Many athletes will credit themselves, teammates, and coaches after winning a game, tournament, or competition.
But what about the parents?
Specifically, what role does a father play in an athlete’s success?
If you actually drill down, a handful of the world’s most famous professional athletes have shared publicly they would not be who they are without the tutelage and support from their dads.
A three-time NBA champion and back-to-back league MVP, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is the son of Sonya and Dell Curry.
Dell spent 16 years in the NBA as a player; he spent 10 of those with the Charlotte Hornets.
But besides teaching him how to become one of basketball history’s most prolific shooters, Stephen says his father Dell’s even keel stance about Stephen following in his father’s footsteps played a significant role in who the 33-year-old star is today.
“[Dell] wasn’t ever going to push us to the gym; sure, he’d go with us, but it’s not like he’d wake us up and force us to go,” said Stephen via ESPN. “That helped me a lot because my work ethic has always been my own and not someone else forcing it on me.”
Fathers everywhere may take a tip from Dell Curry. Don’t live vicariously through your children; allow them to be their own unique individuals.
“I can’t be more proud of [Dell] as a father and a role model, example for me,” Steph said after the 2015 NBA Finals.
Patrick Mahomes II
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II will be entering his fifth professional season in the NFL this upcoming fall with two appearances in the Super Bowl, one championship ring, and a league MVP already.
Mahomes’ father Pat is a former professional athlete, who spent his 11-year career as a journeyman pitcher on six different teams in Major League Baseball.
The elder Mahomes makes it a point to be at every single one of his son’s games. To date, he has yet to miss a home game at Arrowhead Stadium nor forgotten to speak with his son before and after the game.
“I tell him, ‘Players make plays, and I love you,'” Mahomes Sr. said via WDAF-TV. “That’s our thing we’ve had since he was 7 or 8 years old. I tried to reinforce it every game, whether it was two games a week in baseball or basketball or one game a week in football. I try to make sure he knows that I’m in his corner. I’m going to be there. And as long as he does the best he can, he will never hear a gripe from me.”
Be there for your children; show them unconditional love and trust. Those are the lessons any father should learn from Patrick Mahomes Sr.
Fast forward to 07:55 and be prepared with a box of tissues. Every father and son needs to strive for a bond like this:
Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady may not have a father like Mahomes and Curry who played a sport professionally. But without the support of his dad, Brady may not be the greatest quarterback of all time.
Speaking about his father, Tom Brady Sr., at media day prior to Super Bowl LI in 2017, the former Patriots quarterback fought back tears.
“Who’s my hero?” Brady said. “Well, I think my dad is my hero because he’s someone I look up to every day.”
As Charles Barkley said, “Parents should be role models.”
The shortstop for the New York Mets shared how as a six-year-old, he used to field grounders from his father from the bottom of a steep hill.
Related: How Did Franciso Lindor Become a Great Shortstop? His Dad Used To Smash Grounders At Him From The Top of a Steep Hill
“They’d skip pretty fast,” Lindor told Indians.com. “I just had to attack the ball and get that good hop. Once it went up, I’d charge the ball.”
In other words, all fathers need to engage with their children. Like Lindor and his dad, find an experience to share. It does not have to be sports-related; watch a movie together, lift weights together. Fathers, tutor your sons and help them with their homework.
“[My father’s] very passionate, and he wants the best for me,” Lindor said via the Athletic.
Fathers like Dell Curry may prefer to be more laid back while Lindor’s sounds like he’s very involved. No formula exists for perfect parenting.
However, observing the actions of other parents with successful children may offer up some valuable insights.