Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers out there!
In honor of this important holiday that recognizes the significance of mothers everywhere, let’s take a dive into some motherly moments in sports.
An athlete’s mother is always their biggest cheerleader. Whether it is standing on the sideline of a Youth recreation soccer match, a League Championship lacrosse game or an NHL Stanley Cup Final, moms are always right there cheering loudly, sometimes even embarrassingly.
Whether an athlete is currently active in the sports world or retired, mothers tend to be a staple in the transgression of said athlete’s career, image and overall persona.
Moms like Pam Bryant, mother of former Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Olivia Manning, mother of football superstars Eli and Peyton Manning and Debbie Phelps, mother of Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, have all had their fair share of motherly moments on the court and on the field while their children broke records and won titles.
Then again, how could they not? A mother’s most proud moment is seeing their child succeed in an avenue they are passionate about. And that is something that will always remain unscathed.
Let’s take a look at the most famous moms of athletes currently thriving in the sports world today:
Natalia Malkin is the mother of Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins center and No. 2 pick of the 2004 NHL Draft. She and her husband Vladimir, who put their son in skates at only age three, are somewhat celebrities in the Pittsburgh community. Natalia even carried the Olympic torch during the 2014 Sochi Games alongside her son Evgeni and fellow hockey star Alex Ovechkin. Not to mention Natalia was famed for her lucky borscht recipe, a traditional Ukrainian dish, that was featured in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Talk about a Super Mom – Diane Gronkowski is the mother of former Patriots superstar and currently unrestricted free agent Rob Gronkowski, former Chargers running back Chris Gronkowski, as well as former Browns fullback tight end Dan Gronkowski. Yes, that is three NFL stars within one family. Clearly, Ms. Gronk had a love for the game, but an even greater love for her boys, always pushing them to succeed in their dreams. Funny enough, Rob was actually born on Mother’s Day in 1989, so he always shared an undeniable bond with his mother. “She’s got the magic touch,” said Rob in an interview with ESPN.
Pamela McGee is not only the mother of two professional basketball players but a former women’s basketball superstar. She was the No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the 1997 WNBA draft, as well as a 2012 Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer. As the mother of the Phoenix Suns’ JaVale McGee and the WNBA’s Imani McGee-Stafford, Pamela is actually the first WNBA player to have children in both the NBA and WNBA. So there’s no doubt her sideline appearances are anything less than celebratory.
Brooklyn Nets’ forward Kevin Durant shows great gratitude toward his mother Wanda Pratt, aka “Mama Durant,” for being one of the pillars of his successful basketball journey. Pratt raised her two sons, Kevin and Anthony, as a single mother in Washington, D.C., doing absolutely everything she could to provide the best lives possible for her boys. She worked extremely hard as a postal worker so that her sons could eventually have the opportunities to pursue their dreams. And boy, did they. During Durant’s 2014 NBA MVP acceptance, he called his mother, “The Real MVP.”
Here is “Mama Durant” supporting her son following his Achilles tendon surgery in June 2019: