Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns discussed what it was like having his father in the crowd Monday for the first time since the death of his mother, Jackie Cruz-Towns, from COVID-19 complications in April 2020.
According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Towns said: “Me and my dad got emotional before the game. Because he made his presence known. It affected me because my mom always did that.”
The Timberwolves tweeted a photo of Towns and his father, Karl Towns Sr., embracing before Minnesota’s 112-107 loss to the Brooklyn Nets:
Towns also shared something his dad told him following his 31-point, 12-rebound performance: “He understood how upset I was after the loss. But he came to me, and he told me something I don’t know if he should’ve told me. It got me a little emotional. He told me my mom would’ve been proud with how I played tonight.”
In addition to his father, Towns had “roughly a dozen” family members from nearby New Jersey in the crowd Monday in Brooklyn.
Towns noted that he had grown used to his mother cheering loudly for him and embracing him courtside before games.
He also acknowledged that seeing his family without his mother there with them impacted him prior to Monday’s game: “It was really the first time having family watch me playing in person. And it’s crazy seeing my dad. I’m like, ‘Where’s my mom? She’s gonna come.’ And, obviously, she’s not gonna show up. That affected me, but I go out there and play the best I can for this team.”
Towns, who missed time this season after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in January, has struggled through a trying year both on and off the court.
While he has been personally productive with 24.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, the T-Wolves own the worst record in the NBA at 11-36.
Their next game is Wednesday at home against the New York Knicks.