Wendy Sparks, mother of Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, has an ongoing podcast called Court-Side Moms, in which she interviews mothers of NBA players around the league. Her most recent interview dropped yesterday features none other than Kyle Lowry’s mom, Marie Holloway.
Holloway was the driving force in Lowry’s life, guiding him along the path that made him a future Hall of Famer and a Canadian sports legend.
The interview was an emotional yet fun recap of Kyle’s journey through his mom’s eyes- from the time he was a young athletic kid to the successful, talented and respected man he’s grown to become.
Here are some of the highlights of the interview that stood out.
Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry has always been the king of taking charges
We all know that Kyle has never been afraid to take one for the team but when it comes to drawing the offensive charge, he is usually one of the league leaders.
In fact as of March this year, Kyle had taken more charges himself than half of the league!
Holloway gave us a little story about Kyle’s early athletic days playing football with his older brother, Lonnie Lowry Jr., and friends when he was eight and nine years old.
“With football – they would give him the ball and block for him,” Holloway said. “So you’d see this little guy running around through all these big guys making them miss and fall and all kinds of stuff. It was really funny.”
That hustle and drive to be the best transitioned onto the basketball court where he earned the nickname Geez. If you’re wondering, why Geez? Mrs. Holloway gives us some insight.
All his friends called him Geez. G-E-E-Z” Holloway recalls. “When he would do stuff on the court they’d be like GEEEEEZZZ!”
Lowry’s journey has been tough right from the start
As Wendy asked about Kyle’s draft night in 2006, Marie recalled a story about an issue with Lowry medicals on draft day. Holloway claims that he started to fall down draft boards due to inconclusive medical data. Some extra blood work that didn’t come back in time led to best friend Randy Foye getting picked earlier than him.
The rest is history, as he was selected 24th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. Now in his 15th season, Lowry has not only gone way past the average NBA career, but he’s collected plenty of accolades along the way.
Kyle Lowry always had a connection with the Raptors
Holloway spoke about how Lowry had worked out for seven or eight teams, including the Raptors, prior to the 2006 NBA Draft. To jog your memory, this is the same draft class that the Raptors selected Andrea Bargnani with the No. 1 pick.
Sparks asked about Lowry’s rookie year and how his fit was in Memphis. She responded with the fact that he had some of the best vets you could ever want namely Mike Miller, Eddie Jones, Stromile Swift, and Raptors fan favorite Damon Stoudamire himself.
Fast forward to Lowry’s rookie year and he couldn’t have had a better mentor. Damon not only played with Kyle for a year and a half, but he also ended up coaching him when Stoudamire served as an assistant coach for the Grizzlies from 2009-11. Lowry fondly recalls the early days in an interview a few years ago.
““Damon Stoudamire was the ultimate vet for me,” Lowry said Friday, discussing his teammate with the Memphis Grizzlies a dozen years and a day ago. “Damon was the one that kind of started me to understanding things, and always told me to be patient and work hard.”
It was the same vet that Lowry paid respects to when he donned his jersey during the Championship parade.
The Raptors Championship run was bittersweet for Marie Holloway
As Marie recalls the moments leading up to the Raptors’ NBA Finals run, what many fans didn’t know was her mother was extremely ill and dying at the same time.
To see him with everything that he had been through..with all the fighting he had to do from the time he was about 11 or 12 till that day..to know he was going to the chip was just amazing enough,” Holloway said.
“Championship series. It was just something different. It just felt different. Cause she loved that boy. That boy couldn’t do no wrong in her eyes. The sun rose and set on that boy. At 70 years old she learned basketball just so she could watch the games.”
Sadly, Shirley Holloway passed three days after the Raptors won the championship. Holloway said that she held on just long enough to witness the moment.
The day of the parade was one of the most joy you could ever feel but probably the most pain, but she was there,” Holloway said. “She was there….my mom said, ‘listen I’ve missed all of this up until now but I’m not missing this. I’m gonna leave and I’m gonna catch you’ll up there at the parade.’”
It was an emotional moment to listen to, and a reminder that even when things seem so exciting on the surface, that people can simultaneously be dealing with something tragic as well.
Holloway dares the new kids to keep up with Kyle’s workout routine
When Wendy asked Holloway about what Lowry does to keep up with the younger kids, Holloway went into proud Mama mode.
“Most of them probably couldn’t keep up with his workout,” Holloway said. “He eats great his diet is crazy…no red meat. There’s a chef that cooks him great meals. His summer workout is crazy. That age thing doesn’t really to me play in anymore. Look at Kyle, look at Chris (Paul), look at what Steve Nash…it’s not like it used to be.”
Case in point – Lowry continues to remind us why he’s regarded as the Greatest Raptor to ever do it. In his last 3 games- Lowry is averaging 27 points, eight assists, and three rebounds while shooting 54% from the field, 59% from 3-point range, and 80% from the free-throw line.
Kyle Lowry might have a future as a coach or a commentator
Holloway thinks that Lowry has a future on TV or the sideline during his post-retirement life. What do you think, Toronto Raptors fans? Would Kyle make a better coach or commentator?
Hopefully, that is still a few years away, as he continues to prove that he still has a lot of good basketball left in him.
If you haven’t heard it yet, I do recommend listening to the podcast as we rarely get a different perspective of the athletes we have grown to love.