OAKLAND, Calif. -- Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. called his son, Mike Jr., only a couple of hours before their first official NBA matchup.
It was a rare occasion when they didn't talk basketball. The
elder Dunleavy quickly reminded the Golden State forward he needed
to make sure all the tickets for their family were organized for
this special occasion, then they hung up.
On Friday night, a father coached against his son as a player
for the first time in 27 years and only the second time in NBA
history when the Clippers played the Warriors.
The Dunleavys have been anticipating their first game against
each other in the NBA. In fact, they've been talking about the
possibility for years.
"I understand all the attention from it," Dunleavy Sr. said.
"It's an interesting dynamic. It's a unique situation. We're not
aligned. We've always been on the same page, the same side. This is
the first game he's ever played in that I don't want him to win."
But Dunleavy's mother, Emily, hadn't said who she'd be rooting
for, but Mike is her first-born son.
"It's my first time playing against him, and I want to win,"
said the younger Dunleavy, a second-year pro who split two
preseason meetings with his dad and scored 19 points in both games.
Coach Dunleavy admitted he was game planning for his son.
"The things he does well don't show up in the boxscore," the
father said. "He can make plays, and he makes the other guys
better. From our standpoint, we'd rather not have him on the
The last time a father and son played against each other was on
Nov. 9, 1976, when the New Orleans Jazz played the New York Nets.
Jan van Breda Kolff started for the Nets, while his father, Butch,
coached the Jazz.
Asked about being part of his father's game plan, Dunleavy Jr.
said it wasn't a big deal.
"I think that's just part of the game," he said. "It's
probably weird for him. It's not that weird to me. Coaches game
plan against us all the time."
The 6-foot-9, 221-pound forward grew up surrounded by pro
basketball players. His father is back in coaching in the NBA after
a year off after being fired by Portland following the 2000-01
He sat in the stands for several games last season to support
his son, who needed that show of confidence. They spoke often last
season whenever Dunleavy needed encouragement or an honest
assessment of his performance.
Dunleavy, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, started just
three games but played in all 82, averaging 5.7 points and 2.6
rebounds in 15.9 minutes. Only two other rookies -- Yao Ming and
Amare Stoudemire -- appeared in every game. Yet Dunleavy never found
Now, he's the Warriors second-leading scorer at 15.7 points per
game. He's also the team's No. 3 rebounder at 7.4 per game.
His dad said he wasn't going to let personal feelings interfere
"Everything is very clinical, there's no emotion about it,"
the coach said. "It's about stopping him as a player."