Photo by Travis Anderson
Karl-Anthony Towns works on his no-look look with guidance from Kenny (left) and Danny King.
Like most 19-year-olds, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns wants to look good. Unlike most 19-year-olds, though, Towns has a national profile as the first number one overall draft pick in the franchise’s history and a 7-foot, 3-inch wingspan. So on a Sunday morning before he’s slated to throw out the first pitch at a Twins game, he’s at King Brothers Clothiers in a converted industrial studio in Northeast. Identical twins Danny and Kenny King maneuver around Towns’s considerable frame to take his measurements, then page through fabric samples with him.
“I want stuff that’s out there,” Towns says. “Something that pops.” He gestures to Danny’s (or possibly Kenny’s) outfit. “I like that suit because the top is loud but the bottom is quiet. Crazy, but just enough where it’s still nice.” Throughout the process, Towns reveals himself as less Russell Westbrook—the dean of out-there NBA fashion—and more a young man who wants to be noticed, but not make waves. “If I was to walk in to ESPN with that top, this bottom, I would look fresh?” Towns asks. The brothers nod. “Let’s do it, then.”
Towns talks about his hobbies. Golf is an obsession, although his size means he can’t rent equipment. “I was supposed to play at Hazeltine, but I had no clubs. Rough life,” he smiles. Music—from “N.W.A. to Sam Smith”—is also big.
He knows there’s pressure on him, but isn’t too concerned about starting over as a rookie, having jumped a year in high school and then spending just a year at the University of Kentucky before declaring for the draft. Quite a whirlwind to go from high school junior to picking out four tailored suits for your first season of NBA basketball, but Towns seems to take it in stride, confident but not cocky.
On his way out, he vows to not break the catcher’s hand at the Twins game, then makes his way carefully down the building’s narrow stairs, his size-20 feet turned nearly sideways.