Tell us more about you? Who is Wesley Acuff?
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. The oldest of 3. I am a husband and father. I married my high school sweetheart, and we have a brilliant, talented four-year-old son. I belong to the greatest fraternity in the world, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. I enjoy NBA Basketball, Video Games, Collecting Basketball Cards and Cooking.
Since joining the Hawks Talon GC as the coach in 2018, how would you describe being a coach in the 2k League?
It’s an amazing experience. I get to be an expert in a video game that I love and enjoy playing. It’s an interesting situation. We’re playing a game that we all love, but it’s not just a video game, we get all the ups and downs of a traditional sport. The wins, the losses, the competitiveness, rivalries. It’s really a lot of fun.
What’s been your favorite moment in your coaching career so far?
My favorite moment in my coaching career was easily my first regular season win of my career. We were playing the Celtics, a game that no one thought we had a chance in except us. Labeled as the underdog in that matchup, and we were able to pull off a convincing win.
If you had to say, what’s the difference between coaching in your league and in the actual NBA?
Well, I’ve never coached a game in the actual NBA of course, but I imagine the pressure and expectations would be a main difference. They play on a much larger stage in front of larger crowds and with bigger name athletes, so I imagine there’s a lot more pressure that goes along with that.
If you could take one player in the NBA and put him on your team, who would it be and why?
Well, there’s no doubt about it if you have to choose any player. It is LeBron James easy. His skillset, athleticism and IQ is something I’d definitely want to build a team around.
Who is Wesley as a father?
My little man is my world. I’m a father, best friend, teacher, protector and provider. Whatever he needs me to be. I always say fatherhood is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had. I’m the dad who probably will annoy all the other parents at the extracurricular activities. If my son decides to play sports, I’ll have on his jersey and be the loudest one in the crowd. If he decides to paint or play music, I’ll be his biggest promoter. If he decides to play video games, I’ll build him the best gaming station anybody has ever seen. Whatever he chooses to do, he’ll have my support 1000 percent. I’m the overdoer, the dad who does too much, but that’s just me, and I love it.
Do you find yourself also being a father figure to the players you coach? If so, in what ways.
Sometimes, you have younger players who need some life guidance. As a coach, I try to mentor and help where needed, teaching life skills, such as cooking, travel plans, professionalism, etc. I try to provide insight that can be beneficial to them when I can.
What was your relationship with your father growing up and how did that impact you?
My father and I were tight. We still are. My dad was big into sports and was a gym rat. I spent a lot of time under him in the gym watching pickup basketball games and finally when I was older playing as well. He was always there and showed me what it means to be a man and how to protect and lead a family.
Back in the day, parents used to get mad at kids for playing the game “too much”, how do you feel like the dynamics are these days when it comes to kids on video games and do you think it’s a good or bad thing?
I think the narrative is starting to shift. People are starting to pay more attention to the gaming industry and starting to understand that video games provide opportunities for various career paths, so I think it’s a good thing.
As a father, have you or will you empower your kids when it comes to video games being that it’s a field that you work in?
I’ve already built my son his own gaming station in my office. Right behind my setup, he has his own small gaming chair, mounted monitor, Wii, Sega Genesis, and Nintendo. Your kids usually want to do what they see you doing, and in my case, gaming is life, so he has his own setup as well, so he can keep up.
How do you juggle being a coach while also trying to be the best dad you can be?
Well, it’s hard during the season because under normal circumstances we travel a lot. Practice hours are long, and it can get hard. What I try to do as a father is push myself to the limit. Being a husband and father are my two most important jobs, so whether I’m tired after a long practice or a flight or whatever, I kick it into an extra gear and make sure I still put that time in. Also, the biggest benefit to being a coach of a professional team is the offseason. That helps a lot. When the season ends, and you get to disconnect for a while and catchup with your family, that balance is what makes it work.
If you could write a short letter to your father starting with “Dear Father”, what would you say?
I appreciate you. For everything that I know you’ve done for me and the unknown. Thanks for showing me how to be a man, a protector, a provider, and a father. Thank you.
What’s next for you and how can people find you on social media?
I’m really enjoying the now, but I’m a creator at heart. I’m working on writing some television series and feature films at the moment, so hopefully, you’ll see one of those on your big screen or TV soon. I also have a cooking show called Cooking with Coach.