NBA Hoops

How Timberwolves fans found an unlikely rallying cry: The $20 Naz Reid tattoo

Melissa Rohlin

At 82 years old, Geraldine Mannie did what she called the craziest thing of her life: She got her first tattoo.

But it wasn’t of her two children. Or her four grandchildren. It was of Naz Reid, the Minnesota Timberwolves center, who comes off the bench.

It all started when Mannie’s daughter, Shelly, saw a social media post from a local tattoo apprentice, JC Stroebel, who began offering $20 Naz Reid tattoos last week. Shelly wanted one, and jokingly asked her mother if she were interested, fully expecting to be rebuffed. 

“I said, ‘Well, yeah,'” said Mannie, who didn’t hesitate to get the 6-foot-10, 264-pounder’s name inked onto her left arm Monday. “I didn’t even have my hair combed. I had no makeup or nothing. I looked like hell.”

As of Tuesday morning, Mannie was one of 136 people within just one week who had taken advantage of the $20 Naz Reid tattoo deal at Beloved Studios in Roseville, Minn. Stroebel said at least another 136 people are on a waitlist, and he anticipates he’ll do at least 400 Reid tattoos, alongside another apprentice, Jesse George.

The tattoos are just the latest iteration of the frenzy surrounding 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.

The Timberwolves, who trail their second round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, 3-2, are having their most successful season in two decades. And the people of Minnesota have found a hero in Reid, something Stroebel became acutely aware of last week. 

For Stroebel, this whole tattoo idea started after Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals, when the Timberwolves won their second straight game on the road against the defending champion Nuggets. He was overcome with excitement. So, he posted on X to his then-190 followers: “Will tattoo ‘Naz Reid’ on anyone for $20. I’m dead serious.”

Geraldine Mannie, 82, shows off her $20 Naz Reid tattoo. “I never thought she’d go through with it,” said her daughter Shelly. (Photo courtesy of Geraldine Mannie)

When he awoke the following morning, the post had taken on a life of its own. TV crews had reached out to him. His inbox was being flooded. He was just an apprentice who hadn’t even asked the store owner’s permission to run this deal.  He was stunned. 

Now,…

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