Azzi Fudd’s parents, Katie and Tim Fudd, are ever-present during their daughter’s collegiate basketball games. They cheer every offensive and defensive action she’s involved in, which means they cheer almost ceaselessly.
“At the end of the day, when [Azzi] walks away from it and looks back on this experience she’ll remember us being there and enjoying that experience with her and being on that journey with her,” Tim talked to CT Insider about his and Katie’s reasons for watching all of Azzi Fudd’s games.
Azzi’s parents were basketball players who wed on a basketball court
It’s fitting that Azzi Fudd’s parents exchanged vows on a basketball court – they’d spent most of their lives playing or coaching the sport.
Katie played for Georgetown and NC State and joined the Sacramento Monarchs via the draft. Unfortunately, injuries stalled her career. Tim was a star player for American University but didn’t get drafted. He enjoyed a stellar career overseas in four different countries.
Tim and Katie met and fell in love while coaching basketball at The Potomac School. They needed a wedding venue on short notice, so they asked St. Joseph’s Catholic School for a chance to use its gym. The school agreed on one condition: that nobody wear heels as they could damage the hardwood.
The couple rented the venue at $35 an hour and asked their guests to wear ‘athletic shoes’. Sporting white Nike Huaraches, they walked down the court, with the three-year-old Azzi, in little Huaraches, flinging flowers onto the guests.
Tim and Katie adopted Azzi’s brothers after Tim’s mother, their foster mom, died
Jose and Jon, Azzi’s brothers, joined the Fudd family when they were 2. As other foster children came and left, the brothers clung to Tim’s mother. They got acquainted with Tim, Katie, and Azzi when the family visited during the holidays.
Tim’s mother promised the couple that they would have Jose and Jon after her death. The brothers were five when Tim’s mother died of lung cancer. Jon and Jose fit seamlessly into Tim and Katie’s household. Katie told The Washington Post:
“I think they’re very adaptable. I haven’t met a lot of kids that were in the foster system, but I think you have to be resilient to survive that. They did a really good job when they got here, finding out how our lifestyle worked.”
Jose said he felt a sense of stability for the first time in his life: “They took us in, and you could tell they were going to do everything — they were going to go to the end of the world — to take care of us. We were sure we didn’t have to worry about having a new family.”
Azzi welcomed the brothers, having grown tired of being an only child. “It’s hard being away from [Jose and Jon], but whenever I go home, it’s nice to see him, to be annoyed by him and get his hugs,” Azzi told the outlet.
Azzi’s parents introduced their children to basketball
Katie and Tim named their daughter after WNBA legend Jennifer Azzi, the clearest indication that they wanted her to play basketball. Unfortunately, despite possessing the athleticism and talent for the game, Azzi didn’t want to play.
Azzi would have gone down as unrealized potential had she not developed hunger and love for the game. Jose helped by getting the introverted Azzi out of her shell, The Washington Post reports. “I’m so grateful to be able to call him my little brother,” Azzi stated.
Katie motivated Azzi by educating her about the struggles women’s basketball players endured during Katie’s playing days. “If you weren’t a men’s basketball player, you literally didn’t exist,” Katie told Bleacher Report. Women’s basketball players contended with less respect, gear, recognition, and TV time.
“That’s why this is really exciting for me,” Azzi said. “I want little girls to play basketball, not just from watching me but from seeing how fun it is. I want them to enjoy the sport as much as I do. I also want more people to respect it. A lot of people don’t respect it. It’s not just a men’s sport.”
“People around our family, they say if you can’t shoot, you’re not a Fudd,” Tim told The Washington Post. Everybody in the Fudd family plays or is involved in basketball. The parents are coaches, and the kids are stars in their respective programs.
Tim and Katie are happy that their children found their passions. Katie told The Washington Post:
“Sports teach you a lot about how to handle success and failure and how to have perseverance and all that stuff. It didn’t have to be basketball. It could have been any sport. But you have to find something you’re passionate about, and it’s got to be your passion.”