• Behind The Bench

Teammate for Life

By: Kathy S. Griffin | Married to Adrian Griffin, Coaching Staff for Toronto Raptors

I met AD later in both of our lives. When we got married a few years ago, not only was I introduced to the “glamorous” world of professional sports, but I was exposed to a whole new world of marriage and parenthood. Talk about a double whammy (lol)! I went from single with no kids, to married with four kids (Adrian’s kids from a previous marriage). Thankfully, we have three things in common. One, we both love basketball. Two, we both love kids. And three, most importantly, we both love the lord.

As a wife of an NBA coach, the one thing I’ve learned in this demanding but amazing journey is that you have to be mindful of their long hours, their stress level, and accommodate and encourage them the best you can. Helping him lighten his load at home is one of my first priorities. It’s not just with the big things but the daily little things as well. I make sure his clothes are laid out every morning, his suits are dry cleaned and packed for every game, little notes of encouragement layered in his suitcase every trip, etc. Not only do I like for my hubby to look good on the outside but I make sure he stays healthy on the inside. Vitamins and juicing every morning is a must for his energy level, although he may not always like the kale, spinach, cucumber, lemon, ginger drinks, he drinks them anyway ☺.

While taking care of him is a priority, taking care of his kids is as well. Having a blended family presents challenges, but even more so in the NBA due to demands of the grind of the schedule. I don’t have children of my own, but his kids became mine as soon as we got married. My job as a step-mom is what I cherish the most. We have a beautiful blended family that requires effort on my part when he can’t always do it. My husband thinks I spoil them but I love it ☺. His oldest son plays college basketball at the University of Illinois (my alma mater) so I try to balance going to Illinois to catch his games while still making the Raptors games. His youngest son, Adrian Jr, is already in the top 20 recruits in the class of 2021. His youngest daughter plays basketball too so working around their schedule presents its own challenges. Therefore, I have to be creative. For example, I planned a surprise visit for his younger daughter, who has a full ride to play ball for UCONN next year (yes, now I’m bragging...lol) to come to see us a few weeks ago. To see the look on my husbands face when he walked in his office and saw his daughter sitting in his chair was priceless. As you can see basketball runs in the family, but we find a way to make it work.

Lastly, through the busyness of the season, we have to take care of us and make us also a priority. We have found the importance of finding something that keeps us connected, grounded and solid. For us, it is our faith and a good work out. AD and I start our day with a daily devotional to get our focus on what is important. Additionally, we spend time working out together in the morning and getting into the word even after a long night of reports and watching film. FaceTime dates when he is on a road trip allow to maintain this routine and stay sane. And ladies you all know how long those road trips can be, so when he gets home, light some candle, have his favorite dessert by the bed, and then...well you know the rest ☺.

Through this journey, the one thing I’ve realized is that what is important to him needs to be important to me because his career is stressful enough. I want to make his job as easy as possible in an NBA world that is challenging. The drive to win and be successful on and off the court is his passion. I've learned, as I’m supportive of him, his kids and his career, he in return is supportive of what is important to me. It’s a win, win!!

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