WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tahki Chievous gets to live a young boy's dream on a regular basis: He gets to travel with his favorite college basketball team.
“They’re fun,” Tahki said. “It’s great to travel with the team.”
Tahki, who is 7 years old, traveled with the Missouri men's basketball team to Washington, D.C., for the Tigers' first-round game Thursday against the Cincinnati Bearcats. He went to the game wearing a white Mizzou basketball jersey, as well as a backwards hat with a Tiger on the side of it.
“He just likes to be on the bus and sit with all of the guys,” his mother, Tami Chievous, said. “(Missouri junior guard) Marcus (Denmon) always calls Tahki his little brother.”
Tahki, who sat in the front row of the Verizon Center, couldn’t have been happier when Denmon scored in the early going of the game. With Missouri holding a 6-2 lead, Denmon caught the ball, stepped back from beyond the arc and launched a successful 3-point shot. Cincinnati called a timeout and Tahki jumped right out of his seat, threw both arms up and began dancing and spinning in circles.
The Chievous family arrived Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Since then, in addition to spending some time with the team, they have gone to the White House, Arlington National Cemetery and the zoo.
In addition to his mother, who is academic coordinator for the Tigers' basketball teams, Tahki has another connection to the Missouri men’s basketball program.
His father, Derrick Chievous, is the all-time leading scorer for the Tigers with 2,580 points. He led the Big Eight Conference in scoring as both a junior and senior, was a Freshman All-American in 1985 and a consensus second-team All-American in 1987. He was drafted in the first round of the 1988 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets and also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This marks the third straight year that Tahki has traveled with the team to the NCAA Tournament.
“The best trip was when we went to Phoenix,” Tahki said. “Marcus shot that half-court shot and he became a star after that.”
Meanwhile, Tahki's younger sister, 4-year-old Malia, made her first trip with the team.
“I make my kids wait until they’re 4 before they go on this trip,” Tami Chievous said.
But despite it being her first trip, Malia still knew exactly when to cheer and what cheers to do, clapping her hands and bobbing her head while the Missouri band played the fight song.
Derrick Chievous couldn’t make the trip to Washington, D.C., because he was back in Columbia taking care of his 2-year-old son, Aven.