Karl-Anthony Towns gives surprise gift to community superhero: ‘He’s done so many amazing things’

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With his entire 7-foot, 250-pound frame stuffed into a commercial airplane seat, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns just can’t stop fidgeting. Nervousness, excitement, anticipation – you name it, it runs the gamut of emotions.

But Towns isn’t on the way to a playoff game or training camp with a Timberwolves team poised to make a significant jump in the Western Conference. Joy and excitement swirl through his veins as he makes the 2,000-mile journey from Los Angeles to Fort Wayne, Indiana (with a chance stopover in Minneapolis) — all so he can give a gift to someone. man he has never met.

“I just feel like my calling in life is to serve others and be as selfless as possible, so that’s just a natural who I am,” Towns told CBS Sports. “I love helping people. It really is one of my truest passions in life.”

Towns went to Fort Wayne to celebrate Eric Wood, a community superhero who organizes a group of more than 1,000 volunteers throughout the Fort Wayne area who help meet the needs of their neighbors – from mowing lawns household repairs and garbage removal. Because of his service, Wood was recognized as part of Good Neighbor Month, a joint State Farm and Disney initiative that runs throughout September to encourage people to “take action in their communities, unite neighborhoods and shine a light on those who have a positive impact”.

In front of dozens of community members, Towns and State Farm presented Wood with his own custom Marvel superhero comic book cover, as well as a trip for his entire family to Disney California Adventure Park. Towns also presented him with a check from State Farm for $10,000, to be donated to Wood’s chosen charity.

Courtesy of State Farm and Disney

“There’s so much evil in the world and, you know, I wish there were more demonstrations of the good that the world has,” Towns said. “I’m just very lucky that State Farm and Disney gave me the chance to show some of the good there. … I was so excited to get to Fort Wayne and to be able to see Eric and to be able to give him the time he deserves. He has done so many amazing things in his community. He truly is the definition of a good neighbor.

For cities, this is nothing new. His desire to see others succeed has been ingrained in him since he was a child. This carries over from his personal life to the basketball court, where he practices what he calls “servant leadership”, trying to set others up to succeed before himself.

“I find more joy in my life in seeing people win than I do in winning,” Towns told CBS Sports. “The most memorable moments in my life have been when I was able to help someone win, get the moment they yearned for, were trying to get, or see a friend of mine accomplish something they wanted to achieve. worked very hard. I always found more pleasure in my life in seeing these things.

That’s why Towns flew out to join the celebration in Fort Wayne, and why he will continue to serve his community through organizations like the World Federation of Youth Clubs, with which he has just partnered. Asked about the super-max extension he signed with Wolves this summer that guarantees him almost a quarter of a billion dollars, Towns didn’t talk about all the things he was going to buy – he said. instead talked about all the good he could do with that kind of capital.

“I was always taught that love is the greatest currency I could have, so I never looked at money as something like everything, as if the culmination of my success was the money I was making,” Towns told CBS Sports. . “I have always sought to do my best in my job, to do my best in my community, to do my best for the world and my future children and set them up for success.”

As for Wood, he’s not going to stop serving his community anytime soon, and he hopes his actions can inspire others to break down the barriers that may separate them.

“I think being a good neighbor has the potential to change the climate of our country,” Wood said. “It’s being ready to knock on a door, to see who’s home and what’s going on – to make sure someone’s okay.”

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