By Ian Begley

David Carter doesn’t have any big Father’s Day plans.

He may go to a neighborhood barbecue with his two young sons. Or he may hang out at home with his boys.

Where he spends the day is of little consequence, though. That he’s spending time with his sons is what matters most.

“They’re my heart,” he said. “It’s going to be a great day.”

By his count, Carter has spent too many days in the past three years separated from his boys. Due in part to a domestic violence incident, he and his longtime girlfriend, Desire Purdy, lost custody of their sons, Desmond and Demitrie, in 2009.

Carter has spent the majority of his time since trying to regain full custody by showing the court system and the New York City Administration for Child Services that he has learned how to be a better father.

“I never said, ‘They took my children and they’re just lost in the system,'” Carter said. “I always said, ‘They took my children and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get them back.'”

Carter has attended court-ordered courses for domestic violence, anger management and parenting skills since he lost custody. He said each course has taught him different ways to improve as a father.

But the entity that may have benefited him the most is a fatherhood program founded by former Knicks star Allan Houston.

Houston, who serves as an assistant GM for the Knicks, heads a foundation in his own name that sponsors a “Father Knows Best” program. Carter and his sons participated in Houston’s weekend programs during a seven-week period in the spring.

The program, centered around basketball, stresses integrity, sacrifice and leadership to its fathers and sons; it was a message that sunk in quickly for Carter.

“During the sessions, I learned how to talk to my sons without aggression, but with meaning — and it works,” Carter said. “I used to talk out of anger to my sons; now I do it out of unity.”

Read the full article by Ian Begley on espn.com.