After a 2020 that started out devastating for NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns with the death of his mom from COVID-19, things are looking up. He’s now dating Kylie Jenner‘s former BFF Jordyn Woods, after the two had been pals for some time. He made her fans swoon when for her 23rd birthday on Sept. 23, KAT gifted the model with not one but TWO pricey Hermes Birkin bags, a glittery crystal Chanel purse and an autographed Michael Jordan #23 Chicago Bulls jersey that Karl had the NBA G.O.A.T. sign especially for Jordyn’s number 23 birthday.
The 24-year-old star player of the Minnesota Timberwolves is known for winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year title at the end of 2016. While the team has struggled to make the playoffs, Karl-Anthony has shown consistent growth with the squad, signing a five-year, $190 million super-maximum extension with the Timberwolves in Sept. 2018…which is how he can afford those Birkins so easily! We’ve got five things to know about Karl.
1. Karl-Anthony lost his beloved mom Jacqueline Cruz-Towns to COVID-19 in 2020. His mom battled the coronavirus for over a month before succumbing to the virus on Apr. 13, 2020 at the age of 58. Both of his parents fell ill at their home in New Jersey with COVID-19 and had been hospitalized. His dad eventually recovered and was released. Karl-Anthony revealed in a March 24 Instagram video that his mom was in a medically induced coma after her situation “went sideways” following a high fever and terrible cough. She never recovered. Karl was incredibly close with his mom, and on July 20, 2020 he wrote to Instagram on what would have been his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary that his mom is “my reason for being alive. Not a single day goes by without me thinking of you.”
2. Karl-Anthony and Jordyn made things Instagram official on her 23rd birthday. While the pair had been friends for quite some time, the NBA star joined the model and beauty influencer in Cabo San Lucas Mexico for her birthday week celebrations. On her big day, he shared and Instagram stories photo of the pair together, with Karl grabbing her behind playfully. He wrote, “Happy BDay Queen” on the photo. The pair had sparked dating rumors ever since they were spotted having a romantic dinner date in Calabasas on Aug. 11, 2020.
3. Karl-Anthony is used to being No. 1. Karl-Anthony entered the 2015 NBA Draft, after just one year with the University of Kentucky. During his brief time with Kentucky, Karl-Anthony won SEC Freshman of the Year. However, it seems Karl-Anthony couldn’t wait to be a NBA superstar and the NBA was eager to have him. After Karl-Anthony declared himself eligible, he was the No. 1 overall draft pick, going to the Timberwolves. The pick didn’t disappoint, as Karl-Anthony won the NBA Rookie of the Year award unanimously in 2016, earning all 130 first place votes, according to SB Nation.
4. He may be beloved in Minnesota but he’s a Jersey boy. When Karl-Anthony scored a college career-high 25 points against Notre Dame in 2015, the cheers could be heard all the way back to the Garden State. Karl-Anthony was born in Piscataway, New Jersey and began his basketball career at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, according to NJ.com. Jersey fans must have felt proud as he averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game in his 2015-16 NBA rookie season, per Bleacher Report.
5. Karl-Anthony has a huge heart. Karl-Anthony proved himself to be someone to cheer for in 2012, per Fox Sports. That year, his school honored Marine Cpl. Kevin Reinhard, a St. Joe alum, who was killed in Afghanistan. During a game with rival Perth Amboy High School, Karl-Anthony scored 25 points and stopped shooting. When asked why he stopped trying to score, Karl-Anthony said, “I want to honor the boy who passed away. He would’ve been 25 years old. So I knew I had 25 points, and I had to stop.”