Terry Rozier, Sr. out of prison - forming a link with his son and society generally

It is easy to neglect the fact that our Celtics players have lives away from the hardwood, and very often those private lives have a level of hardness to them as well. Terry Rozier, Sr. got out of prison this past summer after spending 15 years behind bars. It seems that Terry Rozier III will be instrumental in his dad's transition back into society.

Terry Sr. spent 23 of the past 25 years in prison - the first stint of eight years resulting from a felonious assault. The second confinement of 15 years occurred after his release, and the charge was involuntary manslaughter following a botched robbery (per Boston Herald's Mark Murphy):

But the experience was horribly conflicted. Terry Sr. was 18 when he was sent away for eight years for felonious assault. As Little Terry once said, his father was there to hold him when he was born. When Terry Sr. got out his son was 8, and despite the reservations of Gina and her mother, Amana Tucker, Little Terry was allowed to move in with his father for the summer in Youngstown.

What happened three months later seared the family, and Terry Sr. made what he describes as “a goofy-assed decision. It was all on me.”

Terry Sr. and three other men attempted to hold up someone on the sidewalk — “a dude,” as Terry Sr. remembers him. A cousin named Latrell Jackson fired a gun errantly, killing another member of the group, William Lee.

I will veer off from what a reader would normally expect here. It is apparent that the elder Rozier has not been anything close to a model citizen, but his son, T-Ro, has been just that as a Boston Celtic. Little Terry has proven to be tough as nails in the ways that matter. He works hard to keep improving - doesn't back down to anyone - and is a true Celtic of high character.

This clearly is a case where the son becomes the mentor. Terry's dad is 43 years old and has spent over half his life in prison. He was 18 years old when he went away the first time. T-Ro has bought his dad a house and some clothes, but he makes it clear that this is not only about money (per Boston Herald's Mark Murphy):

“It’s my father, just happy he gets another chance at life, and that he knows I’m here for him,” he (T-Ro) 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.

Despite the evil I have seen in 20 years of police work, there is some good in every person. I chose one young man as one of my Police Athletic League basketball coaches because I liked him, and he had endured some brutal acts by his father - such as holding his son's hand in a gas flame as punishment for real or perceived mischief. Several years later, I was called from a gathering to take his voluntary confession to me, and me only, of his savage attack on an old man - as I learned later, the victim may have died from the beating. After endless years in prison, my former PAL coach was released and became a fine citizen until his too-early death a few years ago.

Young Terry may have learned to play basketball from his dad, but now his father needs to learn from our Terry. Life is not a game - it's a contest. Just like basketball. Physical and mental toughness get you through - if used in the right way. Terry Rozier III is a prime example of that. We wish both father and son great success in their new-found relationship, in basketball - and in life generally. In the photo, they are spitting images of each other. The goodness in Terry Sr. needs to be brought out, and he has his new mentor right there beside him

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo courtesy of Rozier family