It’s the first question most people ask me after they ask what my daughter’s name is.
My response? Simple. She doesn’t have one yet.
It’s not because I haven’t gotten around to getting her one, but because I decided not to give her one just yet.
As you may know, I am a professional basketball player. This is my third season playing professional basketball in Europe.
I have played in Serbia, Spain, Andorra, and Monaco. Before turning pro, I played college basketball at Rice University, Villanova University, and the University of Oregon. I’ve won league championships, tournament championships; I even won a Final Four ring in my last year of college. My father is a high school basketball coach and has his own basketball organization in Canada. My oldest brother is a basketball trainer and my brother Tyler is a professional basketball player who has played in the NBA. My other three younger siblings also play basketball (the fourth tore her ACL playing basketball so she stopped playing).
It doesn’t stop there…
My wife picked up a basketball at the age of seven. She has played all her life. After graduating high school in Australia, she went on to become a junior college All-American in Nebraska before playing at the University of Oregon. And oh yeah, her mother runs her own basketball organization for young kids in Australia.
It’s a big part of the reason why my daughter does not have a basketball yet.
She comes from a basketball bloodline. Basketball will be around her no matter where she turns. She might not become the best basketball player in the world, but there is a 99% chance she will be a natural when she starts playing. My wife and I don’t want to force the basketball into her hands. We don’t want to create her destiny before she can say her first words. I believe a lot of parents do this without even knowing it. We want our daughter to create her own path, do what she wants to do and not what we force her to do. Yes, we will introduce her to basketball at a young age, and when she’s old enough we will train her to be the best she possibly can be --
There is such a fine line between pushing your children beyond perceived limitations, and pushing them past the point in which they lose their love for something. Basketball has opened many doors for me and my wife, but I recently made a conscious effort to not have basketball define who I am as a person. When I was young, I got caught up thinking basketball was the be all, end all. I put constant pressure on myself when dealing with the game. It created so much anxiety and depression. After a season-ending injury in my senior year, I thought my basketball dreams were dead. I lost basketball momentarily so I felt like I lost my life. This made me spiral out of control because,
When I finally recovered mentally, physically, and emotionally from that ordeal, I told myself that basketball will not define me. And I will make sure basketball, or anything my daughter is good at will not define her, either. She will be her own person; she will do what makes her happy and not just what makes her parents happy.
As kids we want to make our parents proud, but sometimes in doing that we forget about our own motivation and purpose.
I just want my daughter to be happy in whatever she decides to do. I don’t want her to feel pressure from home, because I know society will give her enough to handle.
Watch a "Behind the Scene" video on Dylan & Megan Ennis and how they fell in love through the game of basketball.
Get the best dad stories, straight to your inbox