2020 has been cruel to many people. The NBA community has suffered great loss during this pandemic, but collectively they have fought through it. Few have been as devastated by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic as Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns.
In March, when sports took a pause as the novel coronavirus pandemic began to ravage the United States, the Towns family was hit hard as seven family members including his beloved mother Jackie became infected and eventually succumbed to this deadly virus.
“KAT” was the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He’s been the face of the Minnesota franchise since his arrival, following a standout one-and-done season at Kentucky where he led the Wildcats to a (38-1) record before coming up short in the National Semifinals.
Through all of his greatest triumphs, his mom was right there supporting her son at every game, while giving him life lessons as well.
Towns had to make the very difficult decision to remove her from life-support. The emotional and mental toll that took on him is unfathomable and it’s a credit to him and his supporters that he’s still sane and continuing to persevere through it all.
Basketball is a blip on the radar in comparison to such a real tragedy. Towns said that being around teammates is huge for him and he’s truly thankful for that brotherhood and family feel he gets being around them daily.
Before a dislocated wrist (left perilunate subluxation) sidelined him, Towns was still performing at an all-star level, averaging 19 points and 11.5 boards per game.
He has a very close friend, D’Angelo Russell, who was with him and his late mother throughout some of his greatest life moments. Towns was there for Ricky Rubio during the loss of his mom and Rubio has been there for Towns.
Rookie and 2020 first overall pick Anthony Edwards lost his mom a year ago. He and Towns have something deeper than basketball in common now. TWolves head coach Ryan Saunders also dealt with losing a parent when his Dad, former Minnesota head coach Larry “Flip” Saunders, passed.
Being able to share his trauma and grief with others and confide in his teammates albeit, through text, phone call or face-to-face interaction, has been huge for Towns’ mental stability.
But it still doesn’t mean “KAT” is in a good place mentally and he even reiterated that on opening night saying, “Just because you may see me smiling and stuff, but that Karl died April 13th.”
He goes onto say he’s never coming back.”I don’t remember that man. You’re talking to the physical me, but my soul has been killed off a long time ago”.
Mental health is a real thing and it’s my hope that the franchise and those around Towns are getting him the emotional and mental support he needs to combat this unfortunate situation in his life.
This is a known story because Towns is an NBA star, but this is the unfortunate plight in many families during this very unprecedented time in 2020.