For the worst possible reasons, Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns can speak more to the devastation that coronavirus can leave on an individual than any star player -- or even any player in general -- in the NBA at this time. Towns missed 13 games after he tested positive for COVID-19 and recounted his experience with the respiratory disease after his return to the court Wednesday.
"I am a high-risk case," Towns said, per ESPN. "COVID did not treat me well whatsoever. A lot of scary nights. One of the things that I told my sister when I got COVID was that, 'Hey, I got it, and I don't got a good version of it. I got a lot of COVID in me, but I am going to fight and beat it.'"
In addition to his personal experience, Towns has lost his mother and six other family members to coronavirus. Jacqueline Cruz-Towns died last April at 58 years old after she was placed on a ventilator and later in a medically-induced coma.
"Through all the long nights where I was just not feeling well whatsoever and the vitals weren't good and decisions had to be made on my health, I kept [my family and my niece and nephew] in mind," Towns added. "They pushed me to continue doing things. When COVID kept messing with my body, my mind and spirit, I thought about them and my mother.
"I felt very guilty about the treatment I got. And I feel that should be more widely available to Americans, to anyone in the world. I felt very guilty even getting something that could help me more just recover, stay healthy, stay alive. There is such mental strain through all this time, a feeling of guilt because of the resources I have, and I wish I could spread these resources with as many people as possible. The guilt, just a lot of demons I haven't dealt with that I put to the back burner for basketball."
Towns then noted how his experience with the disease was "a rough journey" as a result of his underlying conditions that he shared with his mother and immediate family. He explained that while certain people go through four or five days of symptoms and then turn the corner one day, it was much longer process with him. This extended into Wednesday's game against the Clippers, a game he said he was not mentally ready to play in, but did so because of the support system his teammates and coaches gave him.
The 25-year-old big man also expressed his belief that the NBA All-Star Game should not happen. He joins the likes of LeBron James, who said that the scheduled event was a "slap in the face" to the players and that he had "zero energy, zero excitement" for the game itself. Towns was a bit more biting in his critique.
"I personally don't believe there should be an All-Star Game, but what the hell do I know?" Towns said. "S---, I obviously haven't dealt with COVID, probably a guy who has some insight into that. What should I know about COVID, right?"