The emotions welled in Karl-Anthony Towns as he found out he had been named an All-Star for the second consecutive year.
Towns, in a video the Timberwolves released on social media, broke down crying as his parents came to congratulate him.
On Friday, Towns said the honor came at the end of a trying year both personally and professionally.
“It meant a lot to me, especially through everything I’ve went through from work to personal life,” Towns said. “A lot of emotion came out when I found out because I just felt like I had so much doubt against me and I worked so tremendously hard on my body, on my mind, on my spirit.
“When I got that moment, it just felt really special. It felt more special than last year.”
NBA coaches selected the reserves that rounded out Thursday’s selections after fans, media and players selected the starters. Towns found out as he was holding a screening of his film debut in “What Men What” for family, friends and Wolves and Lynx staff members.
“When you hear your name, you go through the experiences that got you to this moment,” Towns said. “And I ... sure had a lot.”
Towns didn’t go into any specifics, except to say he found out a friend from high school passed away Thursday. But it’s not hard to see how Towns has had a trying year professionally. Former teammate Jimmy Butler publicly called into question Towns’ drive and determination both before and after the Wolves traded Butler to the 76ers. Before last season, Towns was voted the player with whom NBA general managers would most like to start a franchise. Coming into this season Towns didn’t get a vote for that distinction.
“It’s been a trying year,” Towns said. “When you hold everything in for so long and you have that moment that’s just kind of rewarding how much you’ve done in your life and how much you’ve went through, to come out on the other side and be looked at like that is a huge honor, a humbling experience.”
Towns felt elation but elsewhere in the Western Conference, things weren’t so happy. Jazz center Rudy Gobert didn’t make the team despite being one of the best defensive centers in the NBA and averaging 15 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.
Perhaps Towns’ selection meant Gobert didn’t make it.
“All the coaches preach about defense,” Gobert said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “Every day they talk about defense, about what an honor it is to get stops, to win basketball games; and when it’s time to vote, they they’re not able to reward the best defensive player in the game.”