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OKC Thunder's Chet Holmgren, a Minnesota native, plays at Target Center as pro for 1st time

Chet Holmgren made his first NBA appearance yesterday
Chet Holmgren made his first NBA appearance yesterday 01:44

MINNEAPOLIS — It wasn't too long ago that Chet Holmgren was going to class at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, but Tuesday night one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Minnesota hit the Target Center floor as an NBA player for the first time.

Holmgren used to play pickup at Lifetime Fitness in the lower level of Target Center. Now he's leveled up with over 100 people there to watch him.

"Obviously it's great having people that support you and have supported you for a long time at the game and getting to see all the faces you haven't gotten to see in a while," said Holmgren after the game where the Timberwolves won 106-103. "You'd always like to come out with a win in that situation. but it doesn't lessen the, I guess you could say, feeling or impact that seeing everybody has."

Holmgren didn't shoot efficiently, but still had 16 points and eight rebounds — often going against the Wolves' Rudy Gobert.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves
Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to pass while Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends in the first quarter during an NBA In-Season Tournament game at Target Center on November 28, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  David Berding / Getty Images

"He's competitive and he wants to prove people wrong," said Gobert. "I can tell he really has a chip on his shoulder and I love it. I love to watch these young guys be themselves and write their own narrative, write their own story."

While in town, Holmgren did that thing that everyone who moves away from home does upon return.

"Brings back some memories I guess and seeing everything when you're driving by it's like 'I used to live here,' which is kinda weird to think about," said the former Gonzaga University star.

A foot injury cost Holmgren what would have been his rookie season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He's been impressive this year in his first 17 games as a pro.

"I'm always very appreciative of being able to play," he said. "Last season I guess you could say reinforced that. it's definitely something that you think about. This is my first time playing at home in my home city. Which is a blessing. There's only 30 NBA cities in the world and I was lucky enough to grow up in one of them. So it was obviously a cool moment." 

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