In elementary school whenever Chanin Scott needed a form signed by a parent she would rip off her father’s signature and give it to classmates who wanted his autograph. Being the daughter of Patrick Scott, a former NFL linebacker, automatically gave her attention in the wildest forms. However, Scott who is a star basketball player at Myers Park, along with many other children of professional athletes in the Charlotte area have been on a mission to create their own legacies instead of resting on the accolades of their parents.
“Not playing a sport was not an option in our family” said Scott, who recently signed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky. ”Being in such an athletic family means that we challenge each other all the time. It has built my competitive sense because there’s always someone challenging me.”
A’lea Gilbert a varsity sophomore basketball player at South Mecklenburg High School echoes similar experiences. “With everyone in my family being an athlete they all push you to be the best you can be and to never give up.” A’lea, the daughter of former Carolina Panther Sean Gilbert, also states “School always comes first my grades are my number one priority, after all my school work is finished I work on my game and lastly I can hang out with my friends when I have time.”
Aside from being born with an innate sense of competition, being the child of a professional athlete also teaches resiliency in the face of adversity. Kerstie Phills, daughter of the late Charlotte Hornet Bobby Phills, says her father is her motivation for continuing to shine in the sport. Even though she doesn’t remember much about him, she utilizes her effort and leadership on the court as a medium to make him proud.
But even though the public views their parents as star-studded celebrities, most of the children view them as regular human beings. Looking up to them outside of the arena of play makes them love their parents because of the lifelong, tight-knit bond– not because of any accolade or achievement.
I don’t even consider him a professional athlete” said Journey Muhammad, daughter of former Panther wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad. “I just think of him as dad.”
Muhsin said that his career in the NFL has also prepared him to raise a family. The qualities and lessons embed into him because of football drastically adjusted him to life as a father.
“It’s taught me to be disciplined,” he said. “As a parent, you try to do things that are structured as consistent as athletes are. You have to be consistent and set a standard in raising a child as well. Being a professional athlete has taught me to do the same in parenting.”
Although attending the games, meeting other famous people and enjoying the other benefits of a professional athlete were great, there were some negatives as well. Due to the grind of the seasons, the girls were unable to spend as much quality time with their fathers in season. They also had to deal with their peers and classmates who only wanted to interact with them because of their parents.
“The worst thing about having a pro athlete as a dad would have to be confronting numerous people that would want to be my “friend” just because they thought they knew my dad, or them wanting to know more about my lifestyle before they even knew about me first,” Phills said. “That always got annoying pretty fast but for the most part it’s an honor and a blessing.”
However, the greatest thing about being an athlete’s daughter was all of the love and support their parents gave them. Once their fathers retired, all of the girls said they devoted a myriad of time and energy to helping them in their sport. Without the added backing from their loved ones, all of them said they wouldn’t be where they are today.
“My mother was, and still is, my loudest and number one fan that I hear
screaming my name and number in the stands,” Phills said “Even though I have no recollection of my dad, I’m sure he would support me just as much, but I know he will always be smiling down on me in Heaven t hroughout all my athletic experiences.”