Sometimes we think those who “have it all” really do have it all. We think that sports and entertainment greats are immune to personal disaster and that they have everything we desire including an amazingly healthy family. This is especially true of athletes who are physically fit and able to endure a huge amount for physical stress and strain. But the fact is they are just people and they must deal with many of the same fears, challenges and personal tragedies that the rest of us must endure. Kevin McHale is one of those sports greats who is now having to endure what is every parent’s deepest fear and what is often a devastating event—the death of a child.
McHale’s Daughter Passes
Word today is that Kevin McHale’s daughter, Alexandra “Sasha” McHale, has died. Sasha, who was 23, suffered from lupus. McHale, who is the coach of the Houston Rockets, had been on leave from the team since November 10. He was said to be dealing with a personal family matter.
Kelvin Sampson, who was coaching the team while McHale was away, said last week that the situation was getting better and that although there were still challenges that things were looking up.
Sampson acknowledged, “It’s not out of the woods yet. There’s still a lot of concern, but it is improving.”
However, despite optimism and hope, Sasha passed away on Saturday.
Rockets and Timberwolves Owners
Rockets owner Les Alexander said in a statement, “I extend my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon. Kevin and Lynn are loving and dedicated parents who will need our continued support throughout this very difficult time”
Before coming to the Rockets, Kevin McHale coached the Minnesota Timberwolves. Team owner Glen Taylor, said after Sasha’s passing, “While Kevin was with our organization, we all watched Sasha grow up and become an outstanding young woman. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.”
After the announcement of McHale’s daughter’s death, Houston Rockets guard James Harden tweeted, “Praying for coach McHale and his family.” Chandler Parsons, Harden’s teammate, tweeted, “R.I.P. Sasha.”
At this point there has been no statement from McHale.
Sasha the Athlete and Person
Prior to being stricken with lupus, Sasha was known as a fine athlete. Like her Hall of Fame, Boston Celtics dad, she was a forward and wore number 32. She played basketball for Totino-Grace High School Eagles in Minnesota.
Veronica Scott, one of Sasha McHale’s best friends, told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press that, “She was positive even though she struggled so much. Everyone that knew her was impacted by her, and she brought happiness to every person.”
Of course, my condolences as do all Celtics fans, go out to Kevin McHale and his family. If you’re a parent this type of news hits especially hard. Two positive things to do would be to make a donation in Sasha’s memory to the Lupus Foundation and to make sure you hug your kids today. You never know.