A Former NBA Player Was Kind Of Ashamed When His Son Told Him Of His Love For Hockey
August 19 / Dan Fogarty / SportsGrid
You're NBA journeyman Popeye Jones. You've developed a reasonably successful and very lucrative career in basketball after starring at Murray State. Your middle son, Seth, has inherited a lot of your athletic ability. Although he's only in high school, he's already 6'3, with long arms and a good handle. You hope that someday he'll have a successful career in basketball, just like you did.
You're NBA journeyman Popeye Jones, and you have no idea what just happened.
"He was kind of disappointed, or confused a bit. He had no idea what hockey was," Seth recalls. "My dad played basketball. I didn't really get into it. It just wasn't fast enough for me."
But like any good father whose son makes a life decision that is confusing to him, Popeye put aside his momentary shame and supported Seth's passion.
While playing with the Denver Nuggets, Popeye ran into then-captain of the Colorado Avalanche, Joe Sakic, and asked for help understanding this mysterious sport played by men with sticks.
"I stopped him and started talking to him," Jones recalls. "I said, 'Joe, my kids want to play ice hockey. I don't know anything about ice hockey. What do I do?' He looked at me and said 'from the look of you, your kids are going to be huge, and they're going to be good athletes. You're just going to have to teach them how to skate.'"
The support has paid off. Seth is now 16, and is a standout defenseman. He has made USA Hockey's summer roster for the World Junior Hockey Championship. He's even being projected as a top NHL draft pick in 2013. And Popeye Jones, although initially shocked, is now proud of his hockey-playing freak of a kid.