CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sunday’s Super Bowl is the thrill of a lifetime for the Canty family living in south Charlotte.
Chris Canty plays for the New York Giants and will be in his first Super Bowl. He played for Charlotte Latin High School before going to Virginia and then the NFL.
His family plans to leave Thursday for Indianapolis.
"Chris actually was smaller than me then,” said older brother Joseph Canty, looking at a picture of the two when they were kids at the family home in Ballantyne.
Now, Chris is a defensive tackle for the Giants, where the requirements are being big and strong.
"No more picking on him with a guy almost six foot eight and over 300 pounds. I can't bother him,” Joseph said.
Chris' path to the Super Bowl started as a kid playing outside with his brothers in The Bronx, New York. The Giants were his dad’s favorite team. Now his son plays for them. It’s a tremendous source of pride.
Canty’s parents also helped carve his path.
Dad Joseph Canty is a former pro basketball player who ran the state Support Our Students program under former Governor Jim Hunt.
Mother Shirley Canty is an ordained minister. Her message to Chris growing up was to have a dream but work at it, believe in education and values and always give back.
That's why Canty started the Chris Canty Foundation, using sports to help change the lives of children through sports, mentoring and educational programs.
"All he wants is for children to dream and be better,” Shirley Canty said.
Inside the family home, you'll find a sign which says shalom, or peace.
Joseph says it's what keeps Chris centered with the world watching this Sunday’s game.
Meanwhile, Chris isn’t talking much about the game.
"I talked to him Sunday night and he was excited about the game. It was surreal, but the biggest thing now is (he) want(ed) to be at peace and just focus,” Joseph said.
The family has celebration plans in mind.
"If the Giants win, yeah, I'm probably trying to get on the field with my brother,” Joseph said.
"When I tell you I will jump six to seven feet high in the air and say yes, life if good, it's coming from the depths of my belly,” Shirley Canty said.
That’s because Chris Canty is the fruits of their labor and they raised a man who happens to be a great athlete.
"He is enjoying the experience, but it's more about the journey and for me to see him complete that is tremendous,” said father Joe Canty.
Family and friends are planning a welcome home party after the Super Bowl.