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'Minnesota Nice' has been replaced by a new, cheeky slogan for the state

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

There's a new tourism slogan making the rounds in Minnesota. Instead of Minnesota Nice, often used to describe the reserved friendliness of the state's residents, the new one is still friendly, but also a little salty. Credit the star player of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves for the change. And a warning - the phrase includes a word that could be considered vulgar. Peter Cox of member station Minnesota Public Radio reports.

PETER COX, BYLINE: It was dramatic when the Minnesota Timberwolves won a come-from-behind Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets to advance to the NBA's Western Conference finals. After the game, Charles Barkley did a live television interview on TNT with Timberwolves star guard Anthony Edwards.

CHARLES BARKLEY: OK. I have not been to Minnesota in probably 20 years.

ANTHONY EDWARDS: Bring ya a**.

COX: Within hours, Edwards' cheeky remark was all over Minnesota Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. People were posting best restaurant lists for Barkley's visit. Businesses were getting in on the meme too. By the next morning, Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism board was posting photos of Minnesota's tourist destinations with the phrase printed across them, the S's in that last word replaced by stars.

LAUREN BENNETT MCGINTY: It's been pretty huge.

COX: Lauren Bennett McGinty, executive director of Explore Minnesota, says weekly visitors to their website tripled. Social media impressions shot up 7,000%.

BENNETT MCGINTY: This has really given us a lift that you can't pay for, honestly.

COX: At last Wednesday's Wolves game, Brooke Moss and her sister Lauren Sundick walked into the arena wearing T-shirts that said...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Bring ya a**. We actually had them made by a friend of ours in Atlanta has a T shirt business, and she overnighted them to us last night.

COX: The slogan is hidden in a state proclamation, and Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey has been using the phrase liberally.

JACOB FREY: There's a few things that are as effective as a well-placed cuss word, and I think Anthony Edwards just hit it on the head.

COX: He says it's been a great hook for showcasing the city. And if you're not into sports, Minnesota just wants you to, you know, bring it.

For NPR News, I'm Peter Cox in Minneapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Peter Cox
[Copyright 2024 NPR]