Before Patrick Beverley became the heart and soul of the Rockets, he spent several years developing in Europe, relying upon a strong familial support system to stay focused on his NBA dream. One of those pillars was Beverley's grandfather, who died Sunday, hours ahead of Houston's Game 4 victory over the Spurs.
Beverley was in tears at Toyota Center, sobbing at his locker and during warmups before the game as teammates and coaches consoled him.
The 29-year-old point guard made the difficult decision to play despite the trying news and contributed 10 points, six assists and four rebounds in the 125-104 win. Afterward, he delivered an emotional news conference while remembering the impact his grandfather made on his career.
"(My family) wanted me to play tonight. I was going to try to get on the next flight to Chicago," he said, fighting back tears. "I'm a strong guy and I can deal with a lot of things, but I can't deal with anybody suffering. He suffered, but he's in a better place now.
"I tried to go out there and play as hard as I could for my teammates tonight, man. It's just tough. I have to be there for my grandmother. That's the only man she knew for the last 26 years. I have to be there for my mom. I have to be there for my cousins back home in Chicago."
Beverley, raised by a single mother in Chicago, called his grandfather his "biggest fan" who could be counted on for constant encouragement, especially while playing for Olympiakos in Greece and Spartak of the Russian League before breaking into the NBA in 2012.
"It's just tough, man. It's so tough," he said. "Everybody knows I work so extremely hard to prove myself each and every night. To have somebody who was right there to support me the whole way. He wore my jerseys every single day of his life. He wore my Russian jerseys. To have a person like that taken from you is so hard, but, you know, there's a bigger plan and I'm going to keep my faith and I'm going to be there for my family. Anybody who's had grandparents or parents, whoever, taken away from you, it's super hard."
Beverley drained his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer, to open the scoring for Houston as it went on to tie the second-round series at two games apiece.