Timberwolves: After a difficult year, Karl-Anthony Towns’ love and passion for basketball is restored

As roars of “We want Karl!” filled the gym at St. Joseph High School in New Jersey last week, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns emerged from his seat and started pumping his fists and firing up the current students at his alma mater.

Towns was back at his old stomping grounds for a ceremony in which he was inducted into his school’s hall of fame. His high school jersey number — 44 — will be retired soon, as well.

Towns has accumulated a number of NBA honors already — rookie of the year, all-star, all-NBA — and “many, many more to go,” he noted. But the high school honor held a special place in his heart.

He didn’t know how special it would be until he actually walked into the gym and heard the screams and yells. Goosebumps, he said. It brought him back to his high school playing days.

“To just be acknowledged by my neighborhood for what I’ve worked so hard to accomplish and still haven’t got to where I want to be at, that’s an amazing feeling,” Towns said. “You start off as a young boy trying to gain the respect of your neighborhood and your peers and to be looked at like that by my peers and my neighborhood and my community, it’s such a special feeling I can’t explain.”

How fitting it was for Towns to take a step into his past as he starts to…

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