The Minnesota Timberwolves played a preseason game on Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, helping the players prepare for the 2020-21 season. Karl-Anthony Towns, the player who lost his mother and six other family members to COVID-19, was on hand for the game. He put his emotions on full display and shed tears prior to the game.
Sports reporter Pierre Noujaim posted a video on Twitter that showed the Timberwolves player during introductions. The announcer said his name, but Towns did not walk out onto the court. He remained in his seat with his head bowed. His teammates then came up and put their arms around him to show their support.
You can see the emotions from Karl-Anthony Towns who didn't walk out like usual in the pregame introduction. Towns lost his mom earlier this year due to complications of COVID-19 & spoke recently of how tough it'll be to be play knowing she's not there to watch him #Timberwolves pic.twitter.com/KlpTO0WvN6— Pierre Noujaim (@TheNoujFOX9) December 13, 2020
"Grief doesn't just go away and moments that once brought joy don't feel the same after the loss of a parent. I can't imagine how much strength KAT had to muster to go out and compete after this," sports anchor Lina Washington said after watching Towns shed tears prior to the game. Many others said that this season will be very difficult for the young player.
Towns appeared for 21 minutes during the preseason game and made some plays for his team. He scored 13 total points and secured eight rebounds, the most on the team. The Timberwolves ultimately fell short of victory, losing 107-105 on Saturday night. Towns and the Timberwolves will now continue the preseason schedule with another game against the Grizzlies.
Prior to the preseason, Towns spoke about the death of his mother and competing during the upcoming slate of games. He said that she rarely missed a game during his career. Now he will have to head out onto the court without her in the building.
"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."