Zach LaVine’s Father Didn’t Let a Hating Fourth Grade Teacher Stop His Son’s NBA Dreams

There are a plethora of young stars in the NBA who are making a name for themselves. Zach LaVine is putting on a show for the Chicago Bulls, becoming one of the league’s brightest stars. He’s been working to be an NBA superstar since he was just a kid.

It was his father, Paul LaVine, who’s helped his son get to this point in his NBA career. LaVine’s father pushed him because he knew his son could be special. He wasn’t going to let anyone say his son’s career aspirations were unrealistic.

Zach LaVine is a rising star in the NBA

When Zach LaVine was just a child, his father saw his potential. He would work with his son tirelessly, putting together training regimens for LaVine since the third grade. Paul LaVine realized at an early age that his son different from the rest of the pack.

“He started walking at about six months, doing things other babies weren’t doing. I’d take him to the park and put him on the monkey bars, and he’d hold himself for 30 seconds at four, five years old….I’m thinking, ‘This kid is different.’ In second grade, he was going to the park to play sixth-grade kids for money. He’d come home proud about $10. He always was playing two, three, four years ahead,” said Paul per

LaVine played at UCLA and was the No. 13 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. With the Bulls, his points per game average have increased every season, along with his field goal and 3-point percentage. He is becoming a star, and his commitment to his father and working hard is why.

“He saw the ability and drive I had,” LaVine said. His father saw the potential, but LaVine put in the work. “He wanted to do it. I never had to tell him you have to go out and shoot; he just wanted to,” said Paul.

From a young age, LaVine and his father were determined to make his NBA dream come true, no matter what. So when his elementary school teacher tried to change LaVine’s career aspirations, his father was there to shut that nonsense down.

Paul LaVine checks his son’s fourth-grade teacher for switching his career dream

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Kids always like to dream big. They want to be the next sports star, music artist, model, or even president. As long as they believe in themselves and work toward their goal, they can achieve it. Zach LaVine had the same mindset as a child, knowing his dream was to become a basketball player. However, his fourth-grade teacher thought he should choose a more feasible career path.

“I remember one time they had one of those career days in school, and a teacher in fourth grade asked what he wanted to be. He said he wanted to be an NBA star. The teacher told him to write down something more realistic. He came home and said, ‘The teacher wants me to be a policeman or fireman.’ Me and my wife went to school and said that was my son’s dream, so don’t mess it up; that’s what he wants to be,” said Paul.

That energy toward LaVine’s teacher is the same energy he has with his son. If he wanted to do something, believe in it and work toward it. Paul LaVine standing up for his son like that reflects the relationship they have. Despite all of the tough love and rigorous training sessions, Zach LaVine knew his father always looked out for him.

“I love my dad to death, but I’m not saying growing up was the easiest thing. He would get on me after games. I’ve been called every name in the book. But I never got burned out. I loved it…he was looking out for me, and from a young age, I understood that. I won’t say there weren’t arguments, but I know he loved me, and we’d wake up and do it again,” said LaVine.

Zach LaVine loves spending time with family

Family is a big part of Zach LaVine’s life. Not only from his training sessions with his father but simply hanging out with his mother and siblings. He’s a “big kid,” opting to play video games whenever he gets the chance. LaVine’s love and desire to be around his family is so strong; Paul LaVine gets worried it’s too much time (jokingly).

“All he wants to do is be around his family. I don’t understand it. He goes out to eat with his girlfriend, who’s going to be his future wife, and he always says, ‘Dad, let’s go out to eat, dad let’s go to a movie,'” Paul said.

Paul LaVine didn’t have his father growing up. That made him want to be involved in his children’s lives. His presence has proven beneficial, as his son’s basketball career could’ve been different, maybe non-existent. The dynamic duo of Zach and Paul LaVine has made it to the NBA, but they aren’t content with just making it.

“I’m going to continue to work on my shortcomings in basketball because that’s how I was raised, and I want to be a complete player, an All-Star, an all-NBA guy. I want to be great,” said LaVine.

It’s a good thing Paul LaVine set his son’s fourth grade teacher straight.