Karl-Anthony Towns Q&A: Video games, Kentucky, Okafor, & more
In the midst of his day spent test-driving "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" at the E3 convention in Los Angeles, SI.com caught up with former Kentucky star and our projected No. 1 overall draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns. The 7-footer talked video games, the draft process and his hopes for what could be a long, storied career.
With draft night two weeks away, it's a good time get to know a little more about Towns. For the record, he says he’s not worried about the Lil B curse.
SI.com: Heard you had a busy day at E3. How'd it go?
Karl-Anthony Towns: It was awesome. Being able to be there and represent a great game like Black Ops 3 was awesome. Being able to play the games, a game that I love playing, play with fans—it was a really awesome event.
SI.com: How long have you been a fan of Call of Duty?
KT: I’ve been a fan of it since forever. I remember buying the first Call of Duty on the PC. Also, just playing all the time, Black Ops has always been my favorite.
SI.com: So you got to play against fans; hope you won.
KT: I played really well, my team did well. We didn't win all of them, but I was always on the top of the list. I'm good at video games, but I was much better when I had more time. It was very cool to meet some new fans and just meet new people.
SI.com: Who was the best gamer on the team at Kentucky?
KT: We were really big on video games. Last year, because he played a lot it would be [walk-on guard] EJ Floreal. Or Devin Booker.
SI.com: I saw Marshawn Lynch has a cameo playing a villain in Black Ops 3. Would you ever do something like that?
KT: Yeah, definitely. Being able to do something like that is awesome. You get to implement yourself into the game forever.
SI.com: On that note, are you excited to eventually play as yourself in a basketball video game?
KT: I think the craziest thing is just being able to see myself in it. You always play the games and make yourself. Now you don't even have to worry about that whole process. Just go straight in and play.
SI.com: Have there been any welcome-to-the-league moments like that yet?
KT: Not really. Just the fact that you're thinking, you're not going back to the Kentucky locker room. You're in a new place at the highest level, and I think that's the biggest thing. It especially hits you when thinking about going back to Kentucky to train. You're not going back. You're going to be out on your own.
SI.com: So, let’s say you can’t pick yourself. Who’s the best player in this draft?
KT: I think everyone in this class is really talented. This is one of the best drafts, I think, in a lot of years. So you pick, and it's probably the right answer.
SI.com: Are there any guys you think are being slept on right now in the draft process?
KT: I think there are a lot of guys. Not because we don't think they're good, it's just that there's so much talent this year. I can't wait to see the splash that the Harrison twins make. They're very talented and I think they're getting slept on a little bit. I think they'll be a good addition to the NBA and be really impactful.
SI.com: What would it mean to you to go first overall?
KT: Wherever the chips fall, the chips fall. I can't believe I even have a chance to play at the next level. To just be able to play NBA basketball, be part of the greatest fraternity in the world. It's one of those things where growing up as a child, you never think you're gonna get the chance.
SI.com: Do you and Jahlil [Okafor] talk at all? Do you get the sense that your careers are going to be tied together because of the way this draft has fallen?
KT: Me and Jahlil are really close friends. We respect each other tremendously, and we know, I think we both know that we're going to be tied together. Not just because of the draft, but I think because of our friendship and the way we associate with each other. I have all the respect for him in the world.
SI.com: I saw you play on the perimeter in AAU a few years ago. I think a lot of people don't know you have that in your game. How do you see your skill set transitioning to the NBA?
KT: I think it's going to translate well. I'll be able to do more, help my team out more on the road to a championship. I feel really good about the way workouts are going, improving my game and being able to see how everything will go. I'm very proud of the work I've put in and very excited to see how I grow in the NBA. I can't wait to see what I can do.
SI.com: Is there anyone in the league that might leave you star struck, or who you're especially excited to play against?
KT: I would love to play against Tim Duncan. That's one of the greatest power forwards ever to play the game, greatest players even. On the court with him, it's gonna be an amazing experience to be able to guard him.
SI.com: Lastly, any special plans for draft night?
KT: Nope. Just wear a very exciting suit and see what my future holds.