NBA player Daniel “Boobie” Gibson writes an open letter of love to his son DJ.
Nothing I have ever done has given me more joy or given my life more meaning than being a father to you. The day I found out you were going to be born was the happiest and scariest moment of my life. Up until that point, I only worried about myself, and then suddenly I knew life had a greater meaning.
As you know, my dad was around, but he was a “man’s man”—work all day and play all night—leaving me to figure the rest out. I can’t blame him at all. He was there, and that’s more than I can say for a lot of Black men in America.
No manual is given on how to raise a child, but I knew I was going to do everything in my heart for you. I had prayed to God for you and He answered my prayers; each day I repay him with dedicating my life to seeing you become a great man. And not by the world’s standards, but by whatever being great means to you.
I grew up with nothing, and I’ve committed my life making sure you never have to experience what that feels like. The wonderful thing is, you’re still so young and innocent, and you don’t know what awaits you. I wish it could stay that way forever but I know it won’t, so I’ll prepare you the best I can.
I know at times I’ll demand and expect a lot from you, but it’s only because I want you to be the best person you can possibly be. I couldn’t love or care about anyone more than I do you! Everyday I see you, I’m even more grateful to God that He allowed me to be your “Pops.”
I think your mom is amazing, one of the most beautiful, patient (did I say “beautiful”?) people I have ever known. Regardless of what anyone says about our relationship, our love for you overpowers any of that—any day and always will. We had you out of love and will love you until our dying days. From my experiences with your mother and in life, I will teach you how to love, honor, respect and value women. So many women are degraded and undervalued these days, but I won’t let that be the case from you.
I admit I’ll probably push you in sports, but only because I believe sports teach life lessons like competition, learning how to win and how to lose, the value of discipline and hard work. But if you want to be an astronaut, a musician, or whatever else you can dream of, I’ll tell you to follow your dreams. You can have anything you want in life if you’re willing to dedicate time and effort.
Lil’ D, there are so many things I could write about to you, but I just want you to never, ever doubt how much joy you have given me. You are a priority over all the demands that life throws at us. You are the most important investment I have ever made in my life. Within a world that’s become so negative, I don’t see how a man could not take responsibility for the life he created, and see that they give them the guidance to survive in a place so cold.
So go chase your dreams and never let anyone say you can’t achieve what you set your mind to. Find your passion, keep looking and searching, never stop growing and learning. And if you fall down, I will be there pick you up! If you lose, I will be right there to show you there’s a win inside of every failure as long as you don’t give up.
As long as I’m alive, there will never be a doubt in your mind how much I care for you and how much I love you. You changed my life DJ, and I thank God for blessing me with you.
Booby Sr. (a.k.a. Dad)