Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns says he is facing a difficult time. After the loss of seven family members, including his mother to coronavirus, he’s opening up.
The pandemic hit the NBA hard throughout 2020, forcing the postponement of the season, as several players were diagnosed with the disease. But for Towns, COVID-19 has hit particularly hard. In March, he shared an Instagram video revealing that his mother, Jaqueline Cruz-Towns had been placed in a ventilator. She died of COVID-19 complications April 13, at age 58. His father, Karl Sr., also contracted the disease but has since recovered.
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Towns is now expressing the grief he has experienced and that he has witnessed more loss in just a few months than many experience in years.
"I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months," Towns told reporters last week. "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."
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Towns posted several social media videos, which described his life as he saw his mother’s illness, and the aftermath of her passing. He shared them so that their viewers would better understand the impact of coronavirus.
"I didn't want people to feel the way I felt," Towns said. "I wanted to try to keep them from having the ordeal and the situation I was going through. It just came from a place that I didn't want people to feel as lonely and upset as I was. I really made that video just to protect others and keep others well-informed, even though I knew it was going to take the most emotionally out of me that I've ever been asked to do."
The new NBA season begins Dec. 22, the league announced, but Towns said he continues to face difficulty adjusting to the passing of his mother.
“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.
Cruz-Towns was her son’s biggest supporter and he says it will be hard for him to get back on the court without her there, but he is determined to play again.
"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,” said Towns. “But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had."