At most employers in the United States, female employees are allowed to take several weeks off for maternity leave after they give birth to a baby. Pregnancy is a life-changing process physically for women. The average woman gains 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, and it takes several months for her to lose that weight after giving birth. It’s also a life-changing emotional process emotionally for first-time mothers as they navigate motherhood.
Pregnancy can also have an effect on fathers. While NBA players may not have to miss time like current or former Mystics Tayler Hill, Tianna Hawkins, and Bria Hartley did when they had children, it can affect things in other ways. They have to put their children’s needs above their own, and the stress of pregnancy and those sleepless nights after a child is born can take their toll.
Three Wizards had children over the summer. Bradley Beal welcomed his first child, a son, Bradley Beal, II last July. And Austin Rivers had his first child, a son, Kayden Rivers last August. And since things come in threes, Mahinmi had his third child, a daughter, Amina Mahinmi over the summer as well.
Candace Buckner of The Washington Post wrote about how the Wizards have been adjusting to fatherhood in an article on Monday. In the article, Beal said that he gained about 20 pounds of “sympathy weight” toward the end of the 2017-18 season because he ate a lot of late night pizza and ice cream with his girlfriend Kamiah Adams.
The timing of the birth of Beal’s son also forced him to miss the USA Basketball men’s national team’s training camp in Las Vegas last July. While you can’t blame him for being a family man, missing out on that camp, as well as turning down an invite to compete for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team, will make it harder to earn consideration for future international competitions.
It seemed like yesterday that much the Wizards’ roster was made up of young men who still weren’t old enough to buy alcohol. Stories like this remind us the Wizards are growing up.
For instance, Rivers mentioned that he was reluctant to name his son “Austin Rivers, Jr.” because it may send a message to his child that he has to be like dad. Rivers himself is no stranger to “having to live up to Dad’s standards.” He played for his father, Doc Rivers on the Los Angeles Clippers last season and Doc himself had a successful 13-year NBA career.
Ian Mahinmi already had two daughters. Now he has a third. Though many fathers want to be the parents of at least one son, Mahinmi told Buckner that being a father of three girls is his calling. “How am I going to make the strongest, independent, smartest, beautiful—how am I going to make those girls become leaders? All of that! This is my call.”
Becoming a parent affects every aspect of life. Work—even when it’s playing basketball for a living—is no exception. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards adjust as more of the roster enters a new stage of life.