Towns’ family heritage key to star turning down USA Basketball


Center Karl-Anthony Towns of the Kentucky Wildcats warms up before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, April 4, 2015 in Indianapolis, In. Photo by Jonathan Krueger

Kevin Erpenbeck

When future-NBA Star Karl-Anthony Towns decided to play for the Dominican Republic national team in 2012 instead of Team USA, he made himself ineligible to participate in any future Team USA events.

Many were left scratching their heads as to why such a talented kid born in Edison, New Jersey, would turn down such a golden opportunity. 

But those close to him knew it was all because of his family connections.

Towns’ mother, Jacqueline Cruz, is a native of the Dominican Republic and introduced Towns’ connection to the country. In an interview with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, Towns opened up about the memories he shares of learning about his mother’s family heritage, including the delicious food his grandmother always made for him.

While the opportunity with Team USA might have looked glamorous in 2012, Towns doesn’t regret his decision one bit in sticking close to his family heritage.