The NBA offseason is usually one of the more entertaining ones in all of professional sports, and this summer has proved no different.
The NBA Draft, Lonzo Ball’s summer league hype, big-time trades and free-agent signings, and Kyrie Irving’s recent trade request are some of the headlines that have filled the break. Fans love these bits of news, but NBA players typically try to stay away from it.
How do NBA players avoid all the craziness that goes on in the offseason? They keep themselves occupied.
“I always try to keep myself busy, it’s just working out early morning, getting it over with, and then kind of just working getting the other side done of basketball,” former University of Kentucky star Karl-Anthony Towns said Sunday while at his Karl-Anthony Towns Summer Slamfest Camp
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The other side of basketball for Towns includes filming commercials for brands including NBA 2K17, Jack Links beef jerky, and Foot Locker.
This summer, Towns has added Kit Kat and Gatorade to that list, with his Gatorade commercial reaching 2.5 million views on YouTube as of Sunday afternoon. Towns initially wasn’t a fan of that commercial, which referenced his Kentucky squad coming up short of the NCAA championship, but later bought into its message that great athletes find ways to bounce back from defeat.
“I thought with the message that the commercial was talking about, and the message of the whole brand for that, was that it made a lot of sense,” Towns said.
Towns also shared some details of the behind the scenes production of the commercial.
“Mostly about three hours of actual work was put into doing a whole other commercial that didn’t actually happen and we spent 45 minutes on that part, and that’s the one that ended up on TV,” Towns said.
Towns also enjoys spending some of his offseason back in Kentucky. Along with leading the camp, Towns has gotten the chance to reunite with his old coach and introduce himself to the current Kentucky basketball players.
“I want to come back as much as possible, give back to the community. It’s really great to be back, be with my friends and just enjoy Lexington again,” Towns said.
Soon, Towns will stop filming commercials and hosting kids camps and start gearing up for his third season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His team has been among those making offseason headlines.
The Timberwolves made a blockbuster trade that led to them acquiring NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler. Minnesota has also signed free agents Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford.
The Timberwolves had been in a rebuilding phase, but now Towns feels like his team — which also includes Andrew Wiggins and former Louisville standout Gorgui Dieng — is ready to win.
“We’ve built from block by block, brick by brick, a team we feel very comfortable with,” he said.
Towns, arguably Minnesota’s franchise player, has also spent time improving his own game this offseason. He said he’s been working on a secret trick that will make him and the Timberwolves must-see TV this season.
“I cant wait to bring it out in the season, but it’s something that for me personally, I’ve always been known as versatile, but its something that I never really thought that I had in my game until now,” he said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Chris Leach: 859-231-1326, @chrisleach250