Bethune Cookman women’s coach Vanessa Blair-Lewis and her husband, veteran NBA official Eric Lewis, don’t like missing basketball games.
So after Blair-Lewis gave birth to a baby boy — Blair Eric Lewis — a few hours before Monday’s game against Howard, she watched the game on the school’s livestream feed from her hospital bed a few blocks away. Her husband did make the walk over from the hospital to watch the game and then came back to his family.
Even after the delivery, she felt the team’s pain when Howard pulled out the victory in the final seconds.
“It definitely wasn’t easy to watch,” Blair-Lewis said in an interview with The Associated Press from her hospital room. “If I had my way, I would have been there. But my husband said he’d have me thrown out if I did try to make it over.”
While the NBA didn’t have an exact number of marriages between college coaches and NBA officials, the Lewises aren’t the first. The most famous one was Hall of Fame coach Cathy Rush of Immaculata and retired official Ed T. Rush, who later divorced.
“You should hear our arguments in the house,” Blair-Lewis joked. “Get back in your box, that’s a warning. I’ll toss you after the second one.”
Eric Lewis, a 10-year NBA veteran, will go back to work Thursday night as he’s expected to officiate the nationally televised Cleveland Cavaliers-New York Knicks game. Blair-Lewis hopes to be back on the sidelines soon. She’s targeted the team’s senior night Feb. 22.
“I want to be back out there as soon as I can,” Blair-Lewis said. “One of my players really touched me when she said, you’ve been a mother to so many other players now you can be one for yourself.”