May 27, 2024
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The Pillars of Big Grits: Eric Montross’s Parents

While Eric Montross, the “Bloody Montross” of the NBA courts, etched his name in basketball history, it was his parents,Robert and Barbara Montross, who laid the foundation for his towering talents and even higher character. 

These pillars of quiet support and steadfast values shaped Eric into the gentle giant, both on and off the court.

Robert, a high school math teacher and basketball coach, planted the seeds of athleticism early. He nurtured Eric’s love for the game, not just through drills and plays, but through a focus on sportsmanship and teamwork. 

Barbara, a tireless community volunteer, instilled in Eric a profound empathy and a dedication to giving back. Their home, filled with laughter and a constant stream of friends and neighbors, became a beacon of warmth and inclusivity, foreshadowing Eric’s future advocacy for children’s hospitals.

Beyond the court, Robert and Barbara encouraged Eric’s academic pursuits. They instilled in him a love of learning and a respect for education, values that led him to become a UNC graduate and later, a champion for literacy programs. 

His parents instilled in him a firm moral compass, guiding him through the rough terrain of professional sports, where fame and fortune could easily overshadow core values.

Their influence became most evident in Eric’s reaction to a career-defining injury that shattered his kneecap. 

While others might have succumbed to despair, Eric, fueled by his parents’ unwavering faith and his own inner strength, embarked on a grueling rehabilitation that brought him back to the court.

Robert and Barbara were his constant cornerstones, offering emotional support and logistical help, their belief in him never wavering.

Though they remained largely out of the limelight, Robert and Barbara Montross played a critical role in shaping Eric’s legacy. They fostered his athletic prowess, nurtured his compassion, and guided his moral compass. In doing so, they created not just a basketball star, but a kind-hearted soul and a dedicated philanthropist, whose impact resonated far beyond the final buzzer. 

Eric Montross may have been “Big Grits” on the court, but it was his parents who provided the fertile ground in which those grits were grown, nourished, and shaped into the legend he became.



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