The family legacy continues!
Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Coach Niele Ivey had a front row seat at the 2022 NBA Draft as her son Jaden was selected as the No. 5 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons, Yahoo Sports reports.
The NBA Draft on Thursday night was a full circle moment for mother-son duo Niele and Jaden in more ways than one. Jaden, a Purdue sophomore guard, grew up watching his mother play in the WNBA, the Detroit Shock being one of the three teams she played for during her time in the league. Now, as the head coach of Notre Dame women’s basketball, she’ll be sitting courtside watching her son live out his dreams as an NBA player for the Detroit Pistons.
Jaden Ivey grew up watching his mother, Niele, play in the WNBA.— ESPN (@espn) June 24, 2022
Today, Niele gets to see her son drafted into the NBA ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zTae5B7t88
“Words can’t express how happy I am to watch this dream come true!! Thank you God for this blessing,” Niele tweeted out along with a reposted video from the NBA of her son getting drafted.
🥺❤️ Words can’t express how happy I am to watch this dream come true!! Thank you God for this blessing! https://t.co/ictB9lri1X— Niele Ivey (@IrishCoachIvey) June 24, 2022
What makes the city of Detroit even more special for the family is that Jaden’s grandfather James Hunter played for the NFL’s Detroit Lions for seven years, and his father Javin Hunter, a four-year NFL veteran, was born in Detroit. In an ESPN interview following the draft, Jaden became overwhelmed with emotion as he expressed how much this moment meant to him and his gratitude for his mother, who essentially paved the way for him in basketball.
“I work day in and day out to just get to this level,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her and I’m just so happy.”
The reporter then asked Niele what it meant to her to witness her son achieve his dreams, the proud mother responding: “I’m speechless almost. You know like this is his dream come true… to be in Detroit, we have so many amazing roots in Detroit…I’m just joyful, I'm so happy for him.”
Niele was an All-American point guard at Notre Dame who entered the 2001 WNBA draft, going on to be selected by the Indiana Fever in the second round. She played her entire rookie season while being pregnant with Jaden. After playing 131 games in five seasons and retiring in 2005, Niele transitioned to the coaching side of the game and by 2020 returned to her alma mater of Notre Dame as its first Black woman head coach.
Earlier this year, she joined her son in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, one of the many proud moments between the two. Niele and Jaden can now add his recent NBA draft selection to the list. With his grandfather and mother both paving the way, Jaden is now the third generation to play for a professional Detroit team.
Congratulations to the family and cheers to legacy!
Photo Courtesy Mike Fender/IndyStar/ESPN