Did I put basketball before my son?
That was the toughest part for me to overcome.
Not having a job at first, I barely had any money to send to my son. Relying on my mother and other family members to send money to him was the toughest part for me.
Imagine having to call your mother and family, asking them if they could send money to your son because you were chasing a dream.
A dream you wanted more than anything in this world.
For a couple of months I was living in a gym, just so that I could save money. After time went on, I finally got an apartment. I needed a place that my son calls home.
Trust me, it was tough.
Before having my son, I had no responsibilities in college besides playing basketball and going to school. I was immature. I remember people would say that I wouldn’t be a good father. Everything changed when he was born.
I remember the first thing I did was go to Foot Locker, buying him six pairs of kicks; even though he couldn’t wear the sneakers, I was just so excited.
Although, because I was in the middle of my collegiate season in Canada, I wasn’t able to be at the birth...
It was heartbreaking.
I remember getting the FaceTime call when he was born, I cried over the phone. My little man was finally here!
I call him King.
A month went by and I was able to finally see him in person. He came to my game. He showed up an hour before tip-off. Holding him for the first time was an incredible feeling, I cried as he laid in my arms. It really hit me at that moment.
I was a father and I loved it!
I walked into the gym with him. As everyone seen him, it was the first time they had the knowledge that I had a child. He was sitting in the front row with my Canadian family.
I scored forty points in front of him.
By far, my favorite basketball moment.
After the game he was able to stay with me for the weekend. I remember that night like it was yesterday. Changing his diapers, feeding him, and just watching him sleep was everything to me. It was just so amazing how much we looked alike, I loved him.
However, I went from seeing him all the time to not seeing him much at all.
After leaving college, I started traveling. Going from country to country, working out for teams trying to sign a professional contract. I sacrificed a lot by doing that. Most people wouldn’t be able to sacrifice not being around their kids to chase their dream like I did.
I missed his first steps and his first words. I missed a lot of those things and that kills me every day. Not being able to give him a kiss, hold, him play with him.
Through it all two parts were the toughest for me. The first part was seeing everyone around their kids, being parents, while I was without my son. This made me feel terrible. And of course, people in your head saying things, which really made me feel horrible. The second hardest part was that my son didn’t know why I wasn’t with him. No matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn’t explain the reason why his dad wasn’t there with him every day. He is so young. He wouldn’t understand.
I struggled with that the most.
At the same time, I’m chasing my dream and I’m not getting the opportunity. I missed his first birthday, Christmas, and other holidays. And to make matters worse, I’m getting cut by teams or I’m just not getting a call from teams at all. So I’m sacrificing a lot and my dreams aren’t coming true.
I was close to quitting, so close.
When I had an opportunity to see my son, it was a long trip, I had to take two flights to see him. Driving to him would have taken a day. Flights aren’t cheap in Canada so that made it even tougher. I remember I didn’t see him for three months.
When I went to see him he didn’t remember who I was at first.
That was the worst feeling ever.
I would try and hold him, but he would cry or run away. It took him about 15 minutes for him to warm up to me. So I brought him to the gym when I was working out, and as I’m was doing a shooting drill, he started clapping and cheering for me.
That moment right there showed me that he supports his daddy.
That moment meant a lot to me. I had him for two weeks. After that, I had to give him back to his mother. I cried in the boarding line at the Toronto airport. I was so heartbroken leaving him knowing he might forget about me.
It scared me so much.
At the same time I was motivated because I knew then, that he was supporting his father. In the next few months I went to Lithuania to try out for the team that I got cut from. I came back to see my son and he remembered me. That meant a lot to me. It had been a year and seven months since I played my last collegiate game and I still didn’t have a contract.
Three months later I received my contract to play in Armenia.
I sacrificed it all for my dream and it paid off.
I remember signing my contract, it was a huge accomplishment for me because it tested me a lot. I’m moving into my new apartment this summer and I’m also a head basketball trainer. Everything is coming together slowly, but I’m happy where I’m at. What got me through this was my patience and betting on myself. My son's mother is amazing and she let me chase my dream. I wouldn’t be able to do that without her.
Hey son, Daddy loves you so much! Writing this is making me cry because you motivate me every day.
See you soon,
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