Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the most dominant male athletes on the planet, succeeding at every level of basketball. But earlier this week, the 7-foot Minnesota Timberwolves star and new Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell were smashed in a game of beach volleyball by a pair of women standing 6-foot-2 or shorter.
April Ross, a former USC standout and two-time beach volleyball Olympic medalist, arranged a fun exhibition match that doubled as a Gatorade promo. Also competing were USC alum and AVP defender Geena Urango, and another Olympian, UCLA alum Lauren Fendrick.
The match went, well, very badly for Towns.
“Have you ever played before?” Ross asked Russell.
“Ish,” he replied, laughing.
Towns was a bit more candid: “I don’t have any volleyball experience whatsoever.”
It showed, wonderfully and hilariously.
Ross compared the pair of NBA starters to “baby deer on ice.”
“We’ve trained for every aspect of our career, basketball-wise,” Towns said. “But being out here is totally different.”
Indeed. It didn’t help matters that Ross, Fendrick and Urango are three of the most accomplished beach volleyball players in the world. (Ross and Fendrick were coming off a second-place finish in the Beach Volleyball World Championships last weekend in Austria.) Urango, meanwhile, finished second in the AVP’s most recent tournament in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
By no means, however, did that mean Fendrick and Urango were going to take it easy.
“I think we call that a smashy,” Ross said, “when the other team completely dominates the other.”