Victor Oladipo‘s career resurgence has been one of the best story-lines of the NBA season. In just six months, he went from trade fodder afterthought to surefire NBA All-Star and the centerpiece of the Indiana Pacers’ blueprint for the future.
Oladipo had been to All-Star Weekend before, previously as a contestant in both the Rising Stars Challenge and the Dunk Contest, but Sunday marked his debut on the big stage as a first-time All-Star.
It also marked another first for Oladipo, this time on a more personal level. Oladipo said that Sunday’s annual exhibition was the first time his father has ever seen him play in the NBA.
In January, Oladipo was selected to his first All-Star Game and he invited the man he calls Pops. He braced for rejection, but Chris accepted—on one condition: no cameras, no interviews, no fuss. Oladipo booked a flight from D.C. to L.A., arriving late Saturday and departing late Sunday, with a room at The London in West Hollywood. In previous articles, Chris has claimed he has seen his son play before, but if so nobody noticed. “Maybe on TV, but not in person,” Oladipo says. “This is the first time I will know for a fact he is there. It’s going to be a big deal for me. I still can’t believe he said yes.”
Oladipo went on to say his relationship with his father has always been strained, so his presence at Sunday’s event was all the more meaningful.
He finished the game with just seven points and two rebounds in 15 minutes of action, but he was on the winning side as Team LeBron was able to pull out the victory in what ended up being a much more competitive game than in years past. Oladipo and the Pacers are on vacation until Friday, when they’ll resume the season against the Hawks at home.