Karl-Anthony Towns is starting his sixth season with the Minnesota Timberwolves after his mother and six other family members died from COVID complications, ESPN reports.
“I’ve been through a lot, obviously starting out with my mom,” Towns said. “Last night, I got a call that I lost my uncle. I feel like I’ve been hardened a little bit by life and humbled.”
On March 25, Towns shared a video on Instagram and explained that his mother, Jacqueline Cuz-Towns, had been placed on a ventilator and was in a medically induced coma as a result of COVID-19.
Cruz-Towns died at age 58 on April 13.
“I’ve seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months,” Towns said. “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’ father, Karl Sr., also contracted the coronavirus but has since recovered.
Towns said that getting back to playing basketball is a welcome change, but it also will be difficult for him to play without his mother since Cruz-Towns rarely missed one of his games.
“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,” Towns said. “It is going to be hard to play. It’s going to be difficult to say this is therapy. I don’t think [playing basketball] will ever be therapy for me again. But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had.”
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