Over the weekend, a seemingly innocuous 106-90 win by the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Miami Heat inspired one of the most attention-grabbing moments of the young NBA season. We will refrain from embedding it here due to its extremely NSFW nature. But if you missed it, the now-infamous tweet from @TWolvesBrasil—a Wolves news account unaffiliated with the team or NBA—can be found here. In the least-freaky way we can describe it, the post showed a cartoon wolf devouring—going to town, really—on some poor, unidentifiable creature in a deeply suggestive way. Let’s just say it was very throat-forward. The caption read, simply, “1-1 VOLTAMOS.” There was also a wolf emoji, for good measure.
Voltamos translates roughly to “we’re back”, and the 1-1 was the T-Wolves record after this early-season victory. That much all makes perfect sense—par for the course from a basketball account. The content itself, however, is unlike anything we’d ever see from an American team account. Like so many unsuspecting scrollers, I had a mountain of questions that needed answering. One of them was taken care of right there in Timberwolves Brasil’s bio. “Not affiliated with @Timberwolves and/or @NBA.” That’s probably for the best.
But some curiosity lingered about the larger ecosystem here. Turns out there’s lots of accounts like this, purporting to represent and/or serve NBA fans of Brazilian heritage by posting equally risqué videos. Lots of them have blue checks. Suns Brasil even took the liberty of creating an AI image of Devin Booker and Luka Doncic (neither of whom look at all like their real-life form) engaged in a smooch. It’s all very horny.
In search of an explanation, I went to Francisco Attié, who works in GQ’s fact-checking department and happens to be Brazilian himself. My first question was: why are these accounts like this? My second was whether he had seen this type of post before. “I don’t know if I’ve often run into ‘horny’ posts,” Attié said. “But Brazilians are notorious for their web engagement with memes and catchphrases. Like the Timberwolves’ post was referencing the phrase ‘o lobo come’/‘the wolf eats,’ that they seem to use on posts after wins.”
Okay, but why did the Timberwolves Brasil account go so hard after the team’s first win? “I think what often happens is that Brazilian accounts mock the other team after winning, give themselves pats on the back as if they’ve just accomplished the unthinkable, and every celebration almost alludes to them being the best to ever do it,” Attié explained. “This is especially true of Brazilians who support teams that aren’t likely to win, or even make the playoffs sometimes. If this win is all there is, let’s celebrate it like a championship.”