Mothers of pro athletes face unique challenges

SOECharlesHallmansquareA Lifetime biopic on Kevin Durant’s mom that aired last Saturday talked about one mother’s tireless dedication to bring her soon-to-be NBA star up right. A local mom of a current NBAer can testify that such dedication is not so unusual.

“A lot of people think we’ve done something special” because they have a child as a pro athlete, says Dorisene Anderson. “I wouldn’t say we did something, but we are blessed.”

Anderson’s youngest son, Alan Anderson, just completed his seventh NBA season, his 11th overall in pro ball. The DeLaSalle grad, who attended Michigan State where he played and earned his bachelor’s degree in family community services, went undrafted in 2005. Anderson nonetheless got in the league and played for Charlotte (2005-06; 07), Toronto (2012-13), Brooklyn (2013-15), and Washington (2015-present).

The 6’-6” Anderson also played in Italy (2007-08), Russia (2008), Croatia (2008-09), Israel (2009-10), Spain (2010-11) and China (2011-12). He played on one Euroleague champions (2009-10) and was the 2010-11 Spanish Cup MVP. He also logged three D-League stints (2006-07, 2010 and 2012).

Dorisene Anderson
Dorisene Anderson

All along the way, Dorisene’s support has been with him. “It’s a job being…a mother of an athlete,” she explains. “Somebody told me that your son’s lifestyle affects you, and it does. It really does. I think for us [mothers], we try to humble [them] as much as we can.

“A lot of us mothers want to keep our sons humble because of this lifestyle, coming in with millions and millions of dollars,” says Alan’s mom. “I honestly can say I may have lost some friends mainly because [of her son’s fame].

“Who am I going to talk to? Who wants to talk to me? They start comparing you as a mother. That should never, never be.”

But Dorisene quickly points out, “I don’t think we stand on our kids’ names. People think we’ve done something magical to get our kids in the NBA. We do not take it for granted.”

She joined the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) in 2014. Since its beginnings in 2006, the MPBP website says members of the nonprofit organization have worked “to build a supportive relationship with each other” and “to help our children cope with the enticements of fame and fortune.”

“It is a group of supporting parents,” states Dorisene. “We give to the community. Some of the mothers do different things,” including sending out birthday cards and sympathy cards whenever a loved one passes away.

The MPBP also serves as a support group. “Sometimes you might be going through something and need someone to talk to,” says Dorisene. “I think the group is wonderful.”

It is too widely believed that most if not all mothers live on their pro athlete’s newfound fame and fortune, and Dorisene admits that she once held this belief as well. But after joining the group, whose current president is Shaquille O’Neal’s mom, Lucille O’Neal, “I met women that are just amazing. Some of them are working in jobs where they are managers, supervisors and CPAs. Every parent’s story is different.

“These are awesome women, amazing mothers. People need to understand that these are awesome women, amazing mothers,” she stressed.

Alan Anderson will become a free agent this summer after having been a pro basketball player for nearly a dozen years. “There are about 400 [players] in the NBA, and our kids are one of them,” concludes his proud mom. “It makes it more challenging for us, because the whole world sees…it’s my son.”

 

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.