Karl-Anthony Towns shares emotional embrace with his father before Mother’s Day game

This was the second Mother’s Day for Karl-Anthony Towns since his mom died of COVID-19.

“I just have so much to thank my mom for”

Karl-Anthony Towns has experienced immeasurable heartbreak in the past 14 months. His mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March 2020 and placed in a medically induced coma. She died 19 days later, on April 13, at age 58. Towns lost six more family members, including his grandmother, to COVID-19 and then endured his own “scary” experience with the disease that caused him to miss 13 games early in the season. He was also hit by a car during the off-season.

Through it all, Town’s father has been a source of strength for him. Karl-Anthony Towns Sr. also tested positive for COVID-19 last year but recovered. In March, he was able to attend his first Timberwolves game since Cruz-Towns’s death. And on Sunday, Mother’s Day, the father and son shared a tearful embrace before the Timberwolves’ game against the Magic.

Reflecting on his personal hardships and the difficulties of the pandemic season after the game, Towns said he thought at times this year, “Do I even want to do this anymore? Do I want to play ball anymore?” Ultimately, he credits his mom for helping prepare him to deal with anything life throws at him.

“There’s just a strength that’s been instilled in me since I was young,” Towns said. “My mom has, in weird ways, I feel, prepared me for this moment to handle more than I ever thought I possibly could. I’m just taking that strength in everything I’ve been through in my life. … It’s just something that, through life, I’ve garnered a lot of strength through a lot of trials and tribulations and it’s made me the man I am today. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

“I’ve been through so much bull- in recent years and had my name thrown in so many things, and it’s because of my mother and the morals and values she’s taught me, and especially my father, I’ve been professional every step of the way, even when it was really hard.

“I just have so much to thank my mom for, because I feel like if I didn’t have her and my father and my sister, I don’t think I would have the character I have, nor would I have the strength to hold the character I have through what the NBA life contains and the job contains, as well.”

With four games left in the season, Towns said he is going to give it his all during the final week, but he’s still looking forward to the end of the season so he can take some time for himself.

“For me, personally, I’m just excited to, in a selfish way, just hear the last horn go off and finally take time to really try to heal the right way,” Towns said. “I’ve put basketball front and center in my life so I wouldn’t have to deal with the demons on the back end, but it’s going to be good to really get some help. I’m excited for that, personally, and also when that last horn goes off to truly take a step back and be proud of where I’m at. I’ve come a long way this year. So I’m just going to be taking a step back and truly take a moment to give myself a pat on the back and be happy of how far I’ve come.”

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