To say Karl-Anthony Towns’ season has been turbulent would be a gross understatement. There was Jimmy Butler commandeering a preseason practice which led to reports that Butler had “bullied” the Minnesota big man during their time together. The Butler was shipped off to Philadelphia, instantly changing the makeup of the Timberwolves and Towns’ role on the team. Finally, head coach Tom Thibodeau was abruptly fired. All the while, the ‘Wolves have been simply trying to keep their head afloat in a brutally competitive Western Conference.
Despite all of that, Towns has grabbed control of what was a spiraling plane headed for a crash landing and smoothed out its flight course. The Timberwolves currently sit at 25-27, just three games out of the 8th seed in the West, and Towns is coming off a month of January in which he averaged 25 points while pulling down 12.1 boards per game. We caught up with Towns after he hosted a live stream of Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 to talk this crazy season, how he’s managed to play so well through all the changes, and which teammate of his is the biggest smack-talker in the gaming world.
Your love of gaming is pretty well-known. What are your earliest memories of playing video games?
Karl-Anthony Towns: I remember the days of being at Pizza Hut and playing Marvel vs SNK, or going to bowling alleys and playing Marvel vs CAPCOM 2, one of the best fighting games of all time. I’ve been playing video games for as long as I could.
How good are you amongst your NBA peers when it comes to Call Of Duty?
In Black Ops, I’m pretty good! I haven’t been able to test every other NBA player, but in multiplayer, I feel like I’m one of the best.
If you’re picking a teammate to be on your squad in Black Ops, who is it?
Andrew Wiggins. Without a doubt. He plays the game, he’s a gamer. He’s really good. He doesn’t talk much, he’s pretty quiet. But he talks a lot when he’s playing, 24/7. From a man of few words, comes a lot of words. Trust me.
Let’s get to your 2018-2019 season, which has been, in a word, insane. How have you navigated all of the changes in Minnesota?
You worry about what you can control. That’s always been my motto. I know what I can control is going every day to work, working hard on my game and being the best possible player I can be on a nightly basis. So regardless of what the situation is, I only worry about what I can do to help my team.
Obviously it’s been a crazy year, but through all that craziness, we’re in a spot where we have a chance to make the playoffs, and that’s all you can ask for.
Did you reach out to any other players for advice on how to deal with everything?
No, I’ve experience it on my own. I’ve been through so much in my career so far, it didn’t shock me, everything that happened. I’ve already been through coaching changes, teammate changes, the death of a head coach. I’ve been through a lot already, so it doesn’t surprise me that the rest of my career so far has been more chaos and instability.
Have you felt a shift in responsibility with Jimmy Butler now gone? Like, do you feel you’re the face of the ‘Wolves now?
I’ve been feeling I’ve represented (the Timberwolves) since day one. As soon as you put that jersey on, regardless of who you are, if you’re me or anyone else on the team, it doesn’t matter. You have a brand to keep at a high standard.
But this year, yeah, I felt a change and more pressure and more responsibility being put on my shoulders, and I’m more than happy to take that on. I’m very excited to see how everything goes, with me signing the new contract and everything. We have a lot of work to do.