NBA Star Karl-Anthony Towns Says He Lost 7 Family Members, Including His Mother, to Coronavirus
As he prepares to step onto the court again, Karl-Anthony Towns is reflecting on the personal losses he’s endured this year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves star — whose mother Jacqueline died in April following a weeks-long battle with coronavirus — revealed this week that six additional family members have died due to complications from the virus, according to ESPN.
“It’s hard,” Towns, 25, told reporters on Friday. “I’ve lost a lot of close family members, people who have raised me, people who have gotten me here.”
"I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven-eight months," the athlete added. "I have a lot of people who have, in my family and my mom's family, gotten COVID. I'm the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy. It's just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive."
Although Towns is committed to giving his all to help his team succeed, he noted that it will “be hard to play” without his mother there to cheer him on. “I’ve never been in a mentally good place since that woman went in the hospital. It’s getting harder and harder every day, as I keep losing people the season keeps rolling around,” he said.
"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. It’s going to be hard to play,” he continued. “It's going to be difficult to say this is therapy. I don't think this will ever be therapy for me again. But it gives me a chance to relive good memories I had."
“I just wanted to help people,” he said. “It just came from a place that I didn't want people to feel as lonely and upset as I was.
“I really made that video just to protect others and keep others well-informed, even when I knew it was going to take the most emotionally out of me that I've ever been asked to do,” he added.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are scheduled to have their first game on Dec. 23 against the Detroit Pistons.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.