CHICAGO — When Karl-Anthony Towns picked up his sixth foul late in the fourth quarter of the Timberwolves' 133-126 loss to the Bulls, it might have been a moment that produced an outburst from Towns. Perhaps he'd yell, storm down the court and come close to getting a technical.
Towns disagreed with the foul he committed on friend and former Wolves guard Zach LaVine, but his response was more muted than it might have been in years past.
In fact all season Towns hasn't been as demonstrative with officials. There's a reason for that.
After he lost his mother and said he lost six other family members to COVID, Towns said he realized expending that much energy on officials just wasn't worth it anymore.
"I've been forced to mature and reflect a lot on myself," Towns said. "In that reflection and maturing, the things that when you're younger you think are important, it's just not worth your time and energy … Refs are not one of those things anymore. I kind of just let it go. I just want to talk to them.
"If you see an initial reaction, obviously we all at home as fans and stuff may have the same reaction and what not, but I hope you guys realize that I'm not really trying to argue with refs anymore."
Towns said he has realized more and more it's pointless since beyond challenging a play there's nothing he can do to reverse the outcome. Also, he said he wants to set an example for some of the younger players on the Wolves roster.
"If I'm over here arguing with every ref in the NBA, then what makes Ant [Anthony Edwards] and Jaden [McDaniels] think that it's not OK to talk to refs and argue everything? We're the examples, we're the leaders, me and D-Lo [D'Angelo Russell]. We got to always set the example in every single aspect."
But overall, Towns said it's not just worth as much trouble anymore as he was putting into it.
"I just realized how much energy I was putting into things that weren't going to change."