Karl Anthony-Towns reflects on mother’s COVID death, calls 2020 ‘toughest year of my life’

Jesse Pantuosco
November 03, 2020 - 9:36 am

Since the COVID pandemic began in the United States earlier this year, nearly 240,000 Americans, including the mother of Timberwolves All-Star Karl Anthony-Towns, have died from the virus. The 24-year-old was extremely close with his mother Jacqueline, who lost her life at age 58 after a month-long battle with COVID. An emotional Towns discussed how his life has changed since then, calling 2020 the “toughest year” of his life.

“It hurts so bad,” Towns reflected in a video posted to YouTube Monday night. “I’m just happy I had the time I did, because it made me who I am.”

A New Jersey native, Towns said his mother took her last breath with laughter, symbolic of the joy she brought to everyone around her. “There was no other way Jackie would have wanted it. She didn’t want people to cry for her, she wanted people to laugh.”

“I could never replace her. She was everything to all of us,” said a tearful Towns, who described feeling “numb” after his mother’s unexpected passing. “The least I can do is pick up some of her pieces and try to rebuild the puzzle.”

Towns’ T-Wolves didn’t qualify for the NBA bubble in Orlando, meaning the 6’11” center hasn’t seen the court since February. The former first overall pick is often asked how he’s doing. Nearly seven months after his mother’s death, Towns still isn’t quite sure how to respond. “It’s a day-by-day thing. I just don’t know. I don’t know what the next day holds for me. I just know that right now, I’ve got to keep it together.”

“When you deal with two people that understand the pain you’re going through, you want to be the one that brightens the room,” said Towns, who has tried to be strong for his sister and father. “It’s helped, but I think that one day, and I know it’s creeping up, I feel it every day, I’m going to have to find a way to deal with it.”

Towns, who was averaging a career-best 26.5 points per game before the season was interrupted, said part of the purpose for making this video was to get over this hurdle and somehow find a path back to normalcy. “That’s why I wanted to do this,” said Towns in his sit-down interview with Natalie Manuel Lee. “I thought this would be therapeutic to admit that these things are real and how I feel is real.”

A two-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year, Towns arrived in Minnesota in 2015 following a one-year stint at the University of Kentucky. His 8,113 career points are the third-most in franchise history, trailing only Kevin Garnett and Andrew Wiggins.

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