Great read. Might be one of the best sports autobiographies I have ever read. Has anyone else read it? Here are some excerpts:
My third son, my beautiful boy Cory, is born in 1981. We are blessed with healthy children, who mirror our own sound bodies. We are a family that is embodying the American dream. I'm a millionaire, with a beautiful wife, four gorgeous children — and a new dog — we have cars, clothes, an estate. We are an oil painting come to life, some white supremacist's nightmare, the beautiful black family that has somehow displaced English nobility and taken up their wardrobe and home. We are the wishes of our ancestors, I think, the culmination of the struggles of the dreams of Abneys and Ervings and Browns.
What is it about newborn babies that pulls you toward their cribs, even when they are sleeping? Sometimes, I go into Cory's room and bend over to kiss his soft cheeks and sometimes I just go in there and stand and sniff the air, smell his smell. It is, I suppose, the species ensuring its survival. A new baby in the house settles things down, exerts a focus and calming influence. The machine of family is working, the engine is running, the product is this: a beautiful child.
A man walks through this patio, along this deck, a glass of wine in hand, and he feels that he is somehow at the center of the world. He has beautiful children, a lovely wife, fine friends, and here around him is the evidence of that, every blade, every leaf, every splash: it is all a blessing that he never takes for granted.
But beneath that image, or around it, are the great strains of my life, and ahead of me, there is so much pain still to come. I have to admit I am no longer that shining example of promise and potential. I am now fully realized but that means I also have to admit that this is what success is, what it looks and feels like. I appreciate its every minute, but with success comes previously unconsidered problems and concerns.
One thing I am now confronting is how different my children's experience is from my own. Cosby had told me that nothing about growing up poor teaches you how to be a rich dad. My eldest son, Cheo, whom we nickname Bam-Bam for his physical strength, his nose for disruption and heavy-handed chaos, his frank boyishness and unremitting mischief, is an indifferent student, dismissive of his teachers. He's a bright boy, cat quick when he wants to be, but too rarely shows that at school, where he is a steady disciplinary problem, the concerned calls home from teachers and administrators a regular occurrence.
Re: Dr. J: The Autobiography (Excerpts from new book)
I don't want to write too much about my sons' stories, out of respect for their privacy, but perhaps the greatest challenge for me as a father is to resist viewing their lives through the prism of my own adolescence. I was a different boy from Cheo and J.
As the first generation of our family to have money, Turquoise and I turn to our friends and associates for parenting advice. We consult specialists and counselors.
It is a mistake on my part to try to solve my sons' issues — as our Mainline neighbors suggest, at least by their prosperous example — by finding them a different school. They begin a labyrinthine journey through elite private schools. Their upbringing is so different from mine. I didn't have choices. If you flunked out of the local public school, well, that was it. There was no alternative. With money, however, come all kinds of options, of parenting solutions far more esoteric than my mom beating me with a switch.
I never hit my children. I break that terrible tradition. But I perhaps create a too lenient alternative where my children are indulged. Instead of telling them, "You stick it out. You hang in there. You follow rules," I impart the message that we will change the rules to better accommodate them.
It is, I now believe, a colossal mistake.
Perhaps I am overcompensating for being absent so often. A professional athlete's life means extended absences. I am gone too often, and so I try to make up for it by providing in money what I can't always give in time. My job is to play basketball, and the time that demands is not optional, it is required. So I miss too much of my children's lives. I don't know that there is anything I can do about that. I am as involved as I can be. Either Turq or I will go to every parent-teacher night, to every soccer or basketball or lacrosse game, to every performance and recital.
And there is a certain amount of nature that can't be overlooked in this discussion of where my nurturing was wanting: Jazmin is a good, studious girl who stays at Episcopal Academy through high school. She's smart, steady, beautiful, and seems to thrive despite, or perhaps because of, being my daughter.
Part of it, of course, is that Cheo and J are the sons of "the Doctor," and they have had it whispered in their ears by friends, by their peers, that, hey, they don't have to worry about anything because, "your dad is Dr. J."
Like they have it made.
My dad was Tonk. I never had it made.
That may be the biggest difference right there.
But I love my children with an intensity that causes its own distortions. I'm not a stern disciplinarian, and so perhaps we are too lenient, are too soft where perhaps a hardness is required. I am reacting to my own upbringing.
I play ball on our backyard court with J and Cheo, challenging them to beat me two against one. I explain to them that two should always be able to beat one, and they need to find a way to do it. I'm not allowed to shoot layups. No dunks.
We spend days on that court. Each of them tries to take me off the dribble or tries to make long jumpers instead of using the passing game to beat me.
I always tell them, "Figure it out."
Eventually they do.
But I'm very conscious of never forcing them to play sports, or in any way judging them as athletes. I know that they will be measured by too many others against the accomplishments of their father, and that's not fair.
They need to be allowed to just be boys. That's what I was before I became Dr. J.
Re: Dr. J: The Autobiography (Excerpts from new book)
I like Dr. J but can never forget him being callous when he was making a comment abut Shawn Kemp's alleged drug problem.
Years later one of his children had a substance abuse problem revealed t the public ...and later crashed while high/drunk.
Went to a high school special trip and met a guy who went to school with Dr. J's kids. The way he was saying it, I just assumed he was a white guy who resented Black people living in his affluent neighborhood...but just about everything that guy said has been revealed or will be revealed in this book.