Montross with the assist

May. 28, 2014 @ 07:35 PM

DURHAM —  See, I was trying to get Eric Montross to understand that I, quite literally, look up to him, but he just wasn’t getting it.

No, seriously, both I and a bunch more dads had the good fortune of listening to Montross break down winning plays with respect to fatherhood.

Montross earlier this month was the guest speaker for the All Pro Dads chapter based at Creekside Elementary School. Creekside second-grade teacher Blair Waggett is the leader of the group, and that guy had enough guts to remind a 7-foot dude like Montross that he’s so tall that he once sat in front of him at church and ruined the sermon.

Now, that kind of moxie might possibly say something about Waggett being a man’s man, but the stuff Montross preached undoubtedly was the real deal about being kids’ fathers.

It’s about daddies showing up, being there for their children, said Montross, who played basketball for the great Dean Smith at North Carolina before moving on to a career in the NBA.

It’s about daddies deftly pulling off a balancing act that requires them to somehow allow their children to sort of do their own collective thing while providing guidance at the same time.

Montross, who offers his basketball expertise on the Tar Heels Sports Network, spoke about how he never had any grand dream about his son playing college or pro ball like he did. Yet Montross said it took him a while to realize that he actually had to verbalize that to his kid, who was feeling pressure along those lines after wrongly assuming he was in one of those unfortunate like-father-like-son deals.

That’s a great lesson, a slam dunk.

And now you understand why I look up to the big fella.

John McCann on Twitter is @johntmccann. Email him at