Black Athletes and The Evolution of Fatherhood

Part of the fun of being a sports fan is having the debate about who is the G.O.A.T. — the greatest of all time. In Basketball, since the 90s the best basketball to ever play, has been Michael Jordan. Most agree on that. Some may argue that it should be Kobe or Kareem and now, the debate has added Lebron James to the mix.

No question: the debate is fun. But now, Lebron has added something to his resume that no other basketball player, not to mention athlete has been able to do…

He is doing commercials with his son. 

Lebron has been playing professional basketball since he was 18 years old. And now he is entering his 20th season. That alone is an amazing accomplishment. But wait, there’s more! Lebron also has two sons, one of which is preparing to enter the NBA in the next two years. As I type this, he is a Senior in high school and then will play one year in college. And then, it’s the NBA for him. Lebron has already stated that he wants to play with his son before he retires. So it’s a foregone conclusion that he will be there; it is only a matter of time. 

But that isn’t what makes them special. It’s the social media footage of Lebron on the sidelines of Bronny’s games coaching him, encouraging him, cheering for him. It’s beautiful. It’s something we haven’t really seen before – especially from high profile athletes. And that isn’t to say it hasn’t happened; it’s just to say we are seeing it now. 

Lebron isn’t the only one. NBA stars like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Jayson Tatum have made it a trend to show off their children. It’s like we’re watching their children grow up right in front of us. 

It can’t be a coincidence considering how millennial fatherhood seems to be different than the previous generations, according to this Insider article. Millennial fathers are more present, more involved and that seems to be carrying over to athletes. 

It’s this evolution of fatherhood that we are able to see on our TV screens that reminds us that fatherhood isn’t just a side effect of getting married. Being a father is cool. Being a father is important. So when we see a powerful Black man like Lebron James in commercials with his son, we are witnessing the establishment of legacy and it’s a beautiful thing to behold. 

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