Karl-Anthony Towns has already put the League on notice; he can play at a high level on both sides of the floor, shooting or dunking, getting blocks or steals. But the court isn’t the only place the two-time Rookie of the Month winner likes to dominate.
The virtual realm also has Karl’s fingertips all over it. Along with teammate Andrew Wiggins, KAT hosted a live-stream of the newest Call of Duty Black Ops III map on Monday night.
Afterward, SLAM caught up with the reigning No. 1 overall pick on Monday to talk about video games and his beautiful shooting stroke, which the kid has been holstering since he was playing high school ball in New Jersey.
SLAM: What were you and Andrew doing in Los Angeles?
Karl-Anthony Towns: We were playing the new DLC for Call of Duty Black Ops III, the Awakening. It comes out tomorrow (February 2). It’s going to be a great DLC, especially for the franchise. The team has done a great job of giving you maps that are very awesome and using the components that they’ve implemented to this year’s game with the more fluid wall running and the ability to have something called “Specialists.” It makes the game very fun when you add all these different aspects.
SLAM: Are you a big gamer?
KAT: I love video games. It’s something that blows my mind. I think it’s amazing, the mood that video games put you in and the effect it has on you.
SLAM: Have you been playing Call of Duty since you were younger?
KAT: Yes, I have. I’ve been playing Call of Duty since it came out. I’ve been blessed to have a knowledge of the game and the game’s history.
SLAM: What’s your gameplay style like?
KAT: I’m definitely more like Rambo. I’m going in guns blazing in the middle of all the danger and finding every way to kill everybody.
SLAM: Who’s better on the sticks, you or Andrew?
KAT: I always will say me. Andrew will think it’s himself. But I think if there was a crown to be given out, I think I would be wearing it.
SLAM: The two professional gamers (TypicalGamer and HikeTheGamer) that were there tonight, did they like the DLC?
KAT: They loved it. I think they were more surprised by me and Andrew’s skill level in the game. It was awesome. The DLC’s amazing, the maps are awesome and the maps are definitely great. The diffiereiantal between a big map, in Gauntlet, or a small map, in Skyrisers, is going to be awesome.
SLAM: Do you and the team get together to play video games?
KAT: Yeah, sometimes we get a chance. We have a lot of gamers on our team too. It gives us a chance to really connect and bond and build that unity that builds a championship team.
SLAM: Between game prep or scouting or taking care of you body, what’s surprised you in the League so far?
KAT: The biggest thing for any NBA athlete, any athlete in general, is the ability to take care of your body to the maximum standard. For me, I just try every day to take care of my body. You only get one. Just got to make sure you take care of it to the best of your ability.
SLAM: Did you see yourself being so successful so quickly? You’re leading rookies in a whole bunch of different categories.
KAT: I saw more of myself, even more for myself. I feel like maybe I’ve underwhelmed myself a little this year but that’s just because my expectations of myself are so high. You go in with a set of goals and expectations and I just always try to strive to get to those expectations and goals. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to at least contribute to the team as much as I can.
SLAM: At Kentucky, Coach Cal was telling you not to shoot jumpshots. Did you have such a good touch at school or is that something that you’ve been developing?
KAT: Oh, no, I’ve had that since high school. In high school I was a shooter. I led New Jersey in threes one year, so I was very happy to do what I needed to do for my team so we had the best chance of winning and winning a National Title. And that last year was for me to be a low-post presence and spread the court out for my teammates.
SLAM: Is shooting something that you and Coach Mitchell have talked about? He’s running pin-downs for you now.
KAT: For me, it’s just finding ways to get the ball in better spots and also help my team out and I think Coach Mitchell thinks that some offensive plays are better for us to run.
SLAM: Has KG or anybody talked to you about developing a go-to move? It seems like every time you get to the lefty jump hook it’s a bucket.
KAT: I use a lot of my moves. I’ve worked tremendously hard on all of my moves. I’m just lucky to have a great teacher in KG.
SLAM: You’re leading the World Team on Friday night at All-Star Weekend. Do you have any expectations?
KAT: Just go out there and try to win. That’s the biggest thing for us.