Former NBA Player Kenny Anderson Is Working Hard to Be a Good Husband and Father
Friday, September 25, 2009
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla.
He ran the production like a former point guard, which Kenny Anderson is, and as if his life depended on it, which, in a way, it did. He lined up the consents of five women -- the mothers of his seven kids, some of them more amenable to the idea than others -- and coordinated the kids' flights, same days, same arrival times, so as to minimize the waiting-around time at the airport. There was no time to waste. He was finally getting his kids together.
They came in two waves -- the boys first, 11-year-old Kenneth and 8-year-old Devin, in from New Jersey for a three-week stay with their dad. Then, after they left, the four girls: Danielle, 19, flew in from Georgia. Christy, 17, had the longest flight, all the way from L.A. Lyric, 14, and Jazz, 12, who, unlike the others, had never traveled alone to visit their father, came in from New Jersey.
Meeting them all at the door of Anderson's house were 8-year-old Kenny Jr., of whom Anderson has full custody, and 8-year-old Tiana, Anderson's stepdaughter. Hugs, kisses, smiles. Whatever awkwardness there might have been among the various Anderson kids, some of whom had never spent time around the others, it soon melted away.
From the comfort of his home, Anderson, who didn't know his own father until his early 30s, contemplated the blessings of fatherhood and beamed. In the faces of his kids, he could see the evidence of his own past mistakes -- the womanizing, the failed marriages, the hollow attempts at fatherhood he made during a 14-year NBA career that ended in 2005.
But over the course of those few amazing, late-summer weeks, he could also see the seeds of his new beginning, a new chapter for Kenny Anderson -- now a 38-year-old, full-time, stay-at-home father to Kenny Jr. and Tiana, and an aspiring college basketball coach who wants nothing more than to distance himself from those past failures as a father, as a husband, as a man.
The magnitude of the moment absolutely blew him away.
"It was awesome," Anderson says. "Now they could all see how their daddy really is. They can see for themselves. . . . I'm involved in their lives, all of them, but this was the first time I got all of them together.
"My mother, she'd be rolling over in her grave, she'd be so happy."
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The transformation began with trauma -- the threefold explosions of career exile, maternal death and financial ruin.
In March 2005, Anderson, the former No. 2 overall pick of the New Jersey Nets in 1991, was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers, his ninth team, effectively ending his NBA career after 14 seasons, 10,789 points and 5,196 assists and one all-star team (1993-94).