Greatest Sports Families of All Time
The only thing better than an athlete is an athletic family.
Two-generation sports families are bemoaned at times because no one likes nepotism, but these families reached the heights they did based on merit. Every one of these athletes belonged.
Here are the 25 best parent-child athletes in sports history.
Dell/Steph and Seth Curry
Steph Curry’s meteoric rise as basketball’s best shooter has left many to forget that his dad was no slouch himself. Dell Curry carved out a 1,083-game NBA career, shooting 46 percent on field goals and 40 percent on 3-pointers in 15 seasons with the Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.
Steph, a three-time NBA champion, two-time MVP and six-time All-Star, has also covered his brother, Seth Curry’s, own NBA career. Although Seth has been something of a journeyman, he is beginning to find his niche as a role player with the Portland Trail Blazers.
John Wooden’s UCLA teams were notable for their All-World big men, but Henry Bibby was the point guard for three national championship teams before he went onto a solid NBA playing and assistant coaching career. He also was the coach of three NCAA Tournament teams at USC.
Mike Bibby certainly had a more noteworthy basketball career, though without the same team success his father did. Mike, also a point guard, did win an NCAA championship with the University of Arizona in 1997, but he and the Sacramento Kings could never get past the Los Angeles Lakers, particularly in 2002 when Bibby, Chris Webber and company fell to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in seven games.
LaVar/Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball
The Balls have dropped in on the pro-sports landscape like an atom bomb, but it’s easy to forget that, before Lavar Ball was the CEO of Big Baller Brand, he was a dual-sport athlete in college and a professional football player.
But Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo have been hyped as legitimate basketball prospects, though they haven’t necessarily lived up to their fame just yet. In two seasons with the Lakers, Lonzo has enjoyed modest success; LiAngelo is more famous for international shoplifting than anything he’s done on the floor; and LaMelo has toggled between high school and semi-pro basketball, albeit with rousing on-court success.
Rick/Jon, Drew and Brent Barry
Rick Barry is one of the greatest players in NBA history, as his 1987 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement suggests, but his sons were no slouches either.
Brent was a two-time NBA champion and former slam-dunk champion during his 14-season career. Jon Barry also played 14 seasons, and his brother Drew carved out a 60-game NBA career.
Bill Walton was one of the greatest college basketball players of all time, winning three College Player of the Year awards and two national championships at UCLA. Unfortunately, Bill’s pro career was shortened due to injury, as Luke Walton actually played in more NBA games than his famous dad.
Still, both Waltons were resourceful enough to carve out post-playing careers. Bill has become one of the most entertaining television commentators, and Luke is an accomplished NBA coach, who was on the bench as an assistant for the 2015 champion Golden State Warriors.
Seth Jones is one of the brightest young stars in the NHL, and it’s safe to say he got his stellar athletic genes from his dad.
Popeye enjoyed a 535-game NBA career with six teams, though Seth has already accomplished a feat his father never did: making an All-Star team.
Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr.
Perhaps the most celebrated father-son duos in baseball history, the Griffeys made sports history when they homered back-to-back as members of the Seattle Mariners in 1990. Junior became known as such since his high-profile dad was known around MLB circles as a member of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati, but he quickly became one of the most celebrated athletes during his time in Seattle.
Junior blasted 670 home runs in his 22-season MLB career, won the AL MVP in 1998 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, earning bragging rights as baseball’s best Ken Griffey.
Cal Ripken Sr./Cal Jr. and Billy
Cal Ripken is the pride of Maryland, but he probably learned a lot about baseball from his father, Cal Sr. While Cal Sr. only managed 169 games, he was a fixture in the Orioles organization for more than 30 years, including 13 seasons as a manager in Baltimore’s minor-league system.
Cal Sr. paved the road for Junior, who became the greatest player in Orioles franchise history. His 2,632-game Ironman streak will likely never be broken. He was a 19-time All-Star, two-time AL MVP and won the World Series, alongside his dad, in 1983. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Vladimir Guerrero/Vladimir Jr.
Vlad was one of the most feared hitters of his day, with 2,590 hits and 449 homers and the 2004 AL MVP award in his 16-season MLB career.
But his son, Vlad Jr., could actually be better, entering the 2019 season as the consensus top prospect in baseball, and Toronto Blue Jays fans are just waiting for him to join their beloved club at some point this season.
Barry Bonds is perhaps the greatest player in MLB history, but he had exceptional pedigree when he entered the league with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986.
His father, Bobby Bonds, was a three-time Gold Glove winner in his 14-season MLB career, and Willie Mays is actually Barry’s godfather, so he grew up in baseball clubhouses. Then, Barry lit the baseball world on fire with an MLB-record seven MVP awards, 762 home runs along with 14 All-Star Game appearances and eight Gold Glove awards.
Ray/Bob/Bret and Aaron Boone
The Boones are one of sports rare three-generation sports families, starting with Ray, who played 1,373 games in 13 Major League seasons. He spawned Bob Boone, who became one of the best defensive catchers of his day, a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, four-time All-Star and 1980 World Series champ with the Philadelphia Phillies.
When Bret Boone made the Majors in 1992, he made the Boones baseball’s first three-generation families. Brett was a three-time All-Star, and his brother Aaron also reached an All-Star team in 2003. Aaron takes more after Bob, though, since, like his dad, he also became a Major League manager after his playing days were done.
Prince Fielder burst on the scene during an appearance on MTV’s "Rock N’ Jock Softball." His dad, Cecil, was renowned as one of baseball’s biggest, literally and figurative, stars, and Prince and Cecil are the only father-son duo to hit 50 home runs in a Major League season.
The Fielders also share 121st place on the MLB home run list, finishing with 319 big-league blasts.
Felipe was one of three Alou brothers to reach the Major Leagues, and he had the best pro-baseball career by hitting .286 with 206 career home runs in 17 MLB seasons. But Felipe was also an incredible manager with the Montreal Expos and San Francisco Giants and managed his son Moises in Montreal.
Moises batted .303 with 332 homers and was a six-time All-Star while also playing 17 Major League seasons.
Randy Hundley was a light-hitting, defensive catcher for many years for the Chicago Cubs. His son, Todd, was the exact opposite.
Todd was a switch-hitter and set a then-Major League record by slugging 41 home runs in 1996 as a catcher for the New York Mets. He was an NL All-Star for that season and 1997 but was hampered by a catastrophic elbow injury that damaged his career. With 202 career home runs, Todd still is 18th all-time among catchers and 120 more than his dad.
Dale Earnhardt/Dale Jr.
Dale Earnhardt was as fearless and beloved a NASCAR driver as there ever was, prompting legions of fans to gravitate toward him. He won 76 races, seven Winston Cup championships, and the fact that he died while racing at the Daytona 500 in 2001 almost adds to his mystique and legend.
But Dale Jr. carried on the family name admirably, twice winning at Daytona — one more time than his famous father — and was the 15-time winner of the series most popular driver award.
The Pettys are the first family of NASCAR, with patriarch Lee Petty claiming 54 wins in his NASCAR career, including victory in the first Daytona 500 in 1959. But Richard Petty really helped put the sport on the map, earning the nickname “The King” with a record seven wins in Daytona and seven Winston Cup series championships.
The less-famous Kyle Petty, Richard’s son, also claimed eight race victories in his nearly 30-year NASCAR career.
Howie/Chris and Kyle Long
Howie Long was one of the toughest defensive players of his era, making eight Pro Bowls, winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and was a part of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders in 1983.
Chris takes after his famous dad in that he is also a fearless defender and a two-time Super Bowl champ, winning Super Bowl LI with the New England Patriots, then defeating the Patriots as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. Kyle Long plays on the opposite side of the ball as an offensive lineman but is no slouch either. He made the Pro Bowl three times in his seven-season NFL career with the Chicago Bears.
Clay Jr./Clay III and Casey Matthews
One could say Clay Matthews was one of the fiercest linebackers of his day, and it would be true.
Clay Jr. was a four-time Pro Bowler who finished with more than 1,500 tackles and 69.5 sacks in his remarkable 19-season NFL career. Clay III has done his dad even better by making six Pro Bowls and winning the Super Bowl as part of the Green Bay Packers championship team. Clay’s brother Casey also reached the NFL, playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Add Clay Jr.’s Hall of Fame brother, Bruce, who made 14 Pro Bowls as a member of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. He also had two sons who reached the NFL, making this truly one of the best football families.
Archie/Peyton and Eli Manning
Peyton Manning is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he and his brother, Eli, each have two Super Bowl rings to his name. But where would the Manning boys be without patriarch Archie blazing the trail?
Like Eli, Archie enjoyed an accomplished career at Ole Miss, but unfortunately, he never had the NFL luck of his sons.
Bill Belichick is one of the greatest football coaches ever, but he wasn’t the first coach in his family.
His father, Steve, was a dual-sport coach at Ohio’s Hiram College, instructing football and basketball there. But he later became renowned as a scout at the Naval Academy after writing “Football Scouting Methods,” which is considered the standard for scouts.
Bill has been on the staff of eight Super Bowl champion teams with the New York Giants and New England Patriots, setting an NFL record with six as a head coach.
Buddy/Rex and Rob Ryan
Rex and Rob Ryan each had to learn brashness from somewhere, and few people were more comfortable in their own skin than their dad, Buddy Ryan. As defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, Buddy created the 46 defense, which buoyed Chicago to an 18-1 season capped by a dominant 46-10 win in Super Bowl XX.
Remarkably, Rex and Rob followed in their dad’s defensive-mindedness, but neither Rex nor Buddy could master NFL head coaching, as they each failed to win more games than they lost despite entertaining and controversial sideline tours.
Muhammad Ali may have been The Greatest, but his daughter Laila was pretty great, too.
Laila won all 24 of her career bouts, including 21 by knockout, and held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA super-middleweight titles. Still, her dad Muhammad was 56-5 with 37 victories by knockout, first jumping on the scene with a gold medal in boxing at the 1960 Rome Olympics and, then four years later, with a stunning knockout of Sonny Liston.
Gordie Howe’s NHL career is iconic, with six Hart and Art Ross Trophy wins, four Stanley Cup championships, 801 NHL goals and serving as the only player to play in the league in five different decades.
But his son Mark also had Hall of Fame credentials with the Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. Playing as a defenseman in the rip-roaring 1980s, Mark first played with his dad and brother, Marty, in Hartford before breaking out during his 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He finished as Norris Trophy runner up three times, behind fellow Hall of Fame defensemen Rod Langway, Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey. He never won the Cup but was one of the finest skaters in his day.
The Howes are considered hockey’s first family, but the Hulls are perhaps the NHL’s best father-son duo. Like Gordie and Mark Howe, Bobby and Brett Hull are each in the Hockey Hall of Fame, with Bobby scoring 610 NHL goals with the Chicago Black Hawks and Hartford Whalers.
Brett somehow surpassed his Hall of Fame dad by scoring 741 career goals, including the controversial Cup clincher for the Dallas Stars in triple overtime against the Buffalo Sabres in 1999.
Tie Domi was widely known as an agitator during his 1,020-game NHL career. He only scored 104 goals and racked up 3,515 penalty minutes, but his son Max is far more skilled.
In nearly 1,000 fewer games, Max is already more than halfway to Tie’s final NHL point total (245).
AnnMaria De Mars/Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey has roused fans with her fearlessness and impressive fighting prowess, but she probably picked up a lesson or two from her mom, AnnMaria De Mars.
De Mars was the first American to win gold at the World Judo Championships when she did so in 1984. She is also a seventh-degree black belt, which makes you wonder who actually is the toughest member of the family.
Coco Vandeweghe is one of the best American tennis players, earning more than $7 million in prize money. But she got her successful athletic genes from her mom, Tauna, a swimmer who once participated in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Add Tauna’s brother, Kiki, who enjoyed a lengthy NBA career, and you have one exceptional family of athletes.
Anna Kotchneva, Valeri/Nastia Liukin
Nastia Liukin is one of the greatest gymnasts in Olympic history, with five Olympic medals to her name. But she gained some pedigree from her famous parents, Anna Kotchneva and Valeri Liukin, each of whom were exceptional Soviet gymnasts.
Valeri won four medals, two gold and two silver, during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and although she never qualified for the Olympics, Kotchneva won the gold medal in clubs at the 1987 Varma world championships.
Sandy/Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr.
Sandy Alomar was a valuable defensive player in his day but has mostly made his career in baseball as a coach. And his sons picked up his baseball passion and genes.
Like Sandy, Roberto Alomar was a slick-fielding second baseman, winning 12 Gold Gloves in his 15-season Hall of Fame MLB career. Roberto was also gifted at the plate with a .300 career average to his name.
Sandy Jr. also was skilled defensively, winning a Gold Glove Award as a catcher in 1990, and at the plate, making six All-Star Games and finishing with a .273 lifetime average.
Pamela/Imani and JaVale McGee
JaVale McGee may get the headlines these days, but he may not even be the second-most accomplished basketball player in his family. His mom, Pamela, won Olympic gold in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, was a two-time NCAA champion and a selection in the first WNBA draft.
Pamela was inducted into the women’s basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 and is the only pro women’s basketball player to have a child also drafted. In fact, she’s had two, JaVale and daughter Imani, who was taken 10th by the Chicago Sky in the 2016 WNBA draft.