As the NBA tipped off its season amid COVID-19 chaos, Karl-Anthony Towns delivered a sobering reminder of the costs of the pandemic.
The Minnesota Timberwolves center posted a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in a season-opening win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, earning game-ball honors. After the game, he told Fox Sports’ Marney Gellner that he was dedicating the ball to his mother Jacqueline Towns, who died of COVID-19 on April 13.
"It was heavy. It was different. It's just always different. I'm just happy I got this for her."
An emotional KAT chats with @MarneyGellner after playing his first NBA game since his mother's passing. pic.twitter.com/GB3QTZoOx8
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) December 24, 2020
“I’m gonna put it next to my mom,” Towns said of the game ball that he was delivering to his father. ... “I’m just happy I got this for her. I told her I wanted to get her this win and get her this ball. I was just happy I was able to get it done.”
Towns continued to talk about the impact of his mother’s death with reporters after the game.
“You know what, I don’t even recognize most of my other games and years I’ve played and how I felt those days,” Towns told reporters, per The Athletic. “If I can be honest with ya’ll for a second, I mean, I don’t really recall or really care. I only understand what happened from April 13th on.
“Because you may see me smiling and stuff, but that Karl died on April 13. 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 ago. …
“I’m very fortunate, like I said on TV. I’ve got my kids my niece and nephew who are math the house waiting for me. My sister, who has been with me and always been my mom’s favorite. She says she wasn’t, it was me. I think it’s her. That’s just brother and sister.
“I want to answer your question, but that man you’re talking about from April 13 or before. I don’t know him. I don’t recall any part of him.”
COVID devastated Towns’ family
It was a truly devastating offseason for Towns. In addition to losing his mother, whom he was clearly very close with, Towns revealed earlier this month that he’s lost six other family members to the coronavirus. He said that his uncle was one of the victims of the pandemic that’s wreaked a disastrous toll on his family.
Towns made his emotional ode on the same day the NBA postponed a game because of a spate of protocol violations and COVID-19 exposures among members of the Houston Rockets.
As of Wednesday, COVID-19 has infected 18.4 million Americans, according to Johns Hopkins. More than 326,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, accounting for 18.8 percent of the global fatalities attributed to the pandemic.
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