Father of Brothers Who Went Head-To-Head in NCAA Final: ‘They Pulled the Best out of One Another’

When Nate Britt Senior arrived at Monday night’s NCAA final, he knew he was headed into what he calls “a win-win situation.” That’s because his son, Nate Britt Jr., and his adopted son, Kris Jenkins, were facing off for a national championship.

“You can’t lose when both of your kids are playing on opposing teams in the NCAA championship,” Nate Britt Sr., 51, tells PEOPLE.

After Kris Jenkins hit a jaw-dropping buzzer-beater that clinched Villanova University’s win over Britt Jr.’s team, the University North Carolina, Britt Sr. was in the unique position of having one son to congratulate and one to comfort.

Father of Brothers Who Went Head-To-Head in NCAA Final: 'They Pulled the Best out of One Another'| Sports, Real People Stories

Kris Jenkins and Nate Britt

Courtesy Nate Britt Sr.

“Kris won last night so he has bragging rights for the rest of his life,” Britt Sr. says. “But he still loves his brother and his brother still loves him. So outside of bragging rights, it stops right there.”

Britt Jr. and Jenkins have been competing on the court since they were 11 years old. It was on an AAU basketball team coached by Britt Sr. where the two young men developed a friendship that would turn into a brotherhood.

As Britt Sr. explains, Jenkins’ mother began traveling for work and asked if her son could remain with the Britt family at their home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland for a summer so he could keep playing with the team. Things went so well that “we sat down and discussed him moving in permanently and he’s been with us ever since,” he says.

Father of Brothers Who Went Head-To-Head in NCAA Final: 'They Pulled the Best out of One Another'| Sports, Real People Stories

Kris Jenkins (center) with the Britt family

Courtesy Nate Britt Sr.

The Britt family became Jenkins’ legal guardians in 2007. As Jenkins and Britt Jr.’s bond grew, so did their sense of friendly competition. Britt Sr. believes the two men’s “very competitive” relationship is precisely what drove them both to greatness. “At the end of the day, they pulled the best out of one another,” he says.

He adds that while this was a great driver, his sons had the unique ability to put any rivalry aside after the game was over.

“It was all about the game and when the game was over it was over and they were back to being best friends and brothers,” he explains.

Father of Brothers Who Went Head-To-Head in NCAA Final: 'They Pulled the Best out of One Another'| Sports, Real People Stories

Kris Jenkins with Nate and Natalya Britt

Courtesy Nate Britt Sr.

Britt Sr. believes this is exactly what will happen after Monday night’s big win. While Britt Jr. was “very disappointed,” Britt Sr. says he believes Jenkins was right there to provide some comfort.

“Them being the gentlemen there are there’s no doubt in my mind that Kris probably said some comforting words to him,” he says. “But, at the same time, he probably also reminded Nate that he won.”

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