The Brothers Townsend

Two basketball brothers joined at the hip


Annika Pepper

Senior Michael Townsend (left) and junior Malachi Townsend (right) move down the court with the basketball. The Townsend brothers have stood out on the boys team as a dominant and versatile pair. All their lives, they have pursued basketball excellence as they push each other to greater heights. Beyond that, the brothers have forged a strong brotherly bond off of the court.

Brothers are a blessing in sports. They are able to push each other and make themselves better in or out of the game. Senior Michael and junior Malachi Townsend have developed a bond through basketball their entire lives.

“It’s not that I wanted them to play basketball… Once I asked that question about ‘Hey, do you really want to play this sport?’ Then it was, ‘Okay, let’s go from there get you into this sport so you can learn how to play the game,’” Mike Jr. said. “It was basically them [wanting to play]. I just pushed them a little bit hard.”

[Michael] was always on my back, and I was always on his.

— junior Malachi Townsend

Athletic prowess runs in the Townsend family. The Townsends’ grandfather and great uncle, Mike Sr. and Willie, played football together at Notre Dame. Their father, Mike Jr., played college basketball at Chattanooga. 

Both brothers took to basketball as if it were second nature. The boys quickly began practicing hard and joining youth leagues. Their passion for basketball would not truly spark until they won their first championship in their 8U league. At that moment, the brothers’ passion for basketball blossomed.

“Since we’re so close in age, we work out and do everything [together],” Malachi said. “[We] practice the same, we go through the same workout. He was always on my back, and I was always on his.”

Even at an early age, the boys were competitive with one another. It became a race to see who would become the more skillful player. One on one matches were constant between the two. If one pulled off something cool, the other would try and match it. Their competitive attitudes continued to push them both to new heights.

As time progressed, both Townsends continued to improve. Now, they both have become versatile members of the Starr’s Mill boys basketball team. The Townsends and their chemistry provide a massive strength to the team.

“We know where our spot is, what we can do, what we can’t do,” Michael said. “We [sic] just like double trouble. Both of us together, [and] we’re winning.”

Every game night, the Townsends’ brotherly relationship is on full display. On top of always playing well together and with the team, the Townsends are comfortable being with each other on the court. They not only push for themselves to be better, but they bring good energy to the table and help grab themselves a win.

It’s an amazing feeling to know that the things we distill in them, they do carry it out into the young men they are becoming.

— Connie Townsend

“I told them that they should enjoy every second that they get to spend with their brother on the basketball court because that’s just a big deal and not everyone gets to share that experience,” boys basketball head coach Josh Reeves said. “I feel like they both push each other to be better… It’s just a joy to watch them play well together.” 

Basketball has been a root for the Townsend brothers’ relationship, and both agree that they are tight because of it. Not only do they have support from each other, but they have support from their family as well.

Mike Jr. and Connie Townsend are proud of the fact that they bounce off each other. More than basketball, they have forged a relationship off the court. Michael willfully supports Malachi’s endeavors as a wide receiver on the football team despite not caring much for football himself. That support is imperative of their main value that is family over everything..

“It’s crazy on how many people… approach my husband and I and be like ‘Man, you got some wonderful boys’,” Connie said. “We teach our boys that they have to be respectful no matter whoever it is that they come across… It’s an amazing feeling to know that the things we distill in them, they do carry it out into the young men they are becoming.”

Their final season together came to an end last night when the boys basketball team were upset by the Northside Columbus Patriots 69-65 in overtime, being eliminated from state playoff contention. Despite their time being over, their bond will stand long after the final buzzer.