That Avery Johnson’s wife and kids live close to Houston.Â I would have thought they all lived in the Dallas area.
Such moments are precious because the kids and their mom, Cassandra, live 200 miles away in The Woodlands, north of Houston. The family believes this is best because of the high-pressure demands of Dad’s job.
Avery Johnson says he sees his family more often than the dual-city arrangement implies. He has a deal with a charter plane company that enables him to make spur-of-the-moment trips home.
“Even with my difficult schedule, I make sure to spend time with them,” Mr. Johnson said of his children. “I don’t want them to ever feel like the NBA has stolen their daddy.”
But the arrangement at times is logistically difficult. And it has on occasion been heart-wrenching for the family.
It speaks to the commitment the Johnsons have made to Avery’s job. While he tries to figure out a way to slow the assault of Warriors guard Baron Davis, Cassandra and the kids worry, too â€“ while at the same time giving Avery sufficient space.
The Mavericks are an emotional investment for all of the Johnsons. During the regular season, Avery occasionally flew to The Woodlands in time to pick the kids up from school, have dinner with the family, watch videotape into the night, take the kids to school and return to Dallas.
Regardless of where he is, he talks individually to Christianne and Avery Jr. every weekday morning. Pay attention, study hard, have confidence, he tells them. Then father and child, even when talking by phone, bow their heads.
“I don’t send my children into the schoolhouse without praying over them and the school,” Avery said.