Father’s Day takes new meaning for Raptors Uprising

Raptors Uprising has a little more to celebrate this Father’s Day.

The newest member of the team, Jerry “Sick x 973” Knapp, is also the team’s newest father. He found out that he would be a father in the lead up to the 2018 draft, where Cavs Legion GC selected him early in the second round. After a semifinal finish in the NBA 2K League’s inaugural season, he returned home to New Jersey, where his daughter Isabella was born in November.

“I didn’t really have any goals or plans of how to be a father,” Sick said. “Since she was born, I just want to capture all of her special moments, all her moments in general, and try to give her everything I can.”

Sick FaceTimed with his girlfriend every day last year in Cleveland, while she was pregnant, and he’s done the same this year with mother and daughter. He says he spends hours each day on FaceTime, and every possible moment during the league’s bye weeks is spent with Isabella.

His first Father’s Day is a bit surreal. Growing up, his father prioritized Mother’s Day, and Sick is ready to replicate that after becoming a father himself.

“Mothers do so much,” he said. “My dad always said, ‘it’s just another day, focus on Mother’s Day.’ Mother’s Day was always more important.”

Sick won’t be home for his first Father’s Day, but he hopes to be home for the Fourth of July and the league bye week that surrounds it, which also coincides with his birthday. He’s got a special delivery to make. One of the first things Sick asked for, upon being acquired by Raptors Uprising, was baby gear for Isabella. The team came through with miniature shirts and shoes. It’s a point of pride for Sick that she’s already watching, in a sense, all of her father’s games; now she just needs the gear to represent.

Seanquai “KingQuai614” Harris knows what Sick is experiencing. For Quai, it’s his second year with Raptors Uprising, both of which have featured as much FaceTime as possible with his four-year-old daughter Nalani. Like Sick, he spent the majority of his offseason with his daughter and will spend as many bye weeks as possible with her.

“My time back in Minnesota was just trying to spend time with her before I left again,” Quai says. “Now, I always try to FaceTime her as much as I can, and her mom calls and sends pictures throughout the day.”

Nalani was two when Quai was drafted, and now, having turned four in April, she’s taking to her iPad and phone—both of which come with the chance to call daddy, who’s always excited to see her.

“She loves the phone and the iPad and stuff now, so she can call when she wants,” he says. “It’s ‘I miss daddy,’ and all that, and we talk. It’s bittersweet.”

Quai talked to NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue last season about creating more family time for players and their families, and Donohue and the league responded strongly. The league introduced three bye weeks per team, as well as a league-wide bye week around the Fourth of July.

Parents and family have become staples of the league this season, making constant appearances at the NBA 2K League studio in New York and travelling to tournaments in Las Vegas and Orlando. Donohue recently announced that a forthcoming episode of NBA 2K League Locked In, the league’s narrative video series, is set to feature several fathers in the league.

As Quai said: “Your family back at home, those are people who’ve always been in your corner, who support you. They’re the ones who push you to where you want to be in life.”

Both Quai and Sick are living a dream. Thankfully, the reality that each father cherishes so much is only a FaceTime away.