Guy Fieri Recalls Emotional Moment with Son Ryder After He Lost His Final Basketball Game: ‘Really Beautiful’

Fieri tells PEOPLE he was proud of son Ryder, 18, for letting his "emotions out" after a hard loss

<p>Tim Nwachukwu/Getty</p> Guy Fieri and son Ryder in 2023.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty

Guy Fieri and son Ryder in 2023.

Guy Fieri is encouraging his sons to show their emotions.

Guy is dad to Hunter, 27, and Ryder, 18, and he also helped raise his late sister Morgan's son Jules, 24, since her death in 2011. Though his spiky hair and leather outfits give a tough-guy look, Guy and his wife Lori, are making sure the young men have a sensitive side.

Ryder, a senior in high school, recently "got put to the test" after his basketball team finished their last game, says Guy.

"They lost their final game by one point on a very controversial call," Guy tells PEOPLE while promoting his upcoming appearances at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Feb. 22-26. "I've never seen Ryder that upset."

Related: Guy Fieri Talks Son Hunter's Wedding Plans: 'It's Going to Be Star-Studded' (Exclusive)

But a difficult moment for the athlete turned into a great father-son moment.

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Guy Fieri with son Ryder at the NBA All-Star Game in February.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Guy Fieri with son Ryder at the NBA All-Star Game in February.

"The great thing was, I said, 'The fact that you are willing to let your emotions out and be willing to feel this and not just bury it or blame other people...,'" recalls the Tournament of Champions host. "I said, 'This is one of the biggest rights of manhood that I'm seeing out of you.'"

Guy and Ryder spent "a couple hours" talking about his experience and emotions. "It was really beautiful. It was really the neatest thing," adds Guy.

Now that the basketball season is over for Ryder, Guy gave him two options to occupy his time during his last three months of high school. "He can either go play lacrosse, which he's never played, or he can get a job," he says.

Related: Guy Fieri Says He Plans to 'Die Broke' and Leave His Kids Nothing Unless They Get 'Two Degrees'

Ryder chose the former. "I've told him forever he's going to be great at lacrosse because he's super fast. He's really a great athlete," says Guy, always the proud dad. "So he went out for varsity lacrosse and made the team. I think he starts."

"I told him, 'Don't even say that it's awesome because I've been telling you forever you need to play lacrosse!'" he jokes. "He's having a blast with it."

<p>Denise Truscello/Getty</p> Guy Fieri with son Hunter.

Denise Truscello/Getty

Guy Fieri with son Hunter.

Once Ryder graduates high school, he will head to college — he's been accepted to a handful of universities but hasn't committed to one yet, says Guy.

"He thinks he wants to be in sports marketing or something like that," adds the chef. "He's not hungry for anything yet, which is fine. I mean there's plenty of time to do it."

Plus, he'll have two college opportunities to figure it out. "He also knows that he has to give me post-graduate," says Guy, who previously revealed that he does not plan on giving his sons his money without them getting two degrees.

<p>Mindy Small/Getty</p> Guy Fieri and Lori Fieri at Super Bowl 2024.

Mindy Small/Getty

Guy Fieri and Lori Fieri at Super Bowl 2024.

Hunter is in an MBA program at the University of Miami, and Jules is in the law program at Loyola Marymount.

Shaq said it best," Guy told Fox News. "Shaq said, ‘If you want this cheese, you got to get two degrees.'"

Tournament of Champions airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/ PT on Food Network and discovery+.

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