Why family is the ultimate support system
Competing at a high level involves a lot of pressure. And when I’m out in public, my guard is often up. Those are just the realities of my job. But within the walls of my own home, I can feel fully comfortable.
My kids don’t care who won last night’s game. They like basketball and want to see Dad happy, but when it comes down to it, they just want to play and have fun with me. I’m “Dad” to them, not a basketball star or an athlete. Even after a rough night, when I go home to my family, I know I have to leave basketball at the gym. I have to resist taking any frustration or disappointment with me. My kids encourage me to look on the bright side.
After the 2011 finals when we lost, I was devastated. But my daughter Trinity, who was about three years old at the time, told me, “Don’t be sad, Daddy.” And I realized at that moment, I can’t be mad or upset—it was time to hang out with my daughter, not dwell on the outcome of the game.
Marriage, like basketball, is definitely a team effort. My wife, Adrienne, is a huge support for me. She attends every game, bringing friends along to cheer me on, even after a long day. Her presence motivates me. I remember our crucial win over the Spurs in Game 6 a couple years ago. Toward the end of the game, I’ll admit I was considering a loss. I had doubts about whether we could pull off a win.
But I looked over at Adrienne and she was standing up and clapping, not looking at me, just cheering for our team. There were people walking out, people who thought the game was pretty much over, but her positivity snapped me back into the game and I ended up making some big plays. I’m not sure that would have happened if I hadn’t witnessed her show of support.
From the perspective of an athlete, having a peaceful home and a supportive family makes a world of difference. My wife, kids and extended family are truly my biggest fans, my most enthusiastic cheerleaders, my most faithful supporters.