Fred VanVleet’s girlfriend, Shontai Neal, gave birth to a baby boy prior to Game 4 of the Bucks-Raptors playoff series. Fred Jr. was born on Monday, May 20th in Fred’s hometown of Rockford, Illinois.
Fred flew back to Rockford from Toronto after Game 3 to be with Neal for their son’s birth then flew back to Toronto for Game 4, per ESPN. Fred Jr. is the couple’s second child and joins their daughter, Sanaa, as the newest addition to the family. TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reported that VanVleet also went back to Rockford prior to Game 5 then made the hour and a half drive to Milwaukee for the game.
“VanVleet spent the night at home in Rockford, Illinois with his girlfriend & their newborn son, Fred Jr. He made the 90-min drive to Milwaukee this morning, got in around noon and squeezed in a quick nap. Hasn’t had much sleep, but said the emotional high is carrying him through,” Lewenberg tweeted.
The Raptors guard admitted he is running on adrenaline and little sleep.
“It makes you tired,” VanVleet explained to ESPN. “It gives you a little perspective, I guess, on life. I had a lot of time to think. Had to sit at the hospital all day, had a lot of time to think, obviously a plane ride back. It just changes the way you’re looking at things. You are not so down on yourself about everything.”
Fred VanVleet & Girlfriend Shontai Neal Have Been Together Since High School
According to Kansas.com, the couple has been dating since high school and both attended college at Wichita State. VanVleet had his best performance of the series in Game 5 as he scored 21 points in the Raptors third straight win. Here is a look the couple’s daughter.
Lewenberg also provided an overview of a busy week for VanVleet as he balanced the birth of his son with the Raptors playoff series.
Sun: played 31 mins (& final 16) in 2OT win.
Mon: flew to Rockford, IL in the AM, his son was born in the evening.
Tues: flew back to Toronto, scored 13 pts in 25 mins.
Wed: flew to Milwaukee, made 90min drive to Rockford.
Thu: drove to MIL, back at noon, ready for G5
After VanVleet’s Game 5 performance, the Raptors guard was asked if his new son had anything to do with his stellar play.
“I’m not giving him no credit,” VanVleet said, per Forbes.com. “It’s all me. You know, it’s all the hard work that I’ve been putting in. Obviously to have a big life help to clear your mind up a bit gives you a little bit of extra motivation as well…[On if there is a formula] Zero sleep, have a lot of babies, and go out there and let loose.”
Prior to Fred Jr.’s birth, Neal noted on Twitter that their daughter was preparing them for living with a newborn again.
“Sanaa is getting me prepared for when the baby comes… because this past week she’s been waking up at 7am and I’m not feeling it. ? Mama is tiredddddd!” Neal tweeted.