Wolves superfan flies in from Japan to catch latest home stint


You think you're a fan of your team, putting on that purple face paint, or nestling into your favorite Joe Mauer jersey?

You have nothing on Mitsuaki Ohno, a Timberwolves season-ticket holder who will often travel 6,000 miles to catch some hoop at Target Center.

As WCCO-TV reports, Ohno lives in Japan, but still catches Wolves games in person, like he did during the recent home stretch. He spent a cool $1,100 on airfare for his recent visit.

Mitsu first came to Minnesota in 1989 while his father worked at IBM in Rochester, and while attending junior high school he fell in love with Wolves—an expansion team entering the NBA, according to this story on NBA.com.

Another NBA.com story says Ohno has held seats at Target Center since 2003-04—all while living in Japan - that he purchased during the last Wolves post-season run.

“When I enter Target Center, I feel I’m back to Minnesota,” says Ohno, who lives in Kawasaki City near Tokyo. “The Timberwolves and Target Center, I like this atmosphere and excitement.”

Ohno says he sees a new era rising in Minnesota. With Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio leading the way, he saysthe Wolves are once again ready to compete against the top teams in the league.

“If you think about it, just the distance he’s traveling just to maintain his season ticket membership, it’s crazy,” Jeff Munneke of the Minnesota Timberwolves tells WCCO. “We definitely try to give him his money’s worth.”

Ohno tries to see three to four games a year, but vows he will return for the playoffs should the Wolves make the cut.

As for all those games - somewhere in the mid-30s - he misses? He donates the tickets to a youth program the Wolves run, so kids get some choice seats.

“I hope someday the Wolves make it to the finals,” Ohno says. “And I want to watch them play in the Finals.”

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