There's one thing you should know about the Andrews family: If you want to be close with us, you need to be able to talk about basketball. I mean, two of us do it for a living.
Nearly every family gathering, the conversation ends up being about hoops. None of us played, but all of us hold a special relationship with the sport. And it stems from my father, Mike.
He grew up in Oakland, just blocks from Oracle Arena and attended Warriors games during the Rick Barry era. When his mom worked late, the Warriors kept him company.
So when my sister Malika and I were children, watching basketball, more specifically Warriors basketball, was our family time. Some of my earliest memories revolve around basketball with my dad.
We would file into Oracle when Golden State hosted the Yao Ming-led Houston Rockets and Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers, fully understanding that the Warriors weren’t going to win, but it didn’t matter.
He took me to a game in Salt Lake City when Derek Fisher was a member of the Jazz because he was one of our favorite players during his time with the Warriors.
He bought Malika and me our first jerseys: An Andris Biedrins jersey for me (Why him? Looking back on it, I’m not quite sure) and Monta Ellis for Malika. He even got her a signed Baron Davis hat for her birthday.
I remember how upset he was when Ellis was traded to make room for a guy named Steph Curry, and how excited he got when Andre Iguodala signed with the team -- it was the first time a free agent had chosen to come to Oakland, signaling a turning point for the franchise and respect it was getting throughout the league.
As the Warriors made their run in 2015, my dad would always remind us that he was no bandwagon fan and made sure we’d tell anyone who gave us a hard time about it that we were born and bred as Warriors fans.
“I’ve been watching this team lose for over 40 years,” he would say.
That helped prepare him for the past two years of Warriors basketball. He has seen worse.
It was through my conversations and experiences with him about basketball that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism. We were watching Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett, back when NBC Sports Bay Area was still CSN Bay Area, when I turned to him and said, “You know, they get paid to do this — to talk about basketball. That’s what I want to do.”
“OK, Kendie. Go for it.”
I don’t know if he knew I was being serious or not, but I was. And so was my sister when she began to pursue the same thing.
Now, those talks Malika and I used to have around the dinner table with my dad are being aired on NBC Sports Bay Area and ESPN, just a little more professional.
Almost once a week I drive across the Bay Bridge from my apartment in San Francisco to my parents' house in Oakland for dinner.
"We won't talk basketball," my mom tells me. She knows it's nice to unplug from the job. But my dad, well, he doesn't abide by that rule. We joke that he should co-host an episode of the Dubs Talk Podcast.
"Kendie, what's going on with Steph?" he asked when Curry injured his tailbone this season.
"Kendra, is Klay going to be ready to go by the start of next season?”
“Tell Steve Kerr…”
And Malika gets the same thing, just via text.
“The Bucks dropped what was working for them early,” he wrote after Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. “They need to look at film and regroup. And I’m gonna bet [Kevin Durant] will be fine for Game 6.”
When I drive over to my parents’ house this Sunday for Father’s Day, our big plans will be to sit down and watch that day’s NBA playoff games. Watching basketball was the bonding agent for my family growing up, and still is today, and it’s because of what it has meant to my dad for his entire life.
For us on Father’s Day, there’s no better way to celebrate him.