. This isn’t a guy that wants to be seen in Hollywood with so-and-so. This guy’s a complete basketball dog, gym rat. I was with him last year in Minnesota, this dude lives and breathes in the gym. He’s also one of the first young stars that I’ve ever seen be coachable, likable. This is a guy you’d never even know makes max money.

He comes into each game wearing sweatpants. He’s there to do one thing, hoop. He has the aura. He has the smile. He has the charisma. He’s got the fire sneaker. He’s got the explosion in terms of the excitement and polarizing stuff that he can do in the air. He has the body for it. He’s built like a linebacker almost, and he’s a three-level scorer…Most importantly, his teammates have bought into him as a leader…If they are able to go to The Finals, and they are able to win, there is nobody more that can go into Paris this summer with their chest out and say I’m the man, I’m the guy.”

Austin Rivers gushes over Anthony Edwards’ “it factor” on First Take (ESPN)

As the son of legendary coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers has seen some basketball and hung around some legendary NBA players/personalities in his day. If anyone is certified to talk about an NBA player’s dedication to the game or their “it factor”, Austin is probably the guy. And don’t forget, Rivers played with Edwards and the Wolves for a short time, so he knows the guy behind the superstar too.

I mean, who wants to disagree with him? Because it’s hard not to find myself simply nodding with just about everything Rivers says. Nothing jumps out as outlandish. All you have to do is follow the guy for a a couple games and press conferences. Maybe watch a YouTube video, or two, and you will see it too. Ant just has “it”.

Related: Anthony Edwards Gives Chris Finch His Flowers

There are plenty of star players across the NBA, but few if any of them have the makeup of Edwards. Being able to dial in as the fiercest competitor, or wanting to “kill everybody” as he once put it, then immediately flip a switch to the personable, relatable and fun-loving guy that we see every time has a mic, is a marketing miracle.

Anthony Edwards is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ leader

Ant is the absolute dream athlete for any league, the ideal face for any company. And guess what, nobody is going to care that he resides in Minnesota and wears a Timberwolves jersey. Even better though, neither does he.

It’s not just Rivers that’s noticing either. Tuesday on the Pat McAfee show, both the host and his guest Jamal Crawford had plenty of great things to say about Anthony Edwards. McAfee called for a Space Jam movie to feature Edwards, which would fuel the face of the NBA fire, and then Crawford touched on his leadership abilities.

McAfee: “This Minnesota Timberwolves team has become, you know, a sensation. Every clip of Anthony Edwards speaking, whether it’s in a locker room and a press conference is going viral. People say this guy’s this guy’s new face, a league. This guy’s entertaining. He’s funny. He’s a dog, wears his hat sideways, doesn’t give a shit about what anybody has to say.”

Crawford: “His fearlessness gives the whole team fearlessness. Like they all believe they can do anything. He gives a certain swagger, a certain confidence, and he’s authentic and we all connect to what’s real. You know what I’m saying? So he’s he’s very, very authentic. his game is loud. He could do. Keeps you on the edge of your seat. He takes the challenge. He’s a he’s a dog, but he’s leading the pack of wolves as well.”

“Because, yes, the Timberwolves. But they they road, they roam as the pack. They cheer for each other. If you watch their interviews, even him, he’s always picking up somebody else. The next person is always talking about the next person. And for them to be as good as they are, like they they get after you.”

Pat McAfee and Jamal Crawford praise Anthony Edwards’ leadership on the Pat McAfee Show (ESPN)

Whatever realities come with being suggested as the face of the NBA, Anthony Edwards should be experiencing them. Currently, he’s it. He’s him. That only takes on an even more heightened level should Chris Finch be able to get his team ready through another eight victories before putting a bow on the season.

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