Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves had an emotional night on Monday. Playing the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, his father came to see him play for the first time since the star's mother died last year.
Towns' mother, Jackie Cruz-Towns, died of COVID-19 almost a year ago after being in a medically induced coma for nearly three weeks. Towns' father, Karl Towns Sr., also had COVID-19 (as did Towns himself), but was able to recover. He came to the Barclays Center to watch his son and take his late wife's place as Towns' biggest supporter.
Towns, father share special moments
According to ESPN, Towns Sr. was one of the first fans to enter the arena, and he was really excited to be there for his son.
Once Towns Sr. was inside, he did something that made Towns emotional right away: He waved at his son to make sure he knew he was there.
"Me and my dad got emotional before the game," Towns said via ESPN. "Because he made his presence known. It affected me because my mom always did that.
"My mom would be the one to go at the stanchion, or be there and wave at me until I said hi to her or came and hugged her."
Towns Sr. was pretty excited to be at the game.
Towns grew up in New Jersey and had a lot of family in the stands Monday night. But even with the presence of family and his father, Towns still expected to see his mother, who had been a fixture at Timberwolves games.
"It was really the first time having family watch me playing in person," Towns said via ESPN. "And it's crazy seeing my dad. I'm like, 'Where's my mom? She's gonna come.' And, obviously, she's not gonna show up. That affected me, but I go out there and play the best I can for this team."
Towns put up a good performance, with 31 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. That helped the Timberwolves make a comeback after being down 16, but they ended up losing 112-107. Towns wasn't happy with the loss, but his father found the right words to comfort him.
"He understood how upset I was after the loss," Towns said. "But he came to me, and he told me something I don't know if he should've told me. It got me a little emotional. He told me my mom would've been proud with how I played tonight."
Towns Sr. told ESPN that he was doing what his late wife would have done.
"It's emotional," Towns Sr. said. "I'm glad to be back supporting him. It's what she would've wanted, too."
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