For the first time in two years, the NBA kicked off its preseason with media day Monday, which is kinda like picture day for grown-ups—since your “parents” still pick out your outfits—but way cooler. As the name suggests, aside from taking a few pics in your flyest new threads (or jerseys in this instance), it’s also a day full of press conferences that provide the media with the first real opportunity to
interrogate convene with players since the 2021 NBA Finals.
David Letterman crashed the festivities, Kyrie Irving was nowhere to be found after failing to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and Atlanta Hawks superstar Trae Young revealed his new plans for world domination, which includes “perfecting” his mid-range attack. But the most candid interview came from two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, who spoke on the personal hell he’s been through both on and off the court since joining the league.
Entering his seventh season, the 25-year-old is very much ready for some consistency and stability from within the Minnesota Timberwolves organization that he plays for. The team has been an absolute train wreck since it drafted him first overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, and frankly, Towns is completely over it.
“It’s been something that’s been very constant,” he said, addressing the perpetual turmoil. Just last week, the team fired its president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas. “Being transparent, it just added to the list. It’s just the same thing every single time. It’s something that always leads to instability. And I joked about it the day before, ‘Man, it’s been a real quiet offseason in Minnesota. It’s very different.’ Then boom. [They] made sure they had one left in the hat.”
He continued, “I’ve been through almost everything. I don’t feel like I’ve not seen something. I’ve been through the death of a head coach [...], I’ve been through numerous front offices, I’ve been through numerous regimes. While being blessed to have so many great teammates to play with, I’ve also [not had] a chance to really build any true relationships with anybody because there’s always instability, always change. I’ve been through a lot. [...] I’ve really been through everything you can think about.”
He sure as hell has, but Towns didn’t stop there.
“I’ve been defamed by teammates, been a scapegoat for people, COVID, my own personal life. I mean, shit hasn’t been easy since I came here. But the only thing that’s constant is me being a constant personal in all of that.”
Towns’ mention of COVID-19 at NBA Media Day was in passing, but the pandemic has completely changed the trajectory of his life. In December, he revealed the virus had taken the lives of seven family members—including his mother last March—and his own COVID-19 battle caused him to lose 50 pounds when he contracted the virus earlier this year.
“I’ve had a lot of situations this year where things were just too much for me,” Towns told Sports Illustrated. “I just remember [quarantining] in the house, and it was more than just COVID for me. I felt like I was going through a holistic journey.”
I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have gone through so much since entering the league, but if Minnesota doesn’t correct course immediately they’re at risk of losing one of the NBA’s brightest talents.