More important than any statistic or accolade accrued over the course of Thad Young’s NBA career is his role as a father to two sons, Thaddeus Jr. — nicknamed TJ — and Taylor. They were mainstays at the United Center throughout Thad’s first season with the Bulls.
On Father’s Day, Thad shared a heartfelt and deeply personal message to them through the NBA’s official Twitter account.
The letter reads as follows:
To TJ and Taylor,
First, I want to say I love you both. It’s a challenging time in this current landscape we are living in right now. This is a time where we learn from our mistakes of the past and current events to be prepared for the future. We learn the differences between right and wrong. This is the time where we are creating change, building and growing the vision I have for you living in this world.
I hope the time for you both to realize the disadvantages we have because of the color of our skin isn’t the reason you don’t speak out, ask questions, and educate yourself to the highest level. I want you both to understand you both are young Kings in the making and have as much value as anyone in the world no matter if your skin pigmentation is black, red, blue or green.
Understand that you are learners, as well as leaders. Nothing is easily gained, especially because of your race. As a Black man, you already have two strikes against you. You have to work for it every single day through dedication and hard work in whatever dream you decide to chase. Look at your Pops, I chased my dreams and achieved them and I’m not just talking about the NBA. Your father is an athlete, entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. I have also managed to earn two college degrees while playing in the NBA.
I encourage you to live your best life and chase your dreams, and while doing so create balance between the chase, and desire. Educate yourself as much as possible. My father always told me, ‘No matter what, strengthen your mind, body, and spirit.’ Love, Popz.
A poignant distillation of the lessons and values Thad strives to pass down to his sons.
In the recent past, Young has openly discussed the challenges of being a father in a racially unjust world, offered advice for how to continue to advocate for change and detailed the bond he shares both his sons and his own father. All his words are worth reading.