Life and sports with Doug and Chris Collins

This week, sports journalists and enthusiasts flooded Northwestern’s campus to see high-profile sport personalities as part of the annual Beyond the Box Score Series of sports journalism lectures and panels. Hosted by the Sports Immersion Program and Northwestern University Department of Athletics and Recreation, the event gave the Medill community a wonderful opportunity to reminisce about the past and discuss how fast the sports world is changing.

On May 6, Medill’s Beyond the Box Score Series brought, “An Evening with Doug and Chris Collins,” where the father-son dynamic duo shared memories of playing, coaching and growing up with basketball. The talk was moderated by Dave Revsine who is a 1991 Northwestern graduate and the first on-air hire at Big Ten Network.

Doug Collins and Chris Collins

Northwestern Men's Basketball Head Coach Chris Collins and his father, four-time NBA All-Star, former coach and current TV commentator Doug Collins brought the house down with stories of the games, their strong familial bond and the joys of playing basketball. The two are very close and speak to each other every day. Although Doug joked, “most of our conversation is about my grandkids.”

Chris reminisced about how his first memories are of his father being a basketball player and how it became an integral part of his life. “We were little kids hanging around the locker room with Nerf guns as our dad’s played basketball,” he recounted. Eventually, for Chris ‘hanging around’ the locker rooms paid off when ‘star struck’ teenage Chris  got assigned the daily task of lacing Michael Jordan’s new pair of shoes each game -- by the basketball legend himself.

Doug Collins recollected his journey of being a dad to Chris and how he coached his own son while Chris worked hard to create his own niche and identity.  “We have a lot of fire in us and ultimately are very competitive,” Chris said. To that, Doug spoke proudly of his son and proclaimed that his proudest moment was when someone came up to him and said, “Aren’t you Chris Collins’ dad?”

Doug Collins and Chris Collins

LZ Granderson, renowned sports journalist and adjunct lecturer at Medill, was touched by the relationship between both Collins’ men. “There were definitely moments in which I said to myself, I hope when my son who is 17, when he is 40, loves and respects me the same amount as Chris loves and respects Doug,” Granderson said. “I think it was good for everyone to see, because in a world of sports there is this machismo that dominates the narrative. So, it is nice to see a different form of masculinity expressed in such a warm and public way.”

Revsine focused on the personal elements in this story that left the audience with a true warm and fuzzy feeling. It was an auditorium packed with both young and old faces enjoying the genuine conversation about two powerful individuals.

“At the end of the day in a leadership position you cannot be someone else, you have to be yourself,” said Doug.