Karl-Anthony Towns is a believer in people making their own decisions — including with vaccines

He notes: 'No one really cares (about things) until they’re affected by it'

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket against New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) during the first quarter Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Brad Penner / USA Today Sports

Karl-Anthony Towns refuses to make choices for people. He’s a big believer in people having the ability to make their own decisions.

“That’s the beauty of being in this country. That’s the beauty of being in America. You get to live the American dream, you get to have a choice to make a legacy, to make success, to have a chance,” Towns said. “I’m always a man about giving people a choice, because I’m never going to tell someone what to do.”

But he isn’t shy about recommending what he feels is right. Towns made a point to recognize the distinction between recommendation and demand, but there’s no question where he lands on the matter of vaccination — firmly in the “pro” camp. This after he lost a number of family members — most notably, his mother — early in the pandemic, before the vaccine was available. He has twice battled the virus himself.

He was fully vaccinated for the second bout, which he described as a significantly milder case.

“I’m always going to be an advocate for the vaccine,” Towns said. “It’s saved many lives in my family, and the lives I did lose, we all wish we could’ve gotten them the vaccine.”


Towns knows his share of people who will not get the vaccine and are dead set against it. He refuses to disrespect them or their decision. He still doesn’t seem sure that everyone understands the gravity of the pandemic or the virus itself.

“Everyone is so oblivious to things because it hasn’t happened to them, it doesn’t affect them, it doesn’t touch their family, their lives,” Towns said. “I just feel that I’ve learned in my life, since I was young, and especially recently, no one really knows until they go through it. No one really cares until they’re affected by it.”

Maybe, he wondered aloud, that’s why local governments — such as the city of Minneapolis — decided to mandate that patrons in public spaces such as restaurants or arenas must be vaccinated or log a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry. That applies to fans attending Target Center for Timberwolves games, starting with the Jan. 30 contest against Utah.

“I think the city of Minneapolis is doing what they feel is right for the people,” Towns said. “The legislation, government here is supposed to do what’s right for the people, and they feel that people having the vaccine will make everyone healthier and give everyone a chance to get through this pandemic with less casualties and less problems.”

Turner injured

Indiana announced Tuesday that center Myles Turner has a stress reaction in his left foot.

Turner was a potential trade target for Minnesota. He could be a strong fit alongside Towns. But ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Turner is expected to be out of commission through the NBA trade deadline.

That makes it less likely anyone acquires Turner via trade between now and the Feb. 10 deadline.

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