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Arron Afflalo Still Working Toward His Dream

The former Portland Trail Blazer is aiming to own an NBA team, even though he didn’t get to purchase the Timberwolves.

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Portland Trail Blazers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Two Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Growing up in Compton, former Portland Trail Blazers guard Arron Afflalo made money selling donuts at school for a forty cent profit, and that grind has followed him throughout his career. Afflalo recently sat down for an interview with David Aldridge of the Athletic, who details how that work ethic has informed Afflalo’s post-NBA career, especially as Afflalo has tried to pursue ownership of the Minnesota Timberwolves. While the deal fell through — and a new ownership group of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Lore stands to take over — Afflalo is still on the hunt, and he wants to go big or go home.

I want to point to something, but I only do things to be the best that I can be. That’s my motivating spirit. … It’s tailored for my leadership qualities to go for the best. I didn’t have a desire to be a coach or a GM. I wanted to have the ultimate influence and the ultimate impact. Also, some of the events — we talk about Kobe (Bryant) a little bit, and we talk about the social justice times that we are in. It just seemed fitting for a mentality to go for the best.

As for why the Timberwolves in particular, it’s sentimental for Afflalo.

That answer’s pretty easy. If this were any other team, I don’t think I would have had the equal fighting spirit. Knowing Ryan Saunders and knowing Flip Saunders very well, along with the George Floyd situation. … And then when you combine that with the space I was in with the hotel stuff, dealing with billionaire companies and billionaire people, it just created a natural synergy for Minnesota. I just felt that I could help, and be inspirational at the same time. I want to give a lot of credit to Ryan Saunders and Flip Saunders, and all that that city has been through, and Mr. Taylor, for that matter, recognizing that.

Afflalo believes his group has what it takes to own an NBA team.

Three factors that I would want out there. I think I’m achieving some good initiatives for the league, in terms of minority ownership, giving a former player a real opportunity. As we know, most of our league is African American from players, but it’s not reflected in executive levels, let alone ownership. So some of those obvious things. The ability to heal the city. A franchise that, as you know, the NBA is a parent company of other franchises. And we need all the franchises to be doing well. We don’t need four or five teams lagging in support, or draining the league financially. My perspective is making it a winning team, a winning city. And being 35 years old, unlike Michael Jordan, I’ll be a former player with over 11 years’ experience, who can relate to today’s players, because I shared locker rooms with them. And Mr. Taylor asked me all the time: ‘look, Arron, if we get this done, can you get me this, can you get me that? That is the least of my concerns, is getting the players we need. Because I was that guy on every team – just being a grinder, like you mentioned, from a bench guy to a leading scorer, understanding what the players really go through at every level.

While he may have missed his chance for the Timberwolves, there’s still a possibility.

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