“Before games I don’t really even talk to [Arike] but she has to call me,” Yolanda said. “Even when she’s mad at me. She just has to call and then ok, click, bye.”
Much like her superstitions though, Yolanda, along with Dare and Arike’s father Gregory, made sure to instill sports in their children right from the start.
“We had them playing sports at a very young age,” Yolanda said. “They started playing soccer first [before basketball]. Dare was playing football. Arike played flag football. We still had her in ballet, tumbling and tap, too, you know what I mean? On one Saturday, she went from a tutu to a football to a soccer ball all in one day.”
That well-roundedness has helped Arike to become one of the most notable faces in women’s basketball. After Notre Dame won the NCAA tournament last year, Arike was introduced to her idol, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, on Ellen and was also a participant on ABC’s hit TV show Dancing with the Stars. This was all as a current college student as she finished up her junior year. To most of the world, it’s probably fair to say Dare is Arike’s brother, not the other way around.
But to Arike, the Bucs’ running back will always just be her older sibling. And to her, that means the guy she leans on for everything. It’s been that way since they were little, with Dare helping to show Arike the ropes in sports, especially. He looked out for her but at the same time, was never one for excuses – not that Arike ever tried. Starting in the backyard and in the basement of their childhood home in Milwaukee, Arike was always playing with her two older brothers and cousins, all of which were boys.
“They’re all in the backyard battling and she’s the only girl out there,” Yolanda recalled.
You could probably say Arike’s must-win attitude stems from from the chip on her shoulder of being the only girl in those times. She made a point to always try to outdo her older brother, especially. They weren’t without a healthy dose of sibling rivalry, after all. But their relationship had already developed to go beyond the brother-sister bickering. Whatever Dare did, so did Arike, and he was a more than willing coach.
At one point, their parents bought Dare Cristiano Ronaldo’s Play Like ChampionsDVD, from which he taught himself every trick. He then passed them all on to Arike, spending hours in the basement with her perfecting each one. His father credits sports with why Dare and Arike became such good friends. Dare was able to give Arike a preview of what to expect, being three years her senior. Now that they are both at the highest levels of their respective sports, he’s her biggest supporter.
“I go to him with really everything, before a game, after a game,” Arike said of her big brother. “I talk to him every day about everything. He’s my best friend. It’s definitely good to have him go through everything he goes through and he’s super smart. He knows a lot of things outside of sports; life situations, basketball, anything. It’s definitely good to have him in my life.”
Long gone are the days when both parents used to coach their children. Yolanda was Arike’s basketball coach in the beginning and Gregory coached them in soccer. But their children’s abilities have far surpassed their own these days. The role of critic and challenger now belongs to Dare.
“He can analyze the game and tell her, ok this is what I see, this is what the other team is doing,” Gregory said. “I can say all I want to say to her about it [waves hand dismissively]. If Dare says it, then it’s bible.”
“I think as they got older, that’s when Arike really started listening to him and his opinions and really going with what he says,” Yolanda added. “I think she really saw that as she got older and as she was able to capitalize on it.”
“Our job now is to say, hey, have a good game,” Gregory concludes. “Like I’ll say, ‘Dare, did you talk to your sister?’ He’ll say yeah and I’ll be like good, ok.”