Jacqueline Cruz is Karl-Anthony Towns mother. Towns was born in New Jersey to Cruz, who is Dominican, and Karl Towns, who is African-American in 1995.
Towns told the world in a heartbreaking Instagram video, “Me and my sister told her she needed to get checked for corona. I don’t think anyone really understood what it was, you know with a deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse. The hospital was doing everything it can. I was doing everything I could. I still am. She just wasn’t getting better.” Towns said that his mother had been sick with the condition for some time but that, “She went sideways, things went sideways quick.”
Here’s what you need to know about one of the most important people in Karl-Anthony Towns’ life:
1. Towns Has Called ‘The Most Special & Important Woman in My Life’
Towns paid tribute to his mother in a 2017 Instagram post on her birthday saying, “I want to take this time to wish the most special and important woman in my life an amazing birthday today. You have always been the rock of our family and your strength and love has pushed me to not only be the best Basketball player I could be, but be the best man I could be. I remember the times you used to come sleep with me when I was in Pre-K so I could sleep well in school or all the times you would sneak me out of school during my lunch and take me to Pizza Hut so we can eat that Buffett for lunch. I just want you to know I appreciate you tremendously and that with every step I take, I hope I am making you proud because I have never been prouder of anything in my life then to say your my mother. I love you ❤️.”
2. Towns’ Mother’s Domincan Culture Was a Huge Part of His Upbringing
Through his mother’s Dominican Republican birth, Towns was able to play for the country’s basketball team. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported in 2018 that Towns that Dominican culture was a big part of his upbringing. In particular the dances, bachata and merengue.
Cruz spoke about Towns rise to be an NBA All-Star in a 2018 interview with The Undefeated. Cruz discussed her son’s youth career, “I remember the days going from baseball to basketball. ‘Hey, change in the car.’ We did what we had to do to make his dreams complete. … It is so important for parents to actually help, because, without the help of the parents, the child will never get his dreams fulfilled.”
In a 2015 ESPN feature, while Towns was playing for the Kentucky Wildcats, the center said that growing up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, his mother worked as a nurse. Despite her demanding career, Towns said that his mother would regularly take him to practice.
3. Cruz Said Her Son Was an ‘Outsider’ in His Youth
During the same feature, Towns said that his mother contributed to his unique name. Towns was named after his father, Karl. His mother did not want him to known as “Karl Jr.,” so she added Anthony to his name. Cruz told ESPN, “Karl was also the outsider when he was younger. He was too tall, his feet were too big, he didn’t fit into his desk, and sometimes kids can be cruel.”
Cruz went on to say that her son once asked her if she would quit her job at a mental health hospital at Rutgers University. Shortly afterward, Towns began to worry about her patients who might miss her. When Cruz’s father died, she said her son gifted her a pair of sunglasses saying that she would need them because she had been crying so much.
4. Cruz Said That Her Son Is an ‘Old Soul’
Prior to the 2015 NBA Draft, Cruz told USA Today that her son, who would go on to be the number one pick, still sought her opinion. Cruz went on to compare her son’s playing style to that of a ballerina. When her son was selected with the first pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cruz said, “I just say continue to work hard. Love your fans. Give them the smiles that you always give us at home.”
Cruz told the newspaper that her son was an “old soul” who she described as being “19 going on 35.”
When Towns was a star for the Kentucky Wildcats, the Louisville Courier-Journal referred to Cruz as “The lady in the No. 12 UK jersey flailing her arms — and often pom-poms — screaming for her baby boy.”
5. Joel Embiid Took Aim at Cruz Following an October 2019 Game
In October 2019, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, who had been beefing with Towns, tweeted that his performance had led to Cruz “giving middle fingers left and right. That’s some SERIOUS REAL ESTATE.” An NBC Sports blog post speculated if the woman who Embiid was talking about was actually Cruz or if she was even giving the middle finger to Embiid.