Tina Thompson's son, Dyllan, hangs out with Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson at the 2009 WNBA All-Star Game. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

Thompson's Son Has Grown Up with Basketball

Kevin Pelton, StormBasketball.com | May 10, 2012

Tina Thompson may be in training camp with the Seattle Storm, but her heart remains in Houston. That's where Thompson's son, Dyllan, is staying with his grandmother as he finishes up the school year. Because Thompson lived in Los Angeles year-round while playing for the Sparks the last three seasons, and Houston before that, this is the first time basketball has kept her apart from her son for an extended period. And she misses him badly.

"I'm not normal when he's not around," said Thompson, who signed with the Storm in February. "This is rather difficult. I think he's probably taking it a lot better than I am because he's in his comfort zone, he's at home. He has all the things that he loves to have around him. Of course he misses me and I miss him too. But we Skype every day, we talk every day. Although we're not in each other's presence, we're kind of like still there."

Tina Thompson with son Dyllan at the 2008 Olympics.
Quinn Roony/Getty Images

The 2008 Olympics were just one place son Dyllan joined Tina Thompson.

Still, Thompson's maternal instincts kick in. She worries about Dyllan being uncomfortable, and can't wait for when school ends in a couple of weeks and he can join her in Seattle. Spending a summer with a WNBA team has become the usual routine for Dyllan, who turns seven on Saturday. Since he was a baby, Dyllan has followed Thompson everywhere throughout her career.

"My son has literally just kind of adopted the lifestyle himself," Thompson said. "I think if he hadn't meshed into the lifestyle so easily, then I would probably be doing something else right now. Dyllan is definitely my priority. How comfortable he is in this lifestyle is important. He's been great."

The result has been a childhood that's anything been ordinary.

"I've been able to experience so much through basketball," said Thompson. "In the last six years, that he's been able to experience those same things is pretty awesome: Going to the Olympics, being in China, being on the Great Wall of China. Those are experiences that don't happen every day."

Along the way, Dyllan has become a fixture in locker rooms and on bus rides with teams - in the WNBA, with USA Basketball and overseas when Thompson played alongside Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson for Sparta&K Moscow Region. So Dyllan counts as his friends some of women's basketball's biggest stars.

"Sue has probably known Dyllan since he was seven or eight months old," noted Thompson. "He's been around her and known her, known Diana (Taurasi), known Katie (Smith) from USA Basketball and everything like that. Them enjoying him and him being a good kid makes it easier on them too. If he was like a screaming baby on the bus, it would be a little annoying, but because of his personality, they enjoy it.

"Dyllan learned how to use an iPhone and all these gadgets like that because Sue and Diana had them when we were in Russia. He learned how to do all these amazing things that normal kids don't get to do because he's around big kids who enjoy playing with them."

Soon, Thompson will be with Dyllan again. Her family is traveling with her to Los Angeles to see her inducted into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Then they'll come back to Seattle for the Storm's preseason game on Sunday (2 p.m., ), when Thompson and the Storm's other mom - center Ann Wauters - will be honored as part of BECU's recognition of mothers. Thompson says seeing her son "probably one of the best things since sliced bread." The family will also celebrate both Mother's Day and Dyllan's birthday.

"Nothing special planned," she said. "We'll probably eat, hang out, do something fun for him."

Dyllan is old enough now to recognize that Sunday is an important day to thank his mom for everything she's done for him.

He's in school, so he makes things," she said. "I cherish those more than anything. He definitely wants to buy me things, but he makes it very clear that he has no money, so he needs mine. He's definitely aware, for sure."

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