Bright lights, centre court, multimillion dollar contracts and adoring fans. That’s what most of us imagine when we think of the world of professional athletes. But what is the story behind the images? What does the road to stardom look like? What does it take to get there? Who better to answer these questions and many more, than the moms who were there every step of the way.“Court-Side Moms” is the first of its kind to focus solely on the experiences of professional basketball player’s mothers, giving us a new perspective on the lives of some of our favorite athletes. We explore the thoughts, feelings and experiences of those moms who have watched their children join the elite world of pro sports. The joys, the challenges, the heart aches, the big and small moments that transformed their lives and those of their children. No one understands this better than Wendy Sparks, the mother of Toronto Raptors Center, Khem Birch and the host of Court-side Moms. Wendy will sit down with other basketball moms to hear their stories, creating the first platform for moms to kick back and chat about their kids, and to discuss the reality of raising high performance athletes.
Q&A with Freddie Gillespie's mom, Alberder Gillespie on Locker Room App
We The North! Raptor fans tap in with Freddie Gillespie's mom, Alberder Gillespie on Locker Room App!
Freddie Gillespie's mom, Alberder Gillespie
It’s been said that Toronto Raptor Freddie Gillespie did the impossible going from Division III basketball to the NBA. His mom, Alberder Gillespie, says it’s all about faith, and today she joins Court-Side Moms to tell us about his incredible journey, her belief in her son, and his future in the NBA.
Freddie began as a football player, falling in love with basketball in junior high. Starting out in Division III ball at Carleton, his determination and talent led him to Baylor College and Alberder tells us how he achieved success, the disappointments along the way, including not hearing his name called as he went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft, the impact of the pandemic on his career and his life and how he went from playing for the Memphis Hustle in the G League to a contract with the Toronto Raptors in 2021.
We talk about lessons learned when choosing an agent, how she’s shared her experiences with other parents, why she’s thrilled his NBA experience is beginning with the Raptors, and what she’d like Raptor fans to know about her and Freddie.
We hear about Alberder’s involvement in politics, and how the murder of George Floyd was the catalyst that pushed her to up her game in her fight against racism.
Darius Bazley's mom, Lynnita Bazley
Our guest today, Lynnita Bazley, mother of Darius Bazley, forward with the Oklahoma City Thunder, joins the show to talk about her son’s unorthodox journey to the NBA, including a decision to pursue the NBA G League instead of college, and an internship with one of the most iconic shoe brands, New Balance.
She talks about the first time Darius picked up a basketball and how that turned into a realization that he could one day turn professional. She takes us through Darius’ abnormal career path, including the process of committing and de-committing to colleges, his intentions to play in the NBA G League instead, and an internship with New Balance.
We talk about ‘Swish’, the book she wrote about raising Darius, her experience at the NBA Draft Night, his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, and what life is like for her as a Court-Side Mom!
Mikal Bridges' mom, Tyneeha Rivers
Pregnant at 19, our guest today, Tyneeha Rivers, mother of Mikal Bridges, starting guard with the Phoenix Suns, talks about what it was like to face motherhood at such a young age, how her determination to be a success changed her life and what she’s done to ensure her son had what it took to also be successful, overcoming the negativity and the challenges to rise to the top in the world of elite athletes.
As a Chief Human Resources officer for over 20 years, her focus now is player recruitment and Tyneeha describes herself as a “culture builder” creating an environment where employees thrive and can be their best authentic selves. She talks about how her skillset helped her and Mikal decide on a college career with the Villanova Wildcats, where he won two national championships, before declaring and being chosen 10th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft by the 76ers, their home team, and the emotional rollercoaster when he was traded to the Suns that same night.
We talk about when Mikal redshirted in college through to the excitement and drama of draft night and now seeing him play in the NBA, guarding players like Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. Wendy and Tyneeha talk about their sisterhood of NBA moms, the support they give to one another, and what it’s like to be a Court-Side Mom.
Aerial Powers' mom, Cecelia Powers
Today we are joined by Cecelia Powers, mom of WNBA star Aerial Powers of the Minnesota Lynx.
From age 3, Aerial had a passion for basketball and success has followed her throughout her career. She led her high school, Detroit Country Day, to four consecutive regional championships, had an outstanding college career playing for the Spartans at Michigan State University, and was chosen by the Dallas Wings as the fifth overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft.
Throughout it all, Cecelia talks about the injuries, the highlights, and challenges, how her daughter remains strong both physically and mentally. She shares with us the excitement of draft night when Aerial’s dream came true and she began her professional career, receiving her jersey from the Wings, her deal with Nike, the trade to Washington, and the road to the WNBA Championship in 2019. We talk about playing overseas in the off-season, and as an unrestricted free agent, why she chose to sign with the Minnesota Lynx.
Cecelia talks about her daughter’s love of gaming and her involvement in e-sports, signing with Team Liquid, becoming their Streamer and Diversity Ambassador, and her goal to empower women as streamers within this platform.
Gary Harris' mom, Joy Harris
When our guest today’s son, Orlando Magic shooting guard Gary Harris, was 9 years old he had a sign in his bedroom that said “What did you do to make it to the NBA today?”. Former WNBA player Joy Harris joins our podcast and tells us how this inspiration led Gary on his journey to the NBA and we talk about her own basketball career and what it’s been like having her son follow in her footsteps.
Athletics are in his genes and Gary excelled in both football and basketball. Joy shares with us how the decision was made to focus on basketball, his high school years, college recruitment, playing for Michigan State and Spartan Nation, being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and at 19-years-old, declaring after only two years in college.
Joy tells us about NBA draft night where Gary was selected in the first round by the Chicago Bulls and then traded to the Denver Nuggets, as well as the challenges he faced in his rookie season. We talk about the difference between her career and her son’s and the lessons she’s learned and shared with Gary.
A lovely podcast
I am very happy to have discovered this podcast. It is a terrific listen. The interview style is fantastic and the stories are warm and inspiring. A great add for any basketball fan.
Fantastic podcast and needed perspective
Courtside Moms is the best! One of only three sports podcasts I listen to, and offering a completely unique perspective in basketball journalism. Every episode reinforces the fact that all these athletes (and really all celebrities) come from a family and a community supporting them, and gives so much context to players' journeys. Not to mention just the charm of the host, Wendy! Highly recommended.
Love this podcast
I love learning about the players in the NBA. It makes watching the games so much more interesting. This podcast is amazing. Hearing the moms talk about their kids is such a unique way to learn about the players before they were NBA stars.