Timberwolves Dedicate Game Ball to George Floyd's Family After Win vs. KingsApril 21, 2021
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced they dedicated the game ball from Tuesday night's win over the Sacramento Kings to the family of George Floyd after former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of the murder of Floyd in May.
Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns explained the importance of showing support for Floyd's family:
"I think for all of us, we all felt that this game was bigger than basketball. This was a moment that wasn't meant for us, this was meant for our city and for George Floyd's family. I think everyone in America right now is grieving with them and sending our prayers, blessings and love towards them.
"They need it for countless days. They've been reminded of the tragedy that has taken place in their family and never truly got a chance to grieve and recover in any sort of way. So I think for us we were just trying to do our part to let them know that we're here with them, that this game of basketball is only just a little part of who we are. And this organization in us wanted to really show them that we're going to be with them every step of the way we possibly can to help them in this process, in this grieving process ... just to repair their lives as much as we possibly can."
NBA players have been on the front line in the fight against social injustice and systemic racism over the past year, which included the postponement of playoff games in August following police violence against Black people such as Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and others.
Many members of the NBA community celebrated Tuesday's guilty verdict while making it clear there's plenty of work left to do, including a joint statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Players Association executive director Michele Roberts:
Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie agreed with the verdict but noted the right doesn't undo the wrong.
"More than everything for me, if justice was really, really, really served, George Floyd would still be here today, but obviously we don't have no control of that," Okogie said. "But what we do have control of is the court case and what we decided to do with Derek Chauvin. I think the court made the right decisions, and ... I hope this slows down the amount of shootings that are happening in the world right now."
Towns, who said he was "worried" before the verdict was announced, said there was a sense of "relief" afterward but added the work must continue to avoid "having the same situation again":
"It's just a moment in time that we get to realize ... when you grow up, your parents tell you what's right and wrong, and they tell you that you know better. They try to teach you accountability for your actions. They try to teach you that justice will always be served, the good will always win in the end. Recently, in life, especially for all of us of color and for me personally, sometimes the good people don't win.
"It's a tough fact that you gotta swallow. ... It's just a great moment for the word accountability gaining some actual meaning, gaining some actual value. Justice, while being bittersweet, also showed itself today. It's bittersweet because it costed a life to see a moment like this. It's one of those moments you worry that if reform's not done, we'll be having the same situation again, and that's the most unfortunate, disheartening thing."
Meanwhile, the NBA, which ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported had prepared teams for potential postponements following the verdict, moved forward with its full schedule of games Tuesday night.
The Wolves are on a four-game road trip and won't play their first home game back in Minneapolis since the verdict until Monday against the Utah Jazz.