Karl-Anthony Towns may be 20 years old, but he’s in the midst of the kind of idyllic summer most 12-year-olds picture when they’re asked what adulthood will look like: basketball all day, video games at night, and traveling to faraway lands in between. The Timberwolves PR department probably couldn’t have dreamed up a more wholesome brand spokesperson if it created Towns in a lab. As D’Angelo Russell can tell you, growing up in the NBA spotlight can be a difficult process. But Towns’s youthful adventures in Candy Land don’t seem overly orchestrated. He’s just a big kid, out on summer vacation, who happens to be making the most of his newfound fame.
Here’s KAT’s (patent-pending) Step-by-Step Guide to a Great, PG-Rated Summer:
Livestream yourself playing video game Monopoly for two-plus hours at a time.
The NBA season ended for the Wolves on April 13, but Towns used Twitch — a livestreaming service for gamers — to keep his competitive instincts sharp and develop his real estate–prospecting game, all while interacting with fans. He’s filmed three videos since starting his account in May, but by far his most popular was a two-hour livestream of him playing virtual Monopoly (the video has over 50,000 views). It’s oddly mesmerizing to watch — like interacting with a familiar cartoon character who just happens to be 7 feet tall and wears a headset.
Appear as a guest on a late-night talk show and win everyone over with your charm and willingness to shoot basketballs across famous streets.
Celebrities — and athletes especially — are often asked to do silly and strange things during public appearances. Towns appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in June and attempted to win $1 million for the fans in attendance by making a shot across Hollywood Boulevard.
Spoiler alert: He missed. But he had fun with it, seemed to give a genuine effort, and he ended up throwing down a dunk to win everyone free corn on the cob (true story).
Get nominated for an ESPY, lose graciously, and take a photo with another up-and-coming NBA player at the show.
Support your teammates in a public setting while furthering your status as an NBA fashion mogul.
Seeing Towns — rocking a Metallica T-shirt with the sleeves cut off — and new Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau hanging out voluntarily at Las Vegas summer league sent many Minnesota fans into a spiral of optimistic glee, (and triggered subsequent bouts of knocking on every wood surface they could find, lest their unguarded moment of hope curse the franchise to another 12 playoff-less seasons).
Towns has been in attendance for most of Minnesota’s important summer league contests over the past couple of weeks, including Monday night’s 84–82 overtime championship game loss against the Chicago Bulls. During his time in Vegas, Towns has given mature interviews about the state of the team, passed along advice to summer league MVP Tyus Jones, and worn some notable clothing. He may never go full Russell Westbrook, but KAT is definitely not afraid to make a statement with this clothing.
Finally, to be sure you’ve covered all your bases, appeal to the youth.
On Monday, Towns sealed his “NBA Good Guy” reputation by appearing on Disney XD’s show Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything. His cameo came on an episode called “The Ringer” (I KNOW, GUYS. I KNOW), where he was recruited by the show’s protagonists to play on their team in a charity basketball game.
He dresses like an old man to hide his identity from the competition (or more likely because it’s always fun to dress up athletes like old people), and his team ends up winning the game while also learning the valuable lessons of friendship, sportsmanship, teamwork, and all of the other Children’s Show Values.