On Sunday, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas made a series of clutch plays to help lead his squad to a crucial playoff victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
After the game, however, it was Thomas’ two young sons who were the stars. During the postgame press conference, Jaden and James joined their father at the podium and they stole the show. Jaden leaned in and said, “Hi,” to everyone in the room before bursting into a giggle fit. James then let the press know what he thinks of his dad’s basketball abilities.
“Isaiah is the greatest basketball player,” he said.
Thomas is one of several NBA stars to recently promote an image of an emotionally engaged father. This is a welcomed development as athletes haven’t always provided the best example for dads.
In 1998, Sports Illustrated famously published a cover story with the headline, “Where’s Daddy?” that detailed how many NBA stars were dodging parental responsibilities for children fathered out of wedlock.
Here are three more examples of pro athletes helping give dads a good name.
Adam LaRoche chooses family over baseball
Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche recently walked away from a $13 million contract after team president Ken Williams told LaRoche he had to limit the time 14-year-old son, Drake, spent in the team’s clubhouse.
LaRoche’s retirement stirred some controversy, and there are arguments to be made for both sides. It’s certainly great that LaRoche wanted to spend so much time with his son, who appeared to be beloved by most of LaRoche’s teammates.
But Williams said Drake was around the club 100 percent of the time, and unlimited clubhouse access for any family member is unprecedented. One could also probably debate whether it is even appropriate for a teenager to be exposed to everything that goes on in an MLB clubhouse.
However, in all the media fallout from LaRoche’s retirement, the majority of commentators have supported his desire to maximize his time with his kids. This is great progress considering it was just two years ago that New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy was criticized for missing Opening Day for the birth of his son.
Riley Curry joins her dad for championship run
Thomas’ kids stole the spotlight Sunday, but Steph Curry’s daughter, Riley, was the original postgame toddler superstar.
Adorable Riley rose to fame during last season’s playoffs as her dad led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship.
Her breakout performance came after the Warriors knocked off the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals. During the postgame press conference, Riley yawned into the mic, bounced up and down at the podium, bragged about her bracelet and twice belted out the lyrics to the song, “Blessed” before handing her gum to an employee so she could go play hide-and-seek in the curtains.
Listening to Curry talk about his little girl could make any father melt.
“Being a father kind of gives you something more to play for,” he said. “I think off the court, it just grounds you every day, because no matter if I have a good game, bad game, score 40, score 10, I think my daughter’s going to be happy to see me when I get home, and that kind of makes everything all right.”
LeBron James makes fatherhood cool
King James has been outspoken about the impact his absentee father had on his own life. And it seems he’s making sure he doesn’t follow in his dad’s footsteps.
In Samsung’s “At Home” commercial, LeBron plays airplane, does push-ups, shoots and poses for selfies with his sons Bryce and LeBron Jr. In the process, he manages to make fatherhood cool.
LeBron’s ad is one of many “dadvertisements” that have hit the airwaves over the past few years as brands are starting to reshape the way fathers are portrayed in popular culture.