As Victor Oladipo fell in love with basketball, his father Chris, who valued education and not sports, never really took interest in the game.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins, Vic explained how that influenced their bond early on:
“I never really saw my dad because he was always working,” Oladipo recalls. “We didn’t have a great relationship.” While Joan [Victor’s mother] warmed to hoops, Chris never did, driving a wedge between father and son. He rarely met Victor’s coaches or teammates.
Until this past All-Star Weekend, Chris had apparently never seen his son play in person:
In January, Oladipo was selected to his first All-Star Game and he invited the man he calls Pops. He braced for rejection, but Chris accepted—on one condition: no cameras, no interviews, no fuss. Oladipo booked a flight from D.C. to L.A., arriving late Saturday and departing late Sunday, with a room at The London in West Hollywood. In previous articles, Chris has claimed he has seen his son play before, but if so nobody noticed. “Maybe on TV, but not in person,” Oladipo says. “This is the first time I will know for a fact he is there. It’s going to be a big deal for me. I still can’t believe he said yes.”
After Victor’s team secured the 148-145 victory on Sunday, the two embraced just off the Staples Center court:
…Late in the fourth quarter, a Pacers official retrieved [Chris] from the suite and led him down the Staples Center stairs to the hallway next to Team LeBron’s bench. There, Chris waited, for Team LeBron to win and his son to celebrate. Somewhere between the court and the locker room, Oladipo found his dad and fell into his arms.