When I became a father in 2014, it was an awakening. I finally felt like full fledged ‘adult’ for the first time. Having a daughter made me realize I could no longer turn a blind eye to so much about society that I’d simply been able to ignore up until now because I’d grown up male.
Last year’s first Father’s Day was profound, but this Father’s Day experience has taken things to another level and been both reflective and introspective. I’ve been blessed to share the time with my Dad, Joseph Henry White, better known to Boston Celtic fans as Jo Jo White, my daughter, Layla Simone, our wives, Debbie and Paula, and my sister Jamie, at our home in Los Angeles.
Brian J. White with his father
I sat with Dad on the couch watching the NBA Finals this past week while he bounced Layla on his knee and made the same funny faces and voices he’d made for me as a child that I now also make to entertain her. I was instantly transported back to my childhood.
It made me realize how much of my life and who I am today is me simply repeating the actions of my parents from my own upbringing. I felt so incredibly blessed to have witnessed and inherited a paternal pattern so worthy of repeating.
My father has had his share of successes in life, from his ’68 Olympic Gold medal, to being drafted by 3 different professional sports teams (Boston Celtics of NBA, Cincinnati Reds of MLB and Dallas Cowboys of NFL), to his ’74 & ’76 NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics, 7 NBA All-Star Appearances, NBA Finals MVP Award and his upcoming enshrinement into to NBA Hall of Fame this September.
Brian K. White and Jo Jo White
But none of the things I’m most proud of about my father have to do with his God-given talents.
He’s loved and fawned over my stepmother like a school boy since the day they married. He never missed an opportunity to say grace before a meal or attend Sunday church service to give thanks for his blessings. His fans admired him as much for his character, community service and suit-and tie-game as they did for his jump shot and championship rings. I’ve always most admired his consistent prioritization of putting family first, above all else in his life.