MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Chicago Bulls 121-117 Sunday night, and the win was equal parts exciting and bittersweet for Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in nearly 37 minutes, and did a fair amount of reflecting after the Wolves got their 14th win of the season. After the win, Towns was on the court talking with his dad, and former Wolves guard Zach LaVine. Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Jackie Towns, Karl-Anthony’s mother, from complications due to COVID-19.
The Timberwolves dedicated a seat to her, with a jersey and flowers, at Sunday’s game.
"It was very touching, I know my dad was emotional. It meant a lot to me that this organization would do that for me and my family," Towns said after the win.
Towns himself missed time earlier this season after testing positive for COVID-19. He’s lost at least six family members, including his mother, to the virus. Wolves coach Chris Finch said after the win was dedicated to Towns and his family.
"I’m really excited that we were able to get the win for Karl and his family. These are extremely tough moments, he’s been a champion, such resilience playing through all these different circumstances," Finch said.
Towns will not play Monday night as the Wolves are scheduled to host the Brooklyn Nets, due to personal reasons as the anniversary of his mother’s death comes on Tuesday. That game is up in the air after the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center on Sunday.
It’s also an exciting time for the organization after reports surfaced over the weekend that former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez, and Walmart CEO Mark Lore are in talks to buy the Timberwolves from Glen Taylor. The plan, if it comes together, is for Rodriguez and Lore to assume ownership in about two years.
D’Angelo Russell, who had 27 points in Sunday’s win, didn’t know how to react to the news but is excited.
"It sounds good, hopefully it can play into our favor with whatever changes need to be done to bring positive vibes to the organization, I’m all for," Russell said.
Towns says he’s been a life-long fan of Rodriguez. He told a story of growing up poor while his parents worked a combined eight jobs, wanting an A-Rod jersey and couldn’t afford one that was $35 at Walmart. He tried one on, and his mother told him to leave it on.
"I said ‘You ain’t got to tell me twice, you know how bad I want this jersey.’ I have that jersey still to this day in my house. That jersey meant everything. To the young kids watching this, don’t do that," Towns said.
We don’t know what the long-term impact of Rodriguez taking over the Wolves could be, but it will certainly bring star power to Minneapolis. And it can’t hurt having a former professional athlete who knows the daily grind on the ownership side.
"I don’t know him, but I think he’ll be more detail-oriented to the players. That’s something that you only know when you’re a player, and it’s really hard for owners or whoever it is to really take care of that," guard Ricky Rubio said.
"A-Rod is one of the best baseball players that ever lived, one of the greatest pure talents that has ever touched a baseball. His charisma, his aura is going to make people gravitate towards here. To have a star like that as an owner is obviously going to bring more interest to this team," Towns said.