Tom Brady is one of the greatest athletes of his generation. He’s a sure-fire hall-of-famer, but the New England Patriots quarterback is also still just a kid who looks up to his dad.
At Super Bowl LI Media Day, Brady was asked by a young child who his hero his. Brady’s eyes quickly grew misty as he gave his answer.
“Well, I think my dad is my hero because he’s someone I look up to every day. And, uh,” Brady then paused as he started to choke up before finishing his answer succinctly, “my dad.”
Sports have a knack for producing heartwarming moments between fathers and their kids. Going out to the front yard to have a catch with Dad is a rite of passage for a lot of children.
These games, as silly and seemingly insignificant as they are, give many fathers an opportunity to bond with their sons and daughters and teach them valuable life lessons they carry with them into adulthood.
Here are five other times sports gave us unforgettable dad moments.
Derek and Jim Redmond: ’92 Summer Olympics
British sprinter Derek Redmond got off to a great start at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona by finishing with the fastest time in his heat in the 400-meter to qualify for the semifinal.
But during the semifinal, Redmond went down in agonizing pain with a torn hamstring. Although he was well behind the other sprinters, Redmond got up and began hobbling towards the finish line. He was determined to finish, but he wasn’t going to do it alone.
Derek was soon joined by his father, Jim, who leaped onto the track and past security to help his son to the finish with tears in both of their eyes.
This moment is recognized as one of the most inspiring moments in Olympic history and is replayed constantly as an example of what it truly means to never give up.
Brett Favre honors his dad on MNF
December 22, 2003, is a night former Green Bay Packers superstar quarterback Brett Favre will never forget. It followed a night he’ll remember as one of the worst of his life.
The night before, Brett’s father, Irvin, unexpectedly passed away. Brett was devastated. Complicating matters was the fact that the Packers were scheduled to play the Oakland Raiders the following night on Monday Night Football.
Despite losing his role model who had coached him in high school and attended every one of his games since the fifth grade, Brett took the field. And he played one of the best games of his career.
In the first half alone, he threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns as Green Bay breezed to a 41-7 win.
“I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play,” Favre said. “I love him so much, and I love this game. It’s meant a great deal to me, to my dad, to my family, and I didn’t expect this kind of performance. But I know he was watching tonight.”
MJ captures Father’s Day title
June 16, 1996, capped an emotional, tumultuous three-year journey for the National Basketball Association’s all-time greatest.
On July 23, 1993, James Jordan, father of Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, was shot and killed at a rest stop in North Carolina. The murder rocked Michael, who was always extremely close to his dad. He was so affected by the loss that he left the game of basketball to try out a brief baseball career before eventually returning to hoops in 1995.
After being knocked out of the playoffs the previous season, Jordan and the Bulls ran roughshod over the NBA in the 1995-96 season winning a record 72 games.
They capped the year by claiming their fourth championship in six seasons on June 16. Father’s Day.
Jordan, who was named series MVP, wept openly in the locker room after the game as his teammates celebrated around him.
“This is probably the hardest time for me to play the game of basketball,” Jordan said. “I had a lot of things on my heart, on my mind. I had a lot to think about. I’m just happy the team kind of pulled me through it.”
The Griffeys go back-to-back
On August 31, 1990, Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. made Major League Baseball history by becoming the first father-son tandem in MLB history.
Less than a month later, on September 14, they hit the record books again by becoming the first father-son duo to swat back-to-back home runs.
“The only thing I remember him saying is, ‘That’s how you do it, son,’” Griffey Jr. said.
In 2004, the Griffeys tugged at baseball fans’ heartstrings again when the younger Griffey clubbed his 500th career homer on Father Day with his dad sitting in the front row. After circling the bases, the younger Griffey jumped into the stands to give his father an emotional embrace.
When Rick Hoyt was born in 1962, he was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy and his parents, Dick and Judy, were told he had little hope at a “normal life.”
But Dick and Judy were determined to get their son the same opportunities as any other child, fighting for his inclusion in community, sports, education, and the workplace.
Rick was admitted into public school at the age of 13, and he earned a college degree from Boston University in 1993.
Team Hoyt started when Rick asked his dad to run a race with him to benefit a lacrosse player at his school who was paralyzed. Although Dick had never been a runner, he pushed his chair the full five miles.
After the race, Rick said to his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
From then on, Dick and Rick began competing in nearly every race imaginable. They’ve participated in more than 1,000 races, including 255 triathlons, 72 marathons, a 20K, 37 10-milers, 35 Falmouth 7.1-milers, eight 15Ks, 218 10Ks, 160 5-milers, 161 5Ks, eight 20-milers, two 11Ks, one 7K, and one 20-mile Bike For Best Buddies.
In 1992, they took a 47-day, 3,770-mile trek across the United States that stretched from the Santa Monica Pier to the Marriott Long Wharf on Boston Harbor.
The family used their fame to create The Hoyt Foundation, Inc. to help others with disabilities participate in athletic pursuits and promote inclusion in day-to-day life.