As we head into the NBA Draft for the 2021 to 2022 season, it looks like the No. 1 pick has already been decided. According to ESPN, the Detroit Pistons have opted to select Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham. Detroit officials reportedly met with Cade for a final time on the morning of July 29, just ahead of the draft, to confirm their choice.
The point guard has been nothing less than impressive throughout his college ball career, winning the Wayman Tisdale Award as the top freshman in college basketball and scoring the fourth-highest points-per-game for a freshman in league history. But according to Cade, the work that he put in to get where he is now isn't for him. It's for his daughter, Riley, who spends her time between Cade's family and her mother while Cade plays for Oklahoma State.
Who is Cade Cunningham's daughter?
Riley was born in 2018 while Cade was playing his high school senior season at Montverde Academy in Florida. In a conference call during 2021's March Madness tournament, the player recalled that it wasn't easy being so far away from his daughter while in Florida. Riley lives in Texas, where she splits her time with her own mother and with Cade's parents.
Riley was one of the biggest reasons why Cade ended up at Oklahoma State in November of 2019, knowing that the trip home to his daughter would now be a lot more manageable. "I was away at Montverde when she was born ... finally being able to be a little bit closer definitely helped. I mean regardless, I know my parents would’ve did whatever it took to close that gap for me but yeah, being a four-hour drive away isn’t too bad for sure," he said, according to Forbes.
Thanks to Cade being closer to home, Riley's been able to go see her dad play. Plus, according to Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton, Riley was often able to hang out around the school, where she was adored by the rest of the team and coaches.
Being a teenage father wasn't something that his family had expected. Cade's mother, Carrie, recalled to The Oklahoman that she was scared for her son when she learned that Cade was going to be a dad. Cade was already on track to become college basketball's top recruit when she heard the news. "Just hoping that with a lot of love and support and a lot of prayer that everything would be fine,” she said.
Clearly, with Cade on his way to entering the NBA at such a young age, things were more than fine. But he says that his success comes from the maturity of having to constantly be working toward his daughter's future. “I have to make this work,” he told The Oklahoman. “I have to do the best in whatever I’m pursuing for her. It changed the way I looked at life, for sure. That made me lock in a little bit more."
Everything he does, he says, is "for her."
Who is Cade's baby mama?
Cade has never disclosed who his baby mama is, likely out of respect and privacy for her, as well as for his daughter. The 19-year-old isn't very open on social media about his life outside of basketball, and he is careful not to post revealing information about his daughter and family. It is also unknown if Cade is in a relationship with his daughter's mother or if they parent separately.