The Timberwolves celebrated their annual Pride Night during Friday's 116-93 victory over Portland, and before the game, center Karl-Anthony Towns grabbed the microphone to say a few words to welcome everyone who came to the game.

Towns also extended an invitation to Twin Cities Pride executive director Andi Otto and his family to be his guests at the game. That meant courtside seats, some time to chat with Towns after the game and autographed jerseys for Otto's daughters Piper and Emma.

To Otto, Towns' gestures to welcome the LGBTQ community on Friday night made a big impact.

"The community doesn't see a lot of athletes who stand up and are welcoming to the community, so to have him express how important it is, it's amazing," Otto said. "Those are things that these two kids will never forget and I can talk about to the community, and the community is not always positive toward the Timberwolves, but we're getting there, and things like that mean the world."

Otto was likely referencing incidents from last season that contributed to strained feelings between the team and some in the community: Anthony Edwards' release of an Instagram video that directed homophobic comments toward men on a sidewalk in September 2022, and Rudy Gobert's liking of a tweet from Elon Musk in December 2022 that mocked the use of preferred personal pronouns, which is important to the identity of the trans community. Both players apologized and said they didn't intend to hurt anyone with their actions.

To Otto, Towns' overtures to welcome his family and all those who were there likely affected a lot of LGBTQ youth in may have been in attendance.

"I think about what that impact is to them," Otto said. "Those little kids who want to play a sport, any sport and they see an athlete like that, and it gives them hope that, even though they're part of the community, they can still play major league sports. It's monumental to see these athletes come out to say, 'I support you all and I will stand here proudly next to you.' That's amazing."

Towns met with Otto and his family for some time after the game outside the Wolves locker room and posed for some pictures. Otto said he will speak about his experience with the Wolves to different segments of the LGBTQ community and hopes that people consider buying Towns' jersey.

"You don't think that they even know who you are and I'm fortunate, I get to represent the community and to see someone like that just stand up and be like, 'You're welcome here.' It just hits you in the heart, and you feel so proud and just motivated to keep going," Otto said. "So hopefully, I get to go back, share the experience with the community and I get to support a man like that. So when they go to think about buying a jersey, they buy his because they know they've got the support. That's epic to the community."