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USATSI

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns more than most NBA players. Last April, Towns lost his mother, Jackie Cruz-Towns, to COVID-19. On Monday, Towns' father, Karl-Anthony Towns Sr., attended his first Timberwolves game since his wife's death and it was an "emotional" experience for him and his son.

Prior to the game, Towns ran over to greet his father before the Timberwolves took on the Brooklyn Nets.

"Me and my dad got emotional before the game," Towns told ESPN's Malika Andrews. "Because he made his presence known. It affected me because my mom always did that."

Towns Sr. was one of the first fans to enter the Barclays Center for Monday's game. As his son participated in the pregame shootaround, the proud father took photos and videos of his son.

"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."

In March of 2020, Cruz-Towns and Towns Sr. tested positive for COVID-19 and both had to be hospitalized. Cruz-Towns succumbed to the virus, but Towns Sr. was able to make a full recovery. 

"It was really the first time having family watch me playing in person," Towns said. "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 himself also tested positive for COVID-19 back in January, but was able to make a full recovery. On Monday, he scored 31 points while securing 12 rebounds and dishing out five assists in a 112-107 Timberwolves loss.