Pamela McGee and JaVale McGee — the first mother-son duo to win gold medals in Olympics history — are opening up about what it means to come full circle.
“Now my running gag is that I’m the only Olympian basketball player to birth an Olympian!” Pamela said on the 3rd Hour of TODAY Wednesday.
Pamela, a two-time basketball hall-of-famer, was a member of the 1984 squad that defeated South Korea 85-55. Thirty-seven years later, JaVale, 33, secured agold medal at the Tokyo Games, when the United States beat France 87-82 on Saturday.
“I’m really proud of him, of his resiliency,” Pamela explained. “As mothers, we just want them to max out their capacity and to be the best that God has called them to be.”
JaVale joined the Olympic roster a week before the opening ceremonies after former NBA champion Kevin Love withdrew, citing his physical health. The 7-foot veteran center, who has won three NBA titles during his 13-year career, called the Olympic experience “totally different.”
“You’re fighting for your country,” JaVale noted. “Everyone in the world is watching. You’re on the world stage.”
Pamela is mom to not one, but two, multitalented professional athletes. Her daughter, Imani McGee-Stafford, a first-round pick in the WNBA, is currently pursuing a law degree, while JaVale is also a Grammy-nominated producer. Earlier this month, he signed a one-year $5 million contract with the Phoenix Suns.
“What I instilled in both of my children is to max out your capacity. Never be a child that says, 'coulda, woulda, shoulda,'" Pamela said. “I was born to a teenage mother that had twins at 17, and she instilled that spirit of excellence and resiliency. I just hope that I passed that down to them, and they understand that they didn’t just wake up and become Olympians. Somebody sacrificed, somebody paid a price and it’s their obligation to take it the next level.”
"You're amazing!" co-host Sheinelle Jones said.
We couldn't agree more.