The Minnesota Timberwolves dedicated their game ball to George Floyd’s family after defeating Kings 134-120 in Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Victory came hours after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of involuntary second degree, third degree and second degree homicide in the Minneapolis murder of Floyd last May.
“I think we all felt that this game was bigger than basketball,” said Timberwolve’s tall man Karl-Anthony Towns after the game. “This was a moment that was not meant for us, but for our city and for George Floyd’s family. I think everyone in America is mourning with them right now and sending them our prayers, blessings and love.
“They need it for countless days. They were reminded of the tragedy in their family and never really had a chance to grieve and recover in any way. I think we were just trying to do this.” Our part to let them know that we are here with them, that this basketball game is only a small part of who we are. And this organization within us really wanted to show them that we will all be with them one step of the way that we possibly can go to help them in this process, in this grieving process … just to make their lives the best we can repair. “
Cities admitted he was nervous all day because he wasn’t sure how the verdict would play out. He said he was concerned about the safety of the community.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Towns said. “I had sweated so much that I had to take a shower because I didn’t know how it would go. My feelings about it were, we’ve seen moments like this so often that they go in the opposite direction, even with how quickly the judgment came , You still have no idea where it’s going to go.
“I was concerned. I was concerned for our community. I was concerned about justice being served. I was concerned for the whole family that our team has, every player, and wondered if their safety would be guaranteed tonight and.” How they would feel On our team we have people who have kids, kids of color, who wonder if we’re going to show them if the word responsibility actually lives in the world we live in today.
Like many others, after the verdict was pronounced, Towns was filled with a variety of emotions, saying it was “a bittersweet moment where justice was served but it was served at the cost of a life”.
“It is unfortunate that our city has been through so much, but I hope that today was a step towards reform and a step towards an end for all families involved,” Towns said. “Just because Mr. Floyd got justice today doesn’t mean we’re going to take him home, and that’s the unfortunate part of all of this.
“It was a day when a step was made towards reform, but there is much work to be done and a lot of conversation to have to ensure this does not happen again, or at least an attempt to save the next generations of such moments. “
The Guardian of the Wolves, D’Angelo Russell, spoke to reporters after the game Tuesday night and turned it into an open forum asking reporters from the Twin Cities to share their thoughts on the day. Russell, who found he still works in Minneapolis and continues to make his new team and city feel at home after being taken over by the Timberwolves last season, said he has been accepted by the community, but wanted to get a feel for what local reporters were thinking.
Wolf swingman Josh Okogie reiterated a point made by many others on Tuesday, saying the chauvin verdict is not just about justice, it’s about greater accountability.
“More than anything to me, George Floyd would be here today if justice had really, really, really served, but obviously we have no control over it,” Okogie said. “But we are in control of the judicial process and what we decided with Derek Chauvin. I think the court made the right decisions and … I hope this slows down the number of shootings that are going on in the world right now.”
While cities recognized a sense of “relief” after the ruling, he also hoped the state and local authority could begin moving forward.
“It’s only one moment in time that we realize … when you grow up your parents tell you what’s right and what’s wrong, and they tell you you know better,” Towns said. “They are trying to teach you accountability for your actions. They are trying to teach you that justice is always served and that goodness always wins in the end. Lately in life, especially for all of us of color and sometimes for me personally, the good ones People don’t win.
“It’s a difficult fact that you have to swallow … It’s just a great moment when the word responsibility takes on real meaning and value. Justice, while bittersweet, has shown itself today too. It is bittersweet because it cost a life. It’s one of those moments when you worry that if reform isn’t done we will have the same situation again and that is the most unfortunate and disheartening thing. “