NEW YORK — Earlier than the Minnesota Timberwolves tipped off towards the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night time, Karl-Anthony Cities jogged over to the stands and reached out to know palms with a fan in a white No. 32 jersey that mentioned “Cities” on the again. The fan was Karl-Anthony’s father, Karl Cities Sr.
The sport, which the Timberwolves misplaced 112-107, was the primary Cities Sr. had attended since his spouse, Jackie Cruz-Cities, died from problems of COVID-19 on April 13, 2020.
After the sport, Karl-Anthony Cities mentioned his father being there meant “the whole lot” to him.
“He understood how upset I used to be after the loss,” Cities mentioned. “However he got here to me, and he informed me one thing I do not know if he ought to’ve informed me. It bought me just a little emotional. He informed me my mother would’ve been proud with how I performed tonight.”
Cities Sr. was one of many first followers in Barclays Middle on Monday. He walked down the steps towards the court docket and smiled and waved as his son went by means of layup traces, snapping pictures and movies.
“Me and my dad bought emotional earlier than the sport,” Cities mentioned. “As a result of he made his presence recognized. It affected me as a result of my mother at all times did that.”
Papa Cities in attendance for tonight’s recreation 🐺 pic.twitter.com/6ehvuegsIt
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 29, 2021
Cruz-Cities had been a continuing presence at Timberwolves video games. She would typically sit close to the court docket, go to with opposing gamers she had gotten to know through the years, and was recognized for loudly and excitedly cheering on her son.
“My mother could be the one to go on the stanchion,” Cities mentioned Monday, “or be there and wave at me till I mentioned hello to her or got here and hugged her.”
Cities shared that his mom was in a medically induced coma and had been positioned on a ventilator due to the virus on March 25, 2020. Cities Sr. had additionally been identified with COVID-19, had been hospitalized and recovered. Cruz-Cities was 58 when she died.
Cities, who grew up in New Jersey, had roughly a dozen members of the family in attendance at Monday’s recreation to assist him.
“It was actually the primary time having household watch me taking part in in particular person,” mentioned Cities, who himself was identified with COVID-19 in January. “And it is loopy seeing my dad. I am like, ‘The place’s my mother? She’s gonna come.’ And, clearly, she’s not gonna present up. That affected me, however I am going on the market and play the very best I can for this workforce.”
Cities completed with 31 factors, 12 rebounds and 5 assists, together with key factors down the stretch to assist the Wolves claw again from a double-digit deficit. Afterward, he stayed and performed tag along with his niece and nephew on the court docket as Barclays Middle workers turned the lights out.
“It is emotional,” Cities Sr. informed ESPN. “I am glad to be again supporting him. It is what she would’ve wished, too.”
ESPN’s Royce Younger contributed to this report.