"Mother's Day is just a month away, so what better time to take a look at those pro athletes who make every day Mother's Day. I'm referring to the guys who can't go more than a few days without the reassuring embrace of the woman who gave them life; who simply don't eat if every other meal isn't mom's chicken tetrazzini.
Considering the logistics behind keeping a loved one in the stands, or in the condo, throughout the season of any of the major sports leagues; the strength of the bond between mother and son/teammate/star can be measured in both dollars and effort.
While being labeled a "Mama's Boy" carries some measure of derision, it's a wide net that catches both the basement-dwelling creepers as well as the dudes who just want their mom to drive a brand new, but sensible, Cadillac sedan...because they love them.
In this spread, the whole spectrum is covered. These are the 20 biggest Mama's Boys in sports.
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets
The average man likely strives for a balanced relationship with his mother; maintaining his independence without sacrificing the special bond between them. Nuggets center JaVale McGee is not one of them.
Mother Pamela—a former WNBA star—is a much more omnipresent part of McGee's life and career. She not only plays the role of doting mom, but also acts as his business manager and de facto life coach.
And, McGee seems to be quite content with the arrangement—it was just announced that the OWN network will be airing a reality show about the pair, titled Millionaire Mama's Boy.
Ryan Lochte, US Swimmer
The label mama's boy carries with it the presumption that the man it's applied to is much closer—emotionally, geographically and functionally—to his mother than the typical guy. How that dynamic is perceived depends on how the bond manifests itself; it can be a cute, if not quirky, example of his family-oriented lifestyle, or a red flag that belies his maturity.
However, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte's mother's comments on the Today Show last summer just made things appear weird. Ileana Lochte's insights regarding what motivates his one-night stands and other bachelor antics showed that the two of them may be a smidgen too candid with each other.
Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera grew up in the Dominican Republic, where his mother Maria Teresa Astacio raised him and his two sisters. With a mostly absent father, Astacio—with help from Cabrera's grandmother—found a way to work and provide a good home.
Cabrera clearly understands the value of the sacrifices she made and has made sure both his mother and grandmother are at his side throughout his career. He's a mama's boy, because it's the least he could do.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
After his stellar MLB debut, it's easy to forget that Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper isn't even old enough to legally buy a sixer. His saucy back-and-forth with the media, bench-clearing smack-talk—these are the attributes of a pro who's been in the league long enough to know AAA isn't around the corner.
So, a helpful reminder that Harper—despite his skill and veteran-like presence—is barely more than a kid playing ball...is that his mother Sheri made cookies for Gio Gonzalez and other teammates during spring training last year.
Michael Oher, Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens' Michael Oher's story was made famous in the 2009 movie The Blind Side and the book it was based on. As a child in Memphis, Tenn., he bounced around from one foster home to another, before being taken in by Leigh Ann Tuohy and her family.
She became Oher's legal, adoptive parent, providing a loving, supportive home and encouraging him to use his physical talents to excel as a prep football star—helping Oher become the Super Bowl-winning pro he is today.
Tuohy has remained by his side from the beginning and also worked to foster a relationship between Oher and his biological mother.
Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona
Forward Lionel Messi is living the good life—he's inarguably the best footballer in the world, playing for one of the best clubs in La Liga. Off the pitch, he's one of the most famous athletes in the world and is the toast of the sport.
Of course, there is always a caveat; and this caveat goes by the name of Celia Cuccittini—Messi's mother. As in a 'caveat' that chases her son's lovers while wielding a frying pan.
Not that Celia is a caveat from his perspective. Messi sports a tattoo of her mug on his back and seizes the opportunity to honor her role in his life.
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
During the Pittsburgh Penguins' Stanley Cup run in 2009, star center Evgeni Malkin's parents emerged as celebrities in their own right among the Pens' faithful and hockey media.
They were a near-constant presence during the playoffs and Geno's mother Natalia's home-away-from-home cooking took on a playfully supernatural air:
Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Giants WR Victor Cruz has established himself as one of the top young receiving threats in the game today. Beyond the sure hands and big plays, He has made the most of the spotlight—creating his signature, beloved salsa dance end-zone celebration.
However, Cruz has made it clear that his celebrity—his success—are not his alone. His mother, Bianca, is a fixture on Cruz's Facebook page, a partner on the red carpet and the subject of his gratitude when discussing his career with the sports media.
Cruz's mama's-boy status was officially sanctioned when the two starred in the famous Campbell's Soup commercial series dedicated to the special bond.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is an NBA superstar who would be the unquestioned top player in the league if he lived in an alternate universe without LeBron James. At 24 and insanely talented and athletic, Durant has ample time to make a strong case for himself.
But since we're on the topic alternate universes—if this were a bizarro world of opposites, then Durant's mother Wanda Pratt, would be Spike Lee to his Reggie Miller.
But, instead of Pratt being a court-side nemesis engaging in back-and-forth smack talk, she's his consummate cheerleader in the stands and consoling mother in the tunnel.
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What do you guys have planned for your mom / guardian on Sunday ?