A visual history of pro basketball in Minneapolis

20110201_target-center-renovation_33.jpgAs the Timberwolves and city of Minneapolis seek a $155 million upgrade to the Target Center (pictured above), let’s take a look at how basketball used to be played in the Mill City.

Before the Timberwolves came to town, our hometown team was the Minneapolis Lakers. The team formed in 1947 and took home the championship title in their first three seasons (they won the first ever NBA championship in 1950).

Not only did the Minneapolis Lakers have championships and a big star in George Mikan, they also played in style.

Until they moved to Los Angeles in 1960, the Lakers played at the Minneapolis Auditorium, built in 1927.

mplsauditoriumext.jpg

Here’s what it was like to see a basketball game there in the 1940s:

bballgame.jpg

And here’s the view from the court:

court.jpg

The Minneapolis Auditorium also hosted conventions, auto shows, concerts, speeches and other events.

The building was demolished to make way for the Minneapolis Convention Center in 1989, the same year the Timberwolves made their debut.

The Kimball Organ from the Minneapolis Auditorium, the largest instrument built by that firm, remains in storage.

All images of the Minneapolis Auditorium courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.