As Father’s Day arrives once more, it’s the time of the year to appreciate fatherhood throughout the United States. There’s nothing quite like the connection between a father and his child, and while athletes occupy a pantheon far above most normal people, they’re the same as us in that regard. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best father-child athlete combinations of all-time.
Probably the most recognizable family in terms of father-son professional athletes, the Mannings boasts three NFL quarterbacks. Archie Manning played his college days at Ole Miss, where he is regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in school history. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1971 and spent over a decade there. On a horrendous Saints team, Manning endured nine losing seasons and was sacked a resounding 337 times.
The first Manning child to follow Archie’s footsteps in the NFL was Peyton in 1998. After enjoying a spectacular career at Tennessee, Peyton was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. He spent fourteen seasons with the Colts, winning one Super Bowl before signing with the Denver Broncos in 2012. Peyton tacked on his second Super Bowl victory in 2015, which also marked his final game in the NFL, as he retired that offseason. The baby of the Manning family, Eli, followed his father’s footsteps and attended Ole Miss. Following a tremendous career at his father’s alma mater, Eli was drafted first overall in 2004 by the San Diego Chargers before promptly being traded to the New York Giants. In the NFL, Eli has experienced an up-and-down career filled with many highs and many lows. Not known for being a spectacular regular season quarterback, Eli has excelled in the postseason, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl.
It’s hard to find a father-son combination as successful as Archie, Peyton, and Eli, making them one of the most recognizable and successful pairings on the list. It’s a shame that the eldest brother, Cooper Manning, was forced to retire the summer before he started at Ole Miss due to spinal stenosis. He was a highly recruited wide receiver out of high school and based on the Manning track record, you can only wonder what Cooper would have accomplished at the next level.
Dell, Stephen and Seth Curry
Dell Curry enjoyed a solid 16-year NBA career, during which he spent the majority of his years playing for the Charlotte Hornets. Dell was predominately a role player, and averaged a career-best 16.3 points per game during the 1993-1994 season, earning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year trophy in the process. What Curry was best known for was his incredible shooting ability, which has clearly been passed down to both of his sons.
Steph Curry has enjoyed an exceptional NBA career with the Golden State Warriors. A three-time NBA champion and two-time league MVP, Steph is already regarded as the greatest shooter of all-time. On the other hand, Seth Curry didn’t have nearly the same path to the NBA. After going undrafted out of Duke in 2013, Seth has bounced between the G League and NBA before finding a permanent spot in the league the past few seasons. More of a role player like his father Dell, Seth averaged almost eight points per game this year on a Portland Trail Blazers team that lost to Steph’s Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Just like his father and brother, Seth is also known for his spectacular shooting ability.
One of the most famous families in the sport of basketball, the Curry clan is on top of the world right now. For Dell, it will be hard to find a better Father’s Day gift than having the opportunity to watch both of his sons compete in the 2019 Western Conference Finals. That’s when you know you made it.
Ken Griffey Sr. played 19 seasons in the MLB, with the majority of his peak seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Although he’s a three-time All-Star and two-time World Series Champion, I’m sure if you ask him what his favorite moment in his entire career is, his answer will be quick: playing on the same team with his son.
In 1989, Ken Griffey Jr. was drafted by the Seattle Mariners. In 1990, Ken Griffey Sr. joined the Mariners and played alongside his son before retiring at the end of the 1991 season. The Griffey’s made history with the Mariners, becoming the only father and son to play together on the same team. In one of the coolest moments in MLB history, the Griffey family hit back-to-back home runs during a game in the 1990 season.
After Griffey Sr. retired, Griffey Jr. enjoyed a Hall of Fame career. Griffey Jr. is regarded as having one of the purest swings in baseball history and finished his career with 630 career home runs, which currently seventh on the all-time list.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 and is regarded as one of the best auto racing drivers of all-time. His aggressive driving style helped earn him 76 Winston Cup victories throughout the course of his career. In 2000, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his NASCAR debut driving alongside his father on the biggest auto racing stage in the world.
In 2001, tragedy struck at the Daytona 500 when Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed in a collision on the final lap. Since his father’s death, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has surely made his father proud. Before retiring in 2017, Earnhardt Jr. was consistently one of the best NASCAR drivers throughout the duration of his career. He ultimately finished with 26 wins in the Cup Series, which puts him in the top 40 in NASCAR history.
An NBA Hall of Famer, Karl Malone will forever be remembered as one of the best basketball players in league history. With the Utah Jazz, Malone was a two-time NBA MVP, 11-time All-NBA First Team member and 14-time NBA All-Star. Although he never won an NBA title (due in large part to the dominance of Michael Jordan), the mid-to-late 1990s Jazz are regarded as one of the best teams in NBA history.
After retiring in 2004, Malone enjoyed watching his daughter, Cheryl Ford, follow his footsteps and dominate the hardwood. Ford was a member of the Detroit Shock of the WNBA from 2003-2009. During this time, she became a three-time WNBA Champion and four-time WNBA All-Star.
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Muhammad Ali was not only the greatest boxer of all-time but also one of the most influential athletes throughout the entirety of his life. Known for his speed and athleticism in the ring, to go along with his incessant trash talk, Ali captivated the boxing world. Outside of the ring, Ali was also a key activist in the civil rights movement. In 2016, Ali passed away at the age of 74. After growing up in a family where boxing was all she knew, Ali’s daughter Laila pursued a boxing career as well. Laila enjoyed a nine-year boxing career, in which she went 24-0, with 21 of her 24 wins coming by KO.
Check out this amazing Adidas advertisement, that put both Ali’s in the same ring at the same time.
It’s not too often that a father and son are considered two of the best players of all time, but that’s the case for Bobby and Brett Hull. Playing from 1957-1980, Bobby Hull enjoyed a long career of consistent success. Starting out as a Blackhawk, Bobby was a key member of the 1961 Stanley Cup winning team. Although he played the majority of his career with the Blackhawks, Bobby enjoyed his best statistical season as a member of the Winnipeg Jets in 1974-1975. In this season, Bobby scored 77 goals and added 65 assists for a career-high 142 points. After his retirement in 1980, Bobby was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
Trying to follow in your father’s Hall of Fame footsteps is a difficult task, but one that Brett made look easy. During his 20-year long career in the NHL, Brett tore up the stat sheets and was consistently one of the top offensive threats in the NHL. In the 1990-1991 season, Brett scored a career-high 86 goals, which is the second-most in a single season behind Wayne Gretzky. At the culmination of his career, Brett won two Stanley Cup titles and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. His success continued even after his playing days, as he’s been an Executive VP of the St. Louis Blues since 2010, and just helped deliver the city their first Stanley Cup.
Sloane Stephens is taking the tennis world by storm. At the age of 26, Sloane has surpassed Serena Williams as the highest-ranked American in women’s tennis, where she currently sits ninth in the WTA. Sloane made a name for herself in 2017, when she won the 2017 US Open Championship. So far in her career, she has won six WTA singles titles and her highest WTA ranking was No. 3 in the summer of 2018.
With all this success, it’s no surprise that Stephens comes from an athletic background. Her father, John Stephens, was a running back for Northwestern State before being drafted in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In his rookie season, John was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and received an invite to the NFL Pro Bowl. John played just six seasons in the NFL before retiring. In 2009, he was tragically killed in a car accident.
During his time in the NFL, Howie Long was consistently one of the most dominant defensive players in the league. An eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time First-team All-Pro recipient and 1985 Defensive Player of the Year, Long was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Since then, he has thrived in his post-playing career as a studio analyst for Fox Sports’ NFL coverage. Similar to the Mannings, two of his sons, Chris and Kyle, ended up making it to the NFL.
Chris Long enjoyed a successful career between the St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles before retiring following the 2018 season. As a member of the 2016 Patriots and 2017 Eagles, Chris was a back-to-back Super Bowl champion. Following in his father’s footsteps, Chris played the same position as Howie, defensive end. The baby of the family, Kyle Long was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. Since joining the league, Kyle is a three-time Pro Bowler and is widely regarded as one of the top offensive linemen in the NFL.
Remembered for his unique combination of speed and power, Bobby Bonds was an exceptional right fielder who played the majority of his career with the San Francisco Giants. He became the first player in MLB history to have more than two seasons with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He accomplished this feat five times throughout his career, a record number that was only matched by one other player: his son Barry. Bobby retired in 1981 and passed away in 2003 due to complications from lung cancer and a brain tumor.
Arguably one of the most controversial figures in the history of the sport, Barry Bonds’ statistics are out of this world. A 14-time All-Star, seven-time NL MVP, eight-time Gold Glove Award recipient and 12-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Barry has compiled a sure-fire Hall of Fame resume. His variety of MLB records, which include most career home runs (762) and single-season home runs (72), made him one of the most captivating players in the history of the sport. However, during a time where steroid use dominated the league, Barry’s admittance to using them brought question marks over the legitimacy of his accomplishments. As a result, Bonds continues to be up for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame but has yet to be voted in.