The Miami Heat finished the regular season with an impressive 53-29 record, earning the team the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference. According to Tyler Herro‘s father, such a feat would’ve never been possible without the continously strong performances from his son.
Chris Herro told ESPN‘s Israel Gutierrez in an interview published on Friday, April 22, that the Heat would’ve barely made the play-in tournament if it wasn’t for his eldest son’s offensive game.
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“It’s, ‘Can he be that dude?'” Herro’s father said of the 22-year-old guard. “What are you talking about? He’s been doing it all year. If Tyler Herro doesn’t exist on the Miami Heat, the Miami Heat are a .500 club. Let’s be real, dude. I’m not being arrogant because he’s my son. I’m just being real.”
After a less-than-stellar stint as a starter last season, the Kentucky alum has made the most of his new role as the first man off the bench, becoming the clear front-runner to win the 2022 NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. While Herro is not the best player on the team, he has become the Heat’s most consistent scorer.
Following the All-Star break, Herro finished the final 20 games of the season averaging 22.4 points per game, shooting 50% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc.
Chris Herro Initially Couldn’t Talk to His Son After Learning Tyler’s Girlfriend was Pregnant
While Chris Herro is clearly his son’s biggest fan, he told ESPN that he struggled with frustration and anger after the Heat guard told him he was expecting a child at age 21 with girlfriend Katya Henry, an Instagram model. The couple welcomed a daughter, Zya, in September.
At the time of the pregnancy, Herro was already facing backlash for focusing too much on the celebrity aspect of being a basketball star, and not having earned that status since his performance on the court was a far cry from his dominant showing during the 2020 NBA Finals in the bubble.
“There were so much rumors floating around my name,” Herro said of his sophomore year in the league. “The lifestyle stuff, the girls, and saying I’m getting caught up in that, which was never true.” So, when he learned Henry was pregnant, Herro said telling his parents “was the hardest thing.”
Chris Herro “couldn’t speak when Tyler gave him the news, so he put Herro’s mother, Jen, on the phone,” Gutierrez wrote. As a father of three boys, including sons Miles and Austin, both of whom are looking to follow in Tyler’s footsteps, “and fully invested in the career of his eldest,” Gutirrez noted, “Chris’ initial response was that of concern.”
In addition to constant criticism for Herro’s brand deals and modeling gigs, there were non-stop rumors swirling around the league that Herro was the Heat’s biggest trade piece leading up to the 2021 deadline.
“At the time he’s 21, it’s like, ‘What are you doing?” Chris Herro recalled. “You’re not ready for a baby. You should be worrying about your career.’ As a young dad himself, Chris Herro eventually came around.
“But then you take a step back and you have to be there for him. And then you learn from those decisions.”
Herro Has Earned the Respect from His Teammates
Herro not only has the love and respect from this family but from his Heat teammates, including All-Star veteran Jimmy Butler.
“We trust in him a lot,” Butler told Gutierrez. “Obviously he has the ball a lot of the time, and obviously when someone does have the ball that much, you trust in them to take the right shots, which he does, and get everybody involved, which he does.
“But he’s grown since he came into the league. He’s going to continue to do that. And we need him to be that going forward in the playoffs and as we make this run.”
The Heat are currently up 2-0 during the first round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. Game 3 starts on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.