Sports fans are often reminded that the athletes they watch in every game are people with lives outside of athletics. Yet, for the most part, it's not usually necessary to process this fact in the middle of a game. When a player has to miss a game for a death in the family or the birth of a child, we usually hear about it in advance and can prepare ourselves for the absence. We know them to be human, but we can still consider them as nothing more than athletes during the course of a single contest.
On Wednesday night in Memphis, However, Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph's paternal responsibility interrupted the course of his team's game against the New Orleans Pelicans. When his fiancee went into labor, Z-Bo left FedEx Forum to be by her side. From Clay Bailey for the Associated Press:
Memphis played most of the game without starting forward Zach Randolph, who left in the first half when his fiance, Faune, went into labor. The Grizzlies announced after halftime that Randolph made it to the hospital in time for the birth of their 7-pound, 4-ounce boy.
Congratulations to Zach and Faune, whose young son is presumably looks like a miniature version of his simultaneously cuddly and intimidating father. Frankly, I cannot wait to see this child, because I think he could break records of basketball child adorability.
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The Grizzlies, on the other hand, did not exactly soar without their All-Star forward. While the Pelicans dominated the first quarter 33-18 even with Randolph playing just shy of eight minutes, it figures that his presence could have helped the team fight back to make it a game. Instead, the Pelicans came away with a 99-84 victory.
Perhaps Lil Z-Bo can add another interior presence to the Memphis roster soon.
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