The 'Emotional' Moment Karl-Anthony Towns' Dad Attended First NBA Game Since Mom's COVID Death
The Minnesota Timberwolves' game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night was a poignant one for Karl-Anthony Towns.
Prior to the match, which ended in a 112-107 loss for the Timberwolves, the 25-year-old center/power forward greeted his father, Karl Towns Sr., in the stands. It was the first game Towns Sr. attended since his wife, Jacqueline Towns, died from COVID-19 complications last April.
Speaking to reporters after the game, the younger Towns — who, in addition to his mom, lost six family members to the deadly virus last year — said that his dad's presence at the game meant "everything" to him.
"He understood how upset I was after the loss," he said of his father, per ESPN. "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."
According to ESPN, Towns Sr. cheered his son on throughout Monday night's game at Brookyln's Barclays Center. In a photo shared to Twitter by the Timberwolves, Towns Sr. can be seen shaking his son's hand from the bleachers. Towns retweeted the image and wrote, "This man right here means the world + some to me. Love You Pops."
"Me and my dad got emotional before the game," Towns told reporters. "Because he made his presence known. It affected me because my mom always did that."
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Jacqueline, who was a constant presences at her son's NBA games, died last spring after she was placed in intensive care after displaying coronavirus-like symptoms. Towns Sr. also tested positive for the virus at the time but recovered enough to be sent home, while Towns later contracted COVID-19 in January.
"My mom would be the one to go at the stanchion," Towns told reporters after Monday's game, ESPN reported, "or be there and wave at me until I said hi to her or came and hugged her."
In addition to his father, Towns — who is dating Jordyn Woods — had nearly a dozen family members attend Monday night's game, he said.
"It was really the first time having family watch me playing in person," he said. "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."
Just before the NBA season began in December, Towns opened up about suffering the personal losses he's endured over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's hard," he told reporters. "I've lost a lot of close family members, people who have raised me, people who have gotten me here."
"I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven-eight months," he added. "I have a lot of people who have, in my family and my mom's family, gotten COVID. I'm the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy. It's just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive."
Towns also acknowledged to reporters at the time that it would "be hard to play" basketball without his mother there to cheer him on.
"I've never been in a mentally good place since that woman went in the hospital. It's getting harder and harder every day, as I keep losing people the season keeps rolling around," he said. "It always brought me a smile when I saw my mom at the baseline and in the stands and stuff and having a good time watching me play. It's going to be hard to play.
The Timberwolves' next game is scheduled for Wednesday night against the New York Knicks.
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