Karl-Anthony Towns is arguably the best shooting center of all time, and one of the most skilled big men to ever play in the NBA. Impressive as his 60-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs was, basically, it wasn’t exactly shocking considering the Minnesota Timberwolves superstar’s otherworldly offensive gifts.

But knowing what we do now about his epic career night, Towns’ explosion might as well have been a pre-game formality.

After playing the best basketball of his life in Minnesota’s  149-139 win over the Spurs, Towns shared that Monday was the two-year anniversary of when his late mother was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, providing him a “guardian angel” on the floor.

Jacqueline Cruz-Towns died on April 13th, 2020, less than a month after she went to the emergency room while experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. She was 58.

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No player in the NBA has been more directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic than Towns. He’s lost a heartbreaking eight separate family members to COVID-19 altogether, most recently last fall.

After struggling in 2020-21 as he dealt with the grief of losing his mother and other kin while dealing with his own bout of coronavirus, Towns is enjoying a career campaign this season, leading the Timberwolves a 40-30 record and a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament at the very least. He’s averaging 24.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on stellar shooting numbers, re-cementing himself as among the most dynamic offensive players in the NBA.

And every time he takes the floor, even when he’s not making Minnesota history, Towns is playing with his mother in his heart.