Julius Randle was a guest of honor at Thursday’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade — flanked by his wife, Kendra, his son, Kyden, and the tattoo of his son.
One of two married Knicks (Wayne Ellington is the other), Randle, 25, never had a tattoo before June. Now he’s a got a huge one on his right arm of his favorite guy. It was such a success, he got inked up a few more times after that.
“It was my first one,’’ Randle told The Post. “I was seeing a lot of Instagrams, always had really liked tattoos, never found time to get one. I was seeing really good face portraits. I wanted my son tattooed on me. It’s my favorite tattoo for sure.’’
Kyden turns 3 on Dec. 23.
“He knows,’’ Randle said. “He’ll look at my arm and say ‘That’s Kyden.’ Or I’ll be playing with him and I’ll say: Who’s this? And he’ll say ‘That’s me! That’s me!’ He knows it’s him and loves it, man.’’
As an NBA player, Randle went the unconventional route — getting married to his college sweetheart, Kendra, at the young age of 22. As the Knicks go through turbulent times in Randle’s first season here, family could be paramount in staying the course for the lefty-scoring big man.
Randle met Kendra, a former Miss Kentucky beauty pageant contestant, at a party during summer school entering his freshman year at Kentucky. Randle never envisioned he’d be off the market as a teenager, never believed in love at first sight. He’s just thankful it happened that way.
“You never really plan when you’re going to get married,’’ Randle told The Post on Thanksgiving Eve. “It was more about the individual. My wife was the perfect individual for me. I didn’t see any point in waiting. She was the person I knew I wanted to be with — young or not. It didn’t matter what part of my life I met her — I knew I wanted to marry her. But we were together four years before we got married anyway. ‘’
Knicks coach David Fizdale knows Randle’s family-man status makes him different from most players.
Randle knows family is so important during these losing times (the Knicks are 4-14).
Late Wednesday night in Toronto, after his long lecture to the team following the Toronto drubbing, Fizdale huddled with his wife, Natasha, and mother-in-law in the bowels of the arena.
Natasha and Kendra have grown close and have done charity events together.
“[Kendra] means everything to [Randle],’’ Fizdale told The Post. “He’s really committed to having a great family. It’s really important. We talk a lot about it with each other. That’s his No. 1 thing, taking care of his wife and kid.
“It’s good to see a kid that young be that mature about being a husband and father,’’ Fizdale added.
Earlier this season, during one of his slumps, Randle was asked by The Post about feeling extra pressure after signing a $63 million contract. The 2014 Lakers lottery pick smiled.
“I don’t feel pressure, man,’’ Randle said. “It’s basketball. If I’m doing it to the best of my ability, it’s enough. Pressure is raising my son [Kyden]. That’s more of a task than this.”
Asked why he feels such a burden, Randle explained later, “I know a kid in the digital world of today’s society, it’s a lot going on. Technology is getting more advanced and moving faster than when I was a kid. That’s the pressure, but it’s the fun part — to mold an individual and be an example for him.’’
Devoted husband is not just a cliché regarding Randle. In a Los Angeles Times piece in 2018, it was reported former Lakers teammate Nick Young gave a toast at his wedding, saying he’d never seen a rookie so much in love with his girlfriend.
“There were times when me and Jordan [Clarkson] were trying to take him to a strip club,” Young said in his speech. “And he wouldn’t go.”
Randle has not specifically sought to be a solid role model for young NBA fans. He’s just living the way he was raised by his single mother, Kyles, in Dallas.
“It is part of the job but I don’t look at it like that,’’ Randle said. “I Iook at it as being myself. I’ve been in the young guys’ position, looking up at guys like Kobe [Bryant]. I don’t necessary look at it as role model but just being true to myself.” And how I was raised, how my mom raised me. My values are being a dad and a husband and a God-fearing man. Hopefully that’s a light onto other people.’’
Randle and his sister were raised modestly by their mother, who worked as a mattress salesperson. She was able to give her son $50 a week in allowance to spend on snacks and kid stuff.
As the story goes, he saved almost every penny. Randle’s mother discovered a shoe box under his bed filled with $800. Randle explained to his mom he saved it in case of a family emergency.
“He was such a sweet son,” Kyles, who is in town for Thanksgiving, said in a 2018 interview. “You hear these horror stories sometimes even from two-parent homes, and I said God blessed me.”
Kendra meanwhile, was all for the move from New Orleans to New York, according to Randle. They staged a back-to-school event at Harlem’s Rucker Park in August, giving away free backpacks and supplies.
Kendra nearly attended FIT in Manhattan and now is starting her own fashion line. “She loves New York,’’ Randle said.
Randle was excited to go the parade so that his family can experience their first New York Thanksgiving with panache. Kendra is huge on doing big things on holidays, Randle said.
And Kaden is finally figuring out his father’s occupation.
“He knows that’s what Dad does,’’ Randle said. “He knows before we left to come here [to Toronto], I said ‘Daddy has to go to work.’ He’s gotten to the age he understands and gives me a kiss goodbye. He knows during the day I leave, I’m going to Madison Square Garden. He asks if he can go to work with me. He loves basketball. Anytime I come home he wants to play basketball. It’s been fun.’’
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