Lynx players posed for their usual pregame outfit photos before Friday night's 81-76 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. But after the photos were taken, the artist known online as "NBA Paint" buckled down and got to work on Microsoft Paint.

Pregame player photos got a small doodle added to the bottom right corner: a pixelated, 8-bit stick figure. It's nothing fancy, but it's a video game-like style that has become familiar to online NBA fans over the past 3½ years.

The Lynx collaborated with artist NBA Paint (@nba_paint on X, and @nbapaints on Instagram) to hold the WNBA's first Paint Night. Since late 2020, NBA Paint has posted basketball-related doodles, often puns, for an online following that's grown to nearly 500,000 fans. The artist used Microsoft Paint to create an ant logo for Anthony Edwards and commemorated the Timberwolves' recent playoff run.

The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks had all played host to Paint Nights, but a WNBA team had yet to collaborate with the doodler since the Rockets' first Paint Night last December. Early this year, the Lynx staff reached out to the artist, and the wheels started turning.

"It's always super exciting to be the first people to do something, and just seeing the love that he's gotten on the NBA side, we knew there were folks on the W side that would appreciate something similar," said Bailey Alto, Lynx director of marketing. "Not only do our existing fans love it, but it's a chance to bring in a new community [that is] maybe more familiar with the Timberwolves."

For WNBA or NBA teams, organizing a tried-and-true Paint Night meant working with the artist to create new social media graphics, design a matching team logo and produce merchandise. The teams' logos on screens in the arena matched the same style.

"Working with the Lynx has been amazing, and their social team is incredibly talented," NBA Paint told the Star Tribune via direct message; NBA Paint posts work anonymously online. "I'm excited about my first [WNBA] partnership, as it'll definitely open the door for continuing to produce W content and work with W teams."

White baseball caps with a doodle-ified Prowl mascot dotted the Target Center stands. When the light-blue T-shirts featuring a pixelated Prowl dribbling a bright orange basketball ran out in their size, some fans sized up in order to snag one.

Though originally unsure whether a Paint Night entailed any physical paint, Lisanne Dogaard of St. Paul sported the limited-edition hat and called the doodle cute and "meme-like." A first-time Lynx attendee, Dogaard was drawn to the cap because it was fun and less serious than normal sports merchandise.

In a season when the WNBA has seen a surge in ticket sales, sponsorship interest and broadcast viewership, it seems in step to see a crossover between what had formerly been an NBA internet sensation and, now, women's basketball.

"We've seen it on the NBA side. As one team starts to do it, everyone else is like 'Oh that's really cool. I should think about that, too,'" Alto said. "I hope it spreads throughout the W, and then hopefully we'll get a chance to bring it back on the Timberwolves side this season."

The end of the game was no different, with a fitting postgame graphic to recognize the Lynx victory.