Terry Rozier Sr. has never been this close to seeing his son play organized basketball.
The father of the Boston Celtics point guard will watch his son play in person for the first time Saturday when the Celtics visit the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Rozier, 43, was released from Trumbull Correctional Institute this summer after serving a 15-year prison sentence for his conviction on an involuntary-manslaughter charge. He told The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy on Wednesday he’s beyond excited to see his son in action.
“This is emotional,” Rozier Sr. said. “I can’t wait for Saturday, the first time ever. A lot of people think I’m so emotional when I talk about it. I’ve been waiting a long time to come home and watch my son.”
Rozier Sr. has spent 23 of the last 25 years in prison, missing his son’s standout performances for his high-school teams — Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School and Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., — the University of Louisville and his emergence as a budding NBA star with the Celtics.
However, Rozier Sr., who was convicted on felonious assault charges at age 18 and was incarcerated until his son was eight, deserves credit for his son’s love of basketball. The elder Rozier taught the Celtics guard fundamentals one summer in Youngstown, Ohio, following his first release from prison. Rozier Sr. even drafted his son onto his own team of grownups, for a pickup game.
“I taught him how to play basketball,” Rozier Sr. said.
“He was 8,” said Terry Sr. “So we went out there — seven grown men and an 8-year-old kid, and we won.”
Months later, Rozier would participate in the botched robbery, which led to his arrest and conviction for involuntary-manslaughter.
Terry Rozier III hopes to re-forge the bond with his now-free father.
“It’s my father, just happy he gets another chance at life, and that he knows I’m here for him,” Rozier said. “It’s not like you’re out of jail and I’m going to put a million dollars in your hands or anything like that, but I’m happy he’s here and I want that relationship back.”
Stay tuned for what happens Saturday, as the interaction between father and son might be a tear-jerker.