Basketball & Race, NBA, NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors

What is Fred VanVleet’s race and background?

Even though Fred VanVleet has been a valuable bench player for the Toronto Raptors throughout the season, the compact guard really made a  himself much more visible in the 2019 NBA Playoffs — particularly the NBA Finals. He’s been so big on the big stage that he’s being called a “Playoff God” by The Ringer. We don’t know about that, but he’s certainly raised his game in the postseason and broke out as the player ready to take on a bigger spotlight.

It all began with his big performance in the fourth game of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. Through that game and all the way through the closeout sixth game, VanVleet went off and shot 14-for-17 from 3-point land. VanVleet owed his performance to the birth of his son, whom was born between games three and four of the conference finals.

“I guess, zero sleep, have a lot of babies and go out there and let loose,” VanVleet said. “It’s been a frantic week, but that’s what makes all this stuff worth it.”

What is Fred VanVleet’s Race and Background?

With all the renewed interest and national exposure, there’s a lot of things that the public wants to know about VanVleet. One of those questions come from visceral curiosity as we watch VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors on the biggest stage — a first for the Franchise — the NBA Finals.  There’s a huge swath of the population in the  United States and Canada (and elsewhere) that wonder whether Fred VanVleet is African American? And if not, what is his ethnicity?

Toronto Raptors ‘We the North’ merchandise for the 2019 NBA Finals

To get to an answer on that, let’s look at Fred’s family. Specifically, his parents. His mother Sue VanVleet has blonde hair and appears to be Caucasian. Sue is currently married to Joe Danforth (in the above image), whom isn’t Fred’s biological father. VanVleet’s father Frederick Manning died after being shot when VanVleet was just five years old.

Although we weren’t able to confirm that Fred Manning was African American nor find any images of VanVleet’s biological father, we think it’s clear that Fred is of mixed race.

Under his step-father’s tutelage and strict rules as well as his mother’s hard work, VanVleet became the player he is today. “There are a lot of kids walking around with that talent, but to bring it out of (Fred),” former Guilford high school star Ed Jones told the Journal Standard. “That’s what Joe and Sue have done. They brought it out of him.”

To read about VanVleet’s upbringing in Rockford, Illinois and how he became one of the rising stars in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, read his story at

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