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NBA Star Glenn Robinson III on Being a Girl Dad and Creating a Legacy off the Court
by Dontaira Terrell
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August 15, 2020

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NBA Star Glenn Robinson III on Being a Girl Dad and Creating a Legacy off the Court

Every father has a dream for their child and Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard, Glenn Robinson III is striving to be the ultimate girl dad to his two-year-old daughter, Ariana. 

“My dream for my daughter is to create a strong foundation, make sure she grows up with the right morals and stands for the right things. I want to be her first love. I want to be an example so that when she does find a boyfriend or gets married, she knows what to look for in a partner. I think that’s my job as her father is to protect her and give her genuine love.” 

Aside from being an active force in his daughter’s upbringing, the role of fatherhood has become the motivation behind his personal and professional achievements. Ensuring he creates an indelible impact outside of the league while solidifying his family legacy, the 26-year-old established the ARI Foundation, named after his baby girl and stands for Angels are Real Indeed. Its mission is, “Helping fathers become better in fatherhood and helping families without one.”

“When I started the foundation, I would type and search on Google ways to help fathers or things for fathers to do with their kids. There’s not a lot of places that we can go to seek that help. I’ve done a lot of research on co-parenting, being a father, and a girl dad. We have to know our worth in our daughters’ or sons’ lives because no matter what happens in the relationship, that child should grow up with both parents. It takes two to make a child, and fathers are just as important as mothers.” 

BlackLove.com caught up with the NBA star to chat about healthy co-parenting, therapeutic practices to create emotional, and mental wellness, the importance of embracing vulnerability and becoming the ultimate girl dad. 

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Courtesy of Glenn Robinson III)
Glenn Robinson III (Photo courtesy of Glenn Robinson III)

BlackLove.com: You’ve stated your daughter changed you and your relationships with family and women. Can you speak more specifically to that point?

Glenn Robinson III: Having a girl changes every man’s life, but especially to women, to our mother, to our next relationship, or our current one. As you watch your seed develop, it opens your eyes, and you begin to see yourself in your child. It’s indescribable. I hadn’t experienced this type of growth in my life since I had my daughter. She’s been my biggest blessing, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

I always said I wanted just one child, and I thought I would have a son. With having a girl, I’m doing different things out of my element. Tony Gaskins explained to me the time spent with your daughter, you’re the lamb. When you’re on the court, you’re the lion. Men sometimes struggle to make that distinctive switch with turning it on and off. 

BL.com: How do you take the necessary steps to get to a place of healthy co-parenting?

GR:  I’ll be the first to say we don’t have the best relationship, but it’s getting better. It’s work. I take strides every day to know it’s for Ariana’s [my daughter] betterment, and it’s not about our past relationship. I know if my daughter is growing up with me not around, that it will affect her in many ways. Ultimately, my daughter will be the one suffering. 

I’ve read some books, and I talk to therapists. When I spoke with Tony Gaskins, he said the biggest thing is men fight a battle spiritually within. It’s no one else, and it’s not between anyone else. We fight a battle in ourselves spiritually; we’re always fighting, and we have to get out of it. He talks about creating a season for yourself and making a choice to cut toxicity out of your life to get out of this space.

Once I started seeing a therapist, my communication became better when working with other people, even my teammates. 

You have to have a vision and take a step back to realize what’s going on in your life. I had to take a step back because I’ve always said, “I want to be this great father.” That’s where the growth comes from to get to a healthy place of co-parenting.

BL.com: Why do you think many men fight a spiritual battle? 

GR: We’re afraid to be vulnerable. But we can’t be afraid to express ourselves, whether through an interview, to our mom or partner. We’re always reaching and seeking attention from different areas and doing so many things that we’re never focused on ourselves and what truly makes us happy. I think that’s why it’s hard for us to sit down, relax, and truly see that bigger picture. For us, athletes, everything is instantaneous, so we have to take that time to slow down before it hits us where it hurts. 

My mom used to say, “In a couple of years from now, you might make a mistake that will cost you a lot.” To avoid some of those situations, I’m learning to embrace vulnerability, take a step back, ask questions, and understand it’s okay to be wrong and sometimes even hurt. Most of us, especially men, don’t want to tell anybody when we’re hurting. 

Glenn Robinson III (Photo courtesy of Glenn Robinson III)
Courtesy of Glenn Robinson III

BL.com: What are the key elements to striking a healthy balance between career, parenting, managing your overall well-being, and personal relationships?

GR: Once I realized every relationship takes work and takes time, I started to become a bit better, and whether that’s family or my daughter, I can’t overwork myself in other areas without giving back to myself. If you’re constantly going non-stop, your gas tank is running out, but who’s filling it up? That’s why it’s crucial to have a great circle. I have a therapist that I see every other week, so I try to create a healthy balance by eating right, working out, communicating, and taking care of myself on the back end.

BL.com: What made you decide to take that step and see a therapist?

GR: Last year, I started to take it seriously. I needed areas of improvement for myself. Being a father, working on co-parenting, and being in a unique situation where I cannot be around all of the time. I needed something that would help me, so I started Transcendental Meditation and speaking with a therapist. You’d be surprised what therapy does for you. Once I started seeing a therapist, my communication became better when working with other people, even my teammates.

I grew up with my mom and my grandma, and I know there are certain things you just can’t get without a father figure.

I know for myself that I had to create a distance between me and some of my friends, people that I would talk to about certain things. It’s okay to talk to them, but you have to be respectful enough to ask, “Hey, do you have the mental capacity right now to take on what I’m about to tell you?” Sometimes I caught myself overloading a lot of people with information and messing up those relationships. 

BL.com: As an NBA player, you travel frequently. If you’re co-parenting and away from your child, how do you still stay connected?

GR: We must stay engaged, and that’s what we don’t sometimes realize. As fathers, we have an impact that kids can’t necessarily get from a mother or a grandmother. I grew up with my mom and my grandma, and I know there are certain things you just can’t get without a father figure. That’s the value of fatherhood. 

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