Patrick Mahomes became a superstar when he led the Chiefs to the postseason as the NFL MVP during his first full year as quarterback. Now, with two Super Bowl appearances, one Super Bowl win, and a record-breaking NFL contract, he’s become even more significant. Luckily, the young football star was ready thanks to a lifelong relationship with his godfather, LaTroy Hawkins.
Patrick Mahomes’ athletic upbringing
Mahomes wasn’t the first namesake to make it in the realm of professional sports. According to Baseball-Reference, his father, Pat, was a journeyman pitcher in Major League Baseball for over a decade. While he never put up superstar numbers, Pat had a steady job for most of his son’s childhood, and while he imparted his knowledge onto his son, his teammate, LaTroy Hawkins, was an integral part of his son’s growth.
According to The U.S. Sun, Hawkins was one of Pat’s best friends, and when young Patrick was still a child, he took a liking to the fellow Minnesota Twins pitcher. From an early age, Hawkins, who spent twenty years in Major League Baseball, was a significant part of his life. As his godfather, he changed his diapers, imparted knowledge, and helped guide Patrick into the professional sphere not only as a football player but a top baseball prospect, too.
Learning the societal playbook
In 2017, Mahomes was still a young adult who was not yet comfortable with his voice. While the Black Lives Matter movement had spent the previous five years gathering momentum, Mahomes mainly stayed quiet. Part of this was due to Hawkins’ advice. According to Men’s Health, the retired pitcher told him to sit back and watch until he knew the right things to say.
“My conversation with him was: ‘You’re new to the league,'” Hawkins told the future MVP. “‘Your main objective right now is learning this playbook and building leadership skills.'”
Mahomes did just that, watching as the world grew more comfortable with such a hot-button topic of discussion. While Mahomes was the child of a black father and a white mother, he lived a different life than many of his teammates. As such, he experienced several of the same issues without being as entrenched as many of his teammates were.
The silence filled him with some regret, but after remaining silent for several years, Mahomes finally used his voice and rising star power to help the NFL acknowledge a growing issue head-on.
Mahomes is proud of his biracial heritage and took from both to create someone undefined by skin color or background, but what he does out on the court. Hawkins spoke about this mindset in an interview with Men’s Health.
“I don’t want him put in a race box. When you put him in a box, you completely ignore his momma,” Hawkins told the publication. “He’s the product of a Caucasian family and a Black family. They’re both human beings.”
However, that doesn’t mean that Mahomes remains silent when issues of social justice continued causing civil unrest. As Bleacher Report notes, when Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Mahomes reached out to his Godfather before his public statement on the subject. Acknowledging his privilege, Mahomes showed that he was not going to stand idly despite the NFL’s history of unofficially punishing those who do.
Mahomes is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable faces in sports. However, he did not get here by chance. Yes, he had some luck knowing professional athletes thanks to his father, but he used his experiences to get better every day and become the man he is today. There’s never been an athlete like Mahomes, and he’s OK with that. He’d instead remain outside the box than let others dictate where he goes. Luckily, he had a support system that still enables this today.