In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

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December 8th, 2015

The Name on the Front (and Back) of the Jersey

By In the Loop

The George kids are kids captains for Mayo Clinic night at Target Center. It won't be easy to top their first trip to see the Minnesota Timberwolves play at Target Center for Caden, Caleb and Mackenzie George. First, their family was given tickets to the game on Saturday, Dec. 5., as part of a community-focused Mayo initiative called Mayo Clinic Night at Target Center. The family planned to make the most of it by going early. Then they learned that the Timberwolves had "something special" in store for them. Before they knew it, they were sitting courtside for the team's pregame shootaround, and shaking hands with Timberwolves Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

Caden, 8, and 11-year-old twins Mackenzie and Caleb, were Timberwolves kids captains on Mayo Clinic night, and they were honored on-court prior to the game. It was the first Timberwolves game for the family, from Grand Meadow, Minnesota, and it was a pretty memorable night. They even posed at center court for photos with Wiggins and teammate, Ricky Rubio. (The Jumbotron doesn't lie.) 

Wiggins and LaVine took a break from warm-ups to greet the family, pose for photos, and sign an official NBA basketball that the Timberwolves gave to Caden along with a team jersey that he wore proudly during the game and didn't want to take off that night, according to his dad, Tracy George. The Timberwolves also provided the family with seats near the basket for the game against division rivals the Portland Trailblazers. Caden was working on his basketball moves in the aisle during the game, we're told, and dribbling and jump-shooting his way through the skyway afterward.

The George family on the Timberwolves' Jumbotron. It was a welcome distraction for the family – particularly for parents Tracy George and Jaynie Reeves – as Caden was scheduled to undergo spine surgery on Monday at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul. The Timberwolves decided to make Caden and his siblings kids captains after hearing Caden's story. (We got word on Monday that the surgery went very well.)

For the Mayo Clinic night event, Mayo  extended an invite to local community groups – YMCA branches, Boys and Girls Clubs, and many other community partners – from both Rochester and Minneapolis. About 1,300 youth and their families attended.

"It was awesome," Tracy tells us. "My boys will follow Andrew Wiggins now and Zach LaVine for the rest of their careers – I can guarantee that … really super guys." He added, "We just would like to thank Mayo – everybody that was involved in setting it up. Also, we'd like to put a thank-you out there to the Timberwolves. They were just amazing."

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Tags: Basketball, Community, Community Relations, Minnesota Timberwolves

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