The 22-year-old superstar shows no fear on the basketball court and no filter off it. The Words of Ant are always candid, often four-letter colorful, typically hysterical and loaded with thoughtful insight.

Anthony Edwards has blossomed into one of the NBA's truly elite players, and his interviews have become as captivating — and instructive — as his high-flying dunks. His media sessions are appointment viewing because one never knows what will come out of his mouth, other than his unvarnished opinion on any topic.

A wider audience is getting a glimpse into Ant's personality throughout the Timberwolves rollicking postseason run that continues Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

His candor is a breath of fresh air in the social media age when professional athletes tend to guard their true thoughts in fear of saying something that goes viral or upsets their organization or offends someone somewhere. Everything has become so scripted, so vanilla.

Ant lets 'er rip.

He doesn't sugarcoat answers or peddle spin. He calls it as he sees it, good or bad. The organization backs him all the way by allowing him to be himself.

His supreme confidence is wrapped inside a playful innocence that is charming. He successfully makes trash-talking sound endearing. He offers pointed observations about a teammate in a way that is disarming but also baked in truth.

Edwards didn't just welcome TNT commentator Charles Barkley to Minnesota this week. He told the Hall of Famer to "Bring Ya ..." well, you know what he said. And now Minnesota might have a new state slogan.

When asked if the team wanted to win Game 7 vs. Denver for point guard Mike Conley, who was 0-4 in Game 7s previously in his career, Edwards responded, "I want to win it for myself. I wasn't with Mike whenever he was in Game 7s, so that has nothing to do with me. I want to win it for myself."

On a lackluster loss in Game 3 of that series: "They just whooped our [rear end], that's all it was." He used the word in the new state slogan instead of rear end.

On Game 7 fourth-quarter hero Naz Reid being a minus-5: "The plus-minus is trash."

On his mindset going into Game 6 of that series: "Just shoot it every chance I get."

On Karl-Anthony Towns' superb defense on league MVP Nikola Jokic: "[Towns] stayed out of foul trouble like I told him in Phoenix. I mean I cussed him out. I cuss him out every chance I get. Bro, stop fouling." He punctuated that last sentence with another colorful word.

There is truth in comedy, and once laughter from one of Edwards' zingers subsides, the underlying message reveals both his incredible basketball IQ and his leadership qualities.

Edwards understood the surest path to defeating the defending champions was if Towns stopped committing silly fouls so he could play more minutes because he served as their best option to guard Jokic.

Edwards labeled Jaden McDaniels the MVP of the series — not himself or Towns — because he recognizes McDaniels' value as an X factor. When McDaniels plays well offensively, the Wolves usually win.

Rarely does Edwards conduct an interview without giving a teammate a "shout-out" for his impact on the game. Even on nights when he's the leading scorer and star of the game, he always shifts the spotlight to a teammate. He empowers them by praising them. That's the hallmark of strong leadership.

"He's really enjoying the cerebral parts of the game right now, being demanding of his teammates, his leadership," coach Chris Finch said.

Finch noted that Edwards criticizes himself when he has a poor performance, as he did after Game 3 against Denver. He usually responds with a show of force the next game, as he did in Game 4 of that series.

Edwards exchanged words with Nuggets guard Jamal Murray at the end of that game.

"'We love that. Keep talking that. That's what we like,'" Edwards said he told Murray. "Well, I loved it. He didn't say nothing back. But I'm pretty sure he heard me. You live for that."

Here's hoping Ant never loses his exuberance and comedic candor. The state always can use fresh tourism slogans.