The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Karl-Anthony Towns with the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, and with that, came high expectations.
Karl-Anthony Towns Immediately Grabbed the Attention of the League
It didn’t take long for the Kentucky product to realize his potential as an NBA player, as he went on to average just over 25 points per game in just his second year in the league while playing all 82 games.
General managers around the league immediately took notice of Towns’ immense potential, as most voted him as the player they would want to build a team around before the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, ahead of the likes of Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
However, injuries and an unstable situation in Minnesota would ultimately lead to Towns’ perception as a basketball player to take a little bit of a hit, as keyboard warriors would label him soft and other people looking at him simply as just a stat sheet stuffer on a really bad team.
Many superstars face criticism and hardships early on in their careers. That’s the nature of the business. However, when the world suddenly shut down in March 2020, those were the least of his problems, as Towns revealed to the world that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, was on a ventilator in a hospital due to COVID-19 in a desperate plea for all of us to start taking the virus seriously.
After a few weeks in the hospital, Cruz-Towns passed away due to complications of the virus.
Towns, who also revealed that he’s lost six other family members due to COVID-19, eventually went public about how tough of the year 2020 was for him in a YouTube video posted on his personal account.
Thank you everyone for the prayers, well wishes, and condolences during this time. I also want to give a double thank you to all the true fans that support me as more than just a basketball player. My love for ya knows no bounds.
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) November 2, 2020
It showed a lot of strength and humility for Towns to allow himself to be vulnerable by being open and honest about his story, which in turn, can also help others cope with their own personal tragedies during the pandemic or otherwise.
Serving As Inspiration While Overcoming Those Obstacles
After going through some of the worst experiences any human being can go through, including contracting COVID-19 himself, Towns appears to be finding himself again.
During the offseason, Towns has been seen improving his physical fitness and all-around basketball skills on his personal Instagram page, as that work has appeared to significantly improve his body composition.
Additionally, he’s been sharing positive messages on both his personal Twitter and Instagram pages, which should be applauded because there are plenty of kids out there that look up to him, so his messaging could help inspire them to live up to their fullest potential.
The talent has always been there for KAT. He is arguably the best 3-point shooter at the center position of all-time, he can drive to the rim with reckless abandon and be a playmaker for others.
Offensively, there’s nothing that he cannot do, and that is rare to find in a 7-foot body. Hopefully, the basketball universe can start to recognize his otherworldly talent without outside narratives getting in the way once again.
His defense will probably never get him a Defensive Player of the Year Award, but if the Timberwolves can find him the perfect complement of defenders, Towns can then serve as more of a help defender, where his career average of 1.4 blocks per game can be particularly helpful.
If D’Angelo Russell stays healthy and gets back to his 2018-19 form, Anthony Edwards takes the next step in his second year in the league, and the supporting cast of Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jaden McDaniels, and others buy into their roles, then we can see the Timberwolves be a surprise next season and perhaps be a contender for at least a play-in spot for the playoffs in the Western Conference.
No matter where your sports allegiances align, the entire basketball world should all be rooting for Karl-Anthony Towns. He opened himself up about everything he’s been through when he doesn’t owe that to anybody and has been using his platform to help spread positivity. In a world where hot takes and negative news dominates the news cycle, Towns’ messaging shouldn’t be lost on us.
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