Life with Kyle Lowry: The Raptor on being a team leader and his real legacy, his kids

"Dad jeans, yay or nay?" "Hell no!"
(Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

For basketball superstar Kyle Lowry, becoming a father changed everything.

The Toronto Raptors point guard, who's known for plowing through a court full of steely-eyed opponents with ease and attacking the basket with every inch of his body in order to make the shot, is a dad to two young boys, Karter and Kameron, and — unsurprisingly — he approaches parenting with a similar tireless fervency. "Nothing's about me," he explains. "Everything I do is for my wife, for my family. Everything."

Aside from going all in every second of the day, one of the key tenets of Lowry's parenting style is being positive — both in spirit and in influence. This part is natural for him. "I think it's easier just to be positive than to be negative," he says, "I wake up every day of my life and I'm alive. I get to live and see the beautiful Earth… I get to see my children… I get to be a human being another day."

Passing along this sunny outlook to his little ones by example is of the utmost importance to him, too. "They never see me sad, they never see me upset," Lowry says. "I will never let my kids see me in a bad light or a bad situation."

Luckily, the 31-year-old has had some pretty incredible influences in his own life that showed him what being a dad, a mentor, really meant, even if they didn't wear that exact title.

"You know, my brother was the one who pushed me, who made me be more responsible for what I wanted to be. [He] was the guy that told me I couldn't get any tattoos — 'cuz I wanted them!" Lowry laughs. "He's the guy that… made sure that if i wanted something, to do it. To work hard and achieve it."

Jay Wright, who he played for at Villanova University and calls "one of the best coaches in the world," is another one of those people for Lowry. Wright always told him to "be a legitimate man. And that means being honest, being upfront, being stern but also being willing to understand your faults."

The unshakable impact these male figures have had on the Raptor shines clearly through every move he makes, both on and off the court. It's part of what drove him to launch the Lowry Love Foundation with his wife, Ayahna Cornish-Lowry, back in 2013. It's also part of inspired him to team up with Dove Men+Care this year to celebrate all different types of father figures, especially ones who might not traditionally fit the bill.

"It can be your uncle, coach, a mentor," Lowry states. Anyone that "takes the time to say hello, makes sure they teach you the right things… is willing to put themselves out there and be heard, seen and not afraid to step up," when it comes to young people in need.

As a fearless and undeniable leader on The Raptors, Lowry's aware that the responsibility he shoulders isn't just driving the team's offense, it's taking on that role of 'father figure' to young fans cheering from the stands — and so many of his teammates, too.

"[DeMar DeRozan and I] have been through this situation on this team, where we've been there through the struggles and we've been there through the light and the great times, and…[our teammates] look at us and we need to be positive. We need to be outstanding, to be those guys that they can count on and lean on."

And how does he accomplish what others might see as a pretty weighty task without letting the pressure get to him? For Lowry, it's all in the small things. "You know, take guys out to dinner. Include them in family functions. Make sure they know that if they need me, I got their back."

But at the end of the day, Lowry makes it clear that his work and dedication as a teammate, as a player will always second to the role he plays at home.

"My legacy is not basketball," he adds, "My legacy is Karter King Lowry and Kameron King Lowry. That's my legacy."  

For even more from Kyle Lowry, check out our rapid fire round with the athlete below.

Life with Kyle Lowry

What's your favourite post game food? Chicken Caesar salad.

Which of the Raptors jerseys do you think you look the best in? Black [away alternate jerseys]. I look good in those. They make me like Superman, like Batman.

Dad jeans, yay or nay? Hell no!

What's your ultimate workout or pump up song? I don't have one. I'm more of an R&B guy.

Best food to have with your kids? Pancakes.

What posters did you have in your childhood bedroom? Penny Hardaway and Michael Jordan.

What's your favourite Toronto food? I don't have a favourite Toronto food, honestly. I'm not a big fan of the poutine or the ketchup chips, I'll pass on those.

You have an entire weekend to binge-watch stuff. What's it going to be? American Dad.

If you were a superhero, which superhero would you be? Superman.

What's your secret for an epic 3-pointer? To have the confidence that I put in the work to make that 3-pointer.

Samantha White is a Toronto-based producer and writer.