Karl-Anthony Towns Opens Up And Shares How He’s Coping After Losing Several Family Members, Including His Mother, In 2020: Playing Basketball ‘Always Brought A Smile To My Mom’
It’s been a trying year for so many, including Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns. The all-NBA two-time All-Star lost his mother, Jacqueline Towns, earlier in the year after she died due to complications from COVID-19 according to the NBA.
On top of that, the unimaginable of losing your mom being painful enough, Towns said he also lost a lot close family members.
“It’s hard…I’ve lost a lot of close family members to me, people who have raised me, who gotten me here,” Towns said during a virtual press conference.
According to ESPN, Towns had “six other family members who also died of complications from the coronavirus”.
“I’m just trying my best to keep my family safe,” Towns said. “Just like my mom. So, trying to keep my sister, the kids, my dad out of harm’s way. Keep my family out of harm’s way. I’ve seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months, eight months but I have a lot of people who have, in my family, my mom’s family, who have gotten COVID and I’m the one looking for answers still trying to find out and keep them healthy.”
Towns also said there’s a lot of responsibility on him to keep his family well informed and “to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive.”
Towns opened up in a Timberwolves’ media availability for their star player, talking more than just basketball, but social justice issues along with a lot of what he’s been going through personally the past several months.
Earlier in the year, Towns posted a video update on Instagram of what him and his family was going through and was asked by a media member where he found the strength to do that which “raised a lot of awareness for people that was really needed” and “probably helped a lot of people”.
“I have to thank my parents, I thank one, most importantly I thank my faith in God,” Towns said. “Just the strength that comes when you’re in those kind of situations. My mom always told me it’s very easy to do the wrong thing and to be a troublemaker and to not be a professional. But it’s a very hard thing for you to be a professional, do the right thing, even when it’s not the coolest thing or it’s not going to be regarded with the most cool factor on social media or whatever or even with the media…doing what the right thing to do is a as a human being, as a man, and as a professional.”
Towns continued to talk through why he did the video while also honoring his mother’s legacy, sharing the vital life lessons he learned from his beloved mother.
“She’s told me that through all the situations I’ve had in my career that could’ve had me act a different way and act like a man that doesn’t have…professionalism or have no morals and values but she always kept me, kept reminding me about staying on the up and up and doing what’s right regardless of the situation, regardless of how you’ll be looked on as, and regardless of the backlash and turmoil you might get,” Town said. “If you stay true to yourself and stay true to the man you are, things will always work out in the long run.”Karl-Anthony Towns
The T’Wolves forward said he wanted to use his platform for good.
“So, I just felt that with the platform that I’ve been fortunate to garner and the presence I’ve been able to make in this world, I just wanted to use my platform for good,” Towns said. “I would be lying if I said that I knew I had that kind of strength in me to do something like that at an emotional standard, when I’m not a person that’s a very emotional guy. But, situations brought the most strength out of me that I needed. I look back and it’s through all the things I’ve been through in my life and all the teachings and times my mother sat me down and raised me to be a man that I was able to do something like that.”Karl-Anthony Towns
Towns said the video came from a place of not wanting people to feel as lonely or upset as he was.
“I just wanted to help people,” Towns said. “I’ve always been a person since I was young I just never wanted people to feel at the pain that I felt. That was one of those moments where I leaned back on myself to, I didn’t want people to feel the way I felt and I wanted to try to keep them from having the ordeal and situation that I was going through. I think that’s where the video really came from. It just came from a place of just didn’t want people to feel as lonely and upset as I was. So I really made that video just to protect others and just to keep others well informed even when I knew that it was going to take the most emotionally out of me than I’ve ever been asked to do.”Karl-Anthony Towns
“I play this game more because I just love watching my family members see me play a game that I was very successful and good at and it always brought a smile to my mom,” Towns said. “It always brought a smile for me when I saw my mom at the baseline and in the stands…having a good time watching me play. So, it’s going to be hard to play. It’s going to be difficult to say that this is therapy. I don’t think that this will ever be therapy again for me. But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had.””
The All-Star forward mentioned his teammates help him take his mind off of what he’s dealing with, make him have to be a leader on and off the court. Towns said he’s “very fortunate” his teammates give him a chance to redirect his attention for “however long he gets with them” whether it’s on the phone, through texting, or on the court.
The T’Wolves forward talked about the support from people like teammate Ricky Rubio (who “lost his mother to cancer” according to The Player’s Tribune), as Towns said: “who (has) been through his process with his mom and now we’re living through this process with time so finding that kind of comfort with talking to Ricky and kind of going through the same situations, really.”
Towns will be playing with a heavy heart this season after going through a season of pain. Yet he still is carrying out his family’s legacy by the way he’s conducting himself and remembering the valuable lessons his mother taught him.
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.
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