Boston, MA–In a sport that has had more than its share of poster boys for “bad dads,” it was refreshing to see the prominent displays of positive fatherhood from the new NBA champions.
As the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in game 6 to win the series, several players were seen throughout the post-game festivities holding and hugging their sons, including Ray Allen, PJ Brown and Leon Powe. Allen, in particular, held his son Walker close, as the toddler had been diagnosed and hospitalized with diabetes just days earlier. As a result, Allen’s performance suffered in Sunday’s Game 5 in Los Angeles. Said Allen, “I can truly say my mind wasn’t in the game.”
Other fatherly examples include Eddie House (married, 3 sons), whose son Jaelen has been a regular presence at Celtics games to the extent he’s been called the team’s “good luck charm.”
But the most poignant story has been that of Celtics coach “Doc” Rivers, whose father Grady passed away early in the season. Jackie MacMullan writes on ESPN.com, “As Boston’s dream season has unfolded, Doc Rivers has privately struggled to balance the jubilation of his lifelong dream with the devastation of losing the person he aches to share it with the most.” To read more, click here.
In post-game interviews, Rivers was asked twice about his first thoughts as the buzzer counted down to 0:00. “My first thought was what would my dad say, and honestly I started laughing because I thought he would probably say, if you knew my dad, ‘It”s about time. What have you been waiting for?” So that was my first thought.’
The ESPN article (“Doc Rivers adhering to his father’s lessons”) and an Associated Press article, Celtics coach influenced by father’s guidance were amongst many news accounts of the influence of the coach’s father on him, and in turn, the coach’s successful influence on his players. Lessons like hard work, perseverance, team work and family.
Fittingly, Rivers’ team won the Championship on June 17th – Grady Rivers’ birthday.
Lastly, we note the passing of NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert, who wrote two books celebrating fatherhood, “Big Russ and Me” and “Wisdom of Our Fathers”. Russert collapsed on the Friday preceding Father’s Day. Local bookstores sold out of both books that afternoon and both are currently sold out on Amazon.com