Anthony Leon “P.J.” Tucker Jr. was born on May 5, 1985, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Anthony Sr. and Aleshia Tucker. The Philadelphia 76ers star was given the nickname P.J., which stands for Pops Junior, by his father, whose own nickname was Pops, according to Bleacher Report. Tucker and his wife Tracy Tucker have three kids together.
Here’s what you need to know about P.J. Tucker’s family:
1. P.J. Tucker’s Parents Are Anthony Tucker Sr. & Aleshia Tucker & the Family Lived in Germany for a While
Tucker’s parents are Anthony Tucker Sr. and Aleshia Tucker. Though the Sixers star hasn’t revealed much about his upbringing and his parents, he opened up about spending a part of his childhood in Germany due to his father’s job with the Army. Tucker has shared that living on the military base in Germany was pretty lonely and that’s when he turned to basketball to pass the time.
“There were other Black kids on the base in Germany, but I just remember feeling alone a lot,” Tucker opened up about that time of his life to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Having my ball — that was it. I was there until, like, first grade. And I was huge. I was a 5-foot first-grader. It might sound cliché, but it was all I had, and I couldn’t speak the language. Then we moved back.”
After living for some time in Germany, the Tucker family moved back to Raleigh and Tucker attended William G. Enloe High School. “Raleigh is always home,” Tucker’s father told the News & Observer. “You can’t change that no matter what city you’re living in. He’s always giving back and helping people here.”
2. P.J. Tucker’s Parents Have Spoken About His Long Road to Success in the NBA
Tucker Sr. played baseball when he was younger in Raleigh, North Carolina, the News & Observer reported, and he encouraged his son to play basketball “aggressively” and challenge every rebound with force, Bleacher Report shared.
As the son of a military man, Tucker said he had to always be very presentable and was once reamed out by his dad for it. “I got whooped one time when my dad came to my game and I had mismatched socks on and I was ashy,” he told FN.
“I had like 30 points, I killed it, [but] I got home and got a beating because I had mismatched socks on and I was ashy,” he continued. “My dad was in the military so he didn’t play that. But I guess in a different way now I’m like that with my kids. Anywhere my kids go they’re going to be put together.”
The Sixers star didn’t have a clear path to the top in basketball and after getting drafted by the Toronto Raptors and not finding success in the league, he ended up going to play overseas for several years before returning to the NBA. “He’s always been undersized and had the underdog mentality,” his father told the News & Observer about his son’s approach to the game. “Some players have a straight path to the top. P.J.’s career veered to the left, to the right, up and down. It’s a tough story but he was always convinced he could play at that level.”
As for Tucker’s mother, Aleshia Tucker, she said seeing her son become an NBA champion in 2021 with the Milwaukee Bucks was “everything.” She said it had been her boy’s dream since he was very young “and the thing he told me he was going to do and he did it,” she told ABC11. “For it to be a full circle because he’s been all around the world and beat the team that brought him back to the NBA for a championship means everything.”
3. P.J. Tucker Has Shared That He’s Proud to Be From Raleigh, North Carolina, & It Was Hard to Be Away From Home for His Career
Raleigh will always be home for Tucker, and the NBA star shared that it’s important to be a figure that young kids in Raleigh can look up to now. “Growing up here, I didn’t have a whole lot of people that I could look up to,” he told ABC11. “For me, to carry that burden for other kids in Raleigh to show them it’s possible, that’s everything. That’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
The Sixers star said the feeling of coming home is unbeatable and he’s proud to say he’s from Raleigh. His mother agreed that his hometown is very important to Tucker and it’s important for him to give back to the community. “If he could have one kid say you made a difference in my life, it means a lot to him. That’s what he strives for,” she told the outlet.
While Raleigh will always be home, Tucker was away from North Carolina for a long time to pursue a basketball career overseas, which wasn’t easy. “It was tough being away from home,” he told Andscape of his several years playing in European leagues. “You have to learn how to play over there. Over there, it ain’t dropping 30 every night and being the man. Most of the guys who think like that don’t last over there. They care about winning over there. If you’re a winner, you can play forever over there.”
Tucker played in Israel, then Ukraine, then Israel once again. He then played in Greece, Italy and Germany, and was having a pretty successful career. He was the Israeli Super League champion and MVP in 2008, as well as the Premier League Finals MVP. In 2009, he was named Ukrainian SuperLeague All-Star and in Germany, in 2012, he became a German League champion, the Finals MVP, and a German League All-Star, to name some of his accomplishments.
He didn’t try to get back to the NBA, telling the Los Angeles Times, “I wasn’t coming back to the NBA. I had no interest in it. I was successful there… I had established myself to the point where I was one of the best players in Europe at the time. These were million-dollar contracts.”
Instead, he focused on just playing the best he could, rather than hitting certain numbers to try to get back to the NBA. The Sixers star said now that he’s back in the NBA, he’s just trying to focus on the present without looking back at his past career.
“I don’t try to look back at it,” he told Andscape. “I remember it. It keeps me ticking. It keeps me going. It keeps me strong. But it makes me super humble to be here with every game, every moment. People ask me why I play so hard. I say, ‘I’m happy to be here.’ For real.”
4. P.J. Tucker Said His Wife Tracy Was Instrumental in Getting Him Back to the NBA
Tucker has kept his personal life very private and doesn’t have many pictures of his family on his Instagram. He’s married to Tracy Tucker and they have three children together.
Tucker mentioned in a handful of interviews that his wife was instrumental in getting him back to the NBA as he’d given up trying to get back into the league once he moved to Europe. In 2012, then-general manager of the Phoenix Suns Lance Blanks gave Tucker a non-guaranteed training camp invite during the summer league. While Tucker was planning on returning to Europe to play in Russia, he was convinced to give the NBA a last try by his agent and his wife.
“My wife just had my son,” he told Andscape. “She said just give it one more shot. I was like, ‘I am going to turn this money down?’ It was for way less money. My [NBA] minimum was so low. I was going to get paid a couple million [in Russia]. I gambled on myself, but I didn’t want to. Trust me.”
He decided to follow their advice and signed with the Suns on August 1, 2012, and the rest is history. “If it wasn’t for my wife and my agent, I wouldn’t have come back. It’s crazy.”
Tracy Tucker studied bioengineering at the University of California San Diego from 2002 to 2007, her LinkedIn states. She’s worked in various positions for Cisco in the last 15 years and is currently a leader in the Strategy and Sales Enablement section. “I love to tackle the challenging, messy problems – where there’s chaos, there’s opportunity,” she wrote in her bio.
5. P.J. Tucker Has Three Kids, 2 Daughters & a Son
Tucker has three children, two daughters and a son, with his wife. His son, King, turned 11 years old on February 7, 2023, the NBA star wrote on Instagram. “It’s my twin bday!!! Dude i love you so much i don’t have words to explain it.. you keep me goin every single day.. i couldn’t ask for a better sidekick. I love you dude!”
He spoke about becoming an NBA champion and his son’s reaction causing him to get emotional. “I didn’t cry from the championship,” he told Andscape. “But I have this picture up when they held the trophy up that means everything to me. My son is bawling, crying. It messed me up. I didn’t know he’s crying and I’m celebrating with him, turn him around and he’s bawling. It was the craziest thing for me because it didn’t make me emotional to cry. As happy as I was, I didn’t cry. But he did because he appreciated it that much.”
Tucker’s oldest daughter Aaliyah isn’t afraid of the spotlight as she was seen interviewing then-Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni in 2019 when she was 11 years old.
The Sixers star’s youngest daughter, Zoe, is starting to get her own collection of shoes like her dad, he told FN. “I finally got her this crazy collection of different toddler baby shoes,” he revealed. “I just got her a pair of OG baby [Nike] Huaraches — crazy. Some [Nike] Air Uptempos — crazy. All these really old shoes, even like retro Jordans and stuff. Her sneaker collection is insane.”