One of the budding young stars of the NBA, former Kentucky standout Karl-Anthony Towns is using his long legs to step way out of his comfort zone.
The 2018 ESPN The Magazine Body Issue, the 10th anniversary edition, features Towns posing without his standard basketball jersey and shorts.
Already an NBA Rookie of the Year and All-Star and still just 22 years old, Towns posed for the photoshoot in Los Angeles, where he showed off his 7-foot and 220-pound frame on a blacktop overlooking the mountains.
You can view all of the photos of Towns, photographed by Martin Schoeller and Eric Lutzens, here.
“I think people are going to be surprised at how long my legs are compared to my torso, and my arms as well — I am a very lanky fellow,” Towns said to Stacey Pressman in his accompanying interview. “I think it looks a little funny. But I think people are going to be surprised to see how much work I truly put into my body so that I can do what I do on the court.”
Towns elaborates in the interview how he had to grow comfortable in his long frame after one of his biggest growth spurts and how he maintains his body during the long grind of the NBA season, which can last as long as eight months.
“I had a growth spurt from, like, 6-4 to 6-8,” Towns said. “Oh man, my knees were killing me (laughs). A growth spurt is a challenge for a young child, especially to always be different than the other kids. For me, I just found that as my superpower. You know, it’s something that made me different. That’s what made me special…Now I’m 7 feet of sexy — a lot of it.”
Towns wears a size 20 shoe and makes sure he drinks plenty of fluids during the day — for whatever his body weight is, he takes half of that number and drinks that many ounces of water. And since he claims he was genetically made to not have abs, he works extra hard to keep his core in top condition. For him, it’s actually one of the best parts about being a professional basketball player.
“Since I came out of college, I feel like a physically new being,” Towns said. “I changed my weight, my shoulders, my arms, my legs, getting stronger all over. Since making these changes, I think I’ve been able to play at a much faster pace for a longer time. I love working out. I love the grind of my job. And I love the grind of the everyday challenge.”