Truth behind story of Juan Dixon’s parents comes to light in new special

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Juan Dixon was one of those quintessential March stories, one that was just too good not to get beaten to death during the NCAA tournament.

Both of Dixon’s parents died when he was in high school. They were heroin addicts, and their deaths were a result of the complications that come with having AIDS. Even when Juan’s parents were still alive, he was, as the story went, raised by his older brother.

Juan made it out of Baltimore, he made it to the University of Maryland, he won a national title and he got himself into the NBA.

It really is a survivor story, but it’s not entirely accurate.

Juan Dixon’s father didn’t die when he was 17. Juan Dixon’s father, as it turns out, is an ex-boyfriend of Juanita Dixon named Bruce Flanigan. And while Flanigan always suspected that Juan was his son, particularly when he watched him play for the Terps, he kept that quiet until Bruce’s mother let it slip.

Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel sat down with Juan Dixon, Bruce Flanigan and the Dixon family to tell the story of their unlikely, and frankly overdue, reunion, and how a story that we all took as gospel for 15 years got turned on its head. (Airs Tuesday at 10 pm on HBO.)