Mavericks' Dereck Lively II Pays Tribute to Late Mother After Game 6 Win

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Center Dereck Lively II has been everything the Dallas Mavericks envisioned when they acquired him in a draft-day trade in 2023. He averaged 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds across 55 games this regular season, finishing sixth in the voting for Rookie of the Year.

However, the season has not come without trials and tribulations for the Duke product. Lively endured tragedy near the end of the regular season when his mother, Kathy Drysdale, died of cancer on April 12 at the age of 53.

"My heart breaks saying goodbye to the most important person in the world to me, my superhero, my biggest cheerleader and mom, Kathy Drysdale. There is no one in this world that can love you more than your mother," Lively wrote upon her death.

On Saturday, Lively posted a line of 12 points and 15 rebounds as the Mavericks topped the Oklahoma City Thunder, 117–116, in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal series. The win sent Dallas to the Western Conference finals, and Lively immediately paid tribute to Drysdale on his Instagram story.

"Love u momma. Miss u momma. Just sit back n watch," Lively wrote.

The Mavericks will learn their next opponent Sunday when the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves meet in Game 7 to decide their series. No matter Dallas's fate in the next round, it seems certain that Drysdale will remain an inspiration to Lively and his teammates.

Patrick Andres


Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.