Karl-Anthony Towns’ mom, Jackie, was always concerned about her son.

“Are you home?” she would ask.

When the answer was yes, she knew her son was safe.

Karl Towns Sr. had some trepidation with his son going back to Minnesota this season in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

He calls Karl-Anthony all the time now.

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“Are you home? Are you OK? Did you make it home? Are you driving?” he’ll ask.

“He’s a parent,” Towns said. “He understands what this kind of world right now in America presents to us.”

Towns, a two-time all-star in his sixth season, has a passion for Minnesota. He describes the community and people as “amazing.” He even said there are “great” cops, citing the team’s director of security, Tony Adams. Tony’s brother, Charlie, is a regular presence at Target Center.

“Just amazing people who worked in the police department in Minnesota and they were just so amazing people, it makes it hard to believe there’s a bad apple,” Towns said. “Unfortunately, there is.”

There have been many reminders of that around the nation, and a few of the most notable in recent years have happened in the Twin Cities, the most recent being the killing of Daunte Wright last week by a former Brooklyn Center officer.

“It’s embarrassing,” Towns said. “You see the beauty this place has, the community has, the people have, and then to have something like this put just a big stain on your words and your experiences here, it’s embarrassing to do that.”

Shortly after Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer in Falcon Heights in 2016, Towns participated in a function that brought kids and local police officers together.

“Just to get them to understand that not every cop is bad. A lot of these cops are amazing cops who are amazing people that want to see you win and strive in life, just as much as your own parents,” Towns said. “But it makes it hard for people like us to lend our voice and our platform to something that, right when we’re done with this amazing meeting and amazing gathering, they go and do the same thing again. It makes it really hard for us to be believable in that.”

Towns and many of his teammates are nearing the age where they may have children.

“Thinking about raising kids with our skin in this world and this America, it’s a daunting thing,” Towns said.

Even among his own teammates, Towns is always reinforcing extra precautions.

“Make sure they understand that they’ve got to keep themselves safe,” he said. “That’s the truth behind everything. That’s what it is. I’ve got to keep stressing to everybody to be safe, check your surroundings. If you’re ever stopped, don’t try to say a lot.”

It’s the same conversation Towns said people of color are having with their children all over the country.

“Just make sure you get home alive,” Towns said. “Doesn’t matter about what you lose, doesn’t matter what happens, just get home alive. Just come back home to me. I know that’s what my mom told me.”

Towns will keep stressing to everyone how great the Twin Cities community is. But he’ll also keep pushing for necessary change. He noted there was a social justice coalition meeting Saturday.

“Me and all of us as a collective group in trying to help their system reflect the change the people are looking for in the police. We got to lend our voice and resources to get that done,” Towns said. “I’m going to just keep stressing the importance of being involved in our community and being the voice of change and the action of change, as well. It’s great that we have these platforms, but we have to act on the words we say.”