The Currys, Rivers, Thompsons and other famous NBA fathers and sons

Sporting News

There have been more than 80 men who’ve played in the NBA and been followed into the league by their sons. Five have sent multiple offspring into the world’s foremost professional basketball league.

There are 25 current players whose fathers preceded them in the NBA.

To celebrate Father’s Day, we took a look at a dozen of the most prominent active father-son duos (or trios, as the case may be):

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The Curry family

Father Dell and sons Stephen and Seth

The curious thing about the Currys is every one of them has been underrated. Dell was drafted with the 15th pick in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft, and he outperformed — in terms of minutes played and points scored — 11 of the 13 players chosen ahead of him who got the chance to play in the league. Steph Curry was overlooked by high-major colleges, became a first-team All-American and NCAA Tournament legend, and still he lasted until the seventh pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. He has outperformed, in those categories, five of the six players chosen before him.

By the time everyone got to Seth, they should have learned to expect more. But he was not highly recruited and began his career at low-major Liberty, averaged 20.2 points per game, then Duke was smart enough to pick him up as a transfer and got two All-ACC seasons out of him. After his senior season in 2013, he went undrafted in 2013 and— stop me if you’ve heard a similar story — has gone on to outperform 28 of 30 second-round picks in terms of minutes played and 29 of 30 in points scored. He even has done better than nine first-rounders, including the No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett.

You think basketball people will catch on by the time Steph's and Seth's kids are ready to hoop?

MORE: Famous NFL fathers and sons

The Rivers family

Father Doc and son Austin

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One of the genuinely rare circumstances in professional sports is a father coaching his son, but Doc got that chance with Austin in four seasons as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. Austin’s two double-figure scoring seasons as a pro, in 2016-17 and 2017-18, came with his father as head coach. In 2014-15, the Clippers lost a seven-game series to the Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals, with Austin shooting 37.1 percent on 3-pointers.

Doc won an NBA championship as Celtics coach in 2007-08 and also had a 13-year playing career that included one All-Star Game.

The Thompson family

Father Mychal and sons Klay and Mychel

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Although Mychal was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft and enjoyed a fine career, winning NBA titles in 1987 and 1988 with the Lakers, his son Klay has managed to surpass his father’s achievements as a pro in every way. Klay has won three championships, appeared in five All-Star Games, won gold medals in the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup and already ranks among the league’s top 20 in career 3-poitners, though he has played just eight seasons.

Mychel, who played in college at Pepperdine, played five games in the 2011-12 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

MORE: Christian McCaffrey teams with dad to give Father's Day surprise to military members

The Sabonis family

Father Arvydas and son Domantas

Arvydas is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest big men in the sport’s history, although his NBA career lasted only seven seasons. He did not enter the league until he was 31 because he’d grown up in the Soviet Union and was not permitted to join an American league. After starring in the 1988 Olympics against the likes of David Robinson and Danny Manning, Sabonis had to wait seven years to get his shot with the Trail Blazers. He was inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2011.

Domantas had an impressive two seasons at Gonzaga, but left the year before the Bulldogs would appear in the NCAA championship game. He became the 11th overall pick in 2016 by Orlando, which shipped him on draft night to Oklahoma City. After being traded again, this time to the Pacers with Victor Oladipo for Paul George, Sabonis has blossomed. He made his first All-Star Game this year and is averaging 19.1 points and 12.9 rebounds.

The Brunson family

Father Rick and son Jalen

Of all the fathers and sons who’ve played in the NBA, few bore a greater resemblance as players than the Brunsons — even down to the fact they both shoot lefthanded. The one difference is in height, and maybe if Jalen had been as tall as his father (6-1 compared to 6-4) he’d be an even more significant player.

But Jalen is an all-time college great who swept the 2018 player of the year awards and won two NCAA championships at Villanova. He now plays primarily as a backup point guard with the Mavericks. Rick fought his way into the league after a standout career at Temple, playing in Australia and the CBA to prepare for his NBA break. He entered the league at age 25 and lasted nine seasons.

The Hardaway family

Father Tim and son Tim Jr.

Of all the fathers and sons who’ve played in the NBA, few bore less of a resemblance as players than the Hardaways. They share the same first and last name, and their love of basketball, but they succeeded in entirely different ways.

Tim Sr. was a dynamo on the floor, a powerful point guard with unrelenting quickness who blew past those defenders and bullied those who remained in his way. He played in five All-Star Games and is 18th in career assists.

Tim Jr. is a lean wing who at 6-6 stands five inches taller than his father and excels as a shooter. He has averaged 13.4 points for his career and ranks in the top 10 in 3-point field goals in the current season.

MORE: When the Griffeys made history with back-to-back homers

The Nance family

Father Larry and son Larry Jr.

Over 13 seasons with the Suns and Cavaliers, Larry Nance consistently delivered as a scorer, rebounder and defender. He played in three All-Star Games, was on the All-Defensive team three times and is in the league’s top 20 for career blocks.

After beginning his career in LA, Larry Jr. also wound up in Cleveland, just a short drive from Richfield, Ohio, where he played in high school and his father competed in so many great games for the Cavs. Larry Jr. is averaging 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds as a reserve center in this, his fifth year in the league.

The Jackson family

Father Jaren and son Jaren Jr.

A product of Georgetown’s post-powerhouse teams under John Thompson, Jaren Jackson joined the Hoyas just after they’d made the NCAA championship game in three of four seasons and became a four-year regular on teams that twice fell one game short of the Final Four. He then fought to achieve a 12-year career that saw him play for nine different teams and win an NBA championship in 1999 with the Spurs, the one franchise where he was able to find a consistent home.

At 6-11, Jaren Jr. is seven inches taller and entered the NBA as a one-and-done, top-five draft pick. With the Grizzlies, he became an instant smash because of his ability to shoot from long range (38.6 percent) and defend (1.6 blocks per game). He was first-team All-Rookie in 2018-19.

The Davis family

Father Terry and son Ed

Nice work if you can get it, being a journeyman NBA big. The two Davis generations have played 1,145 games over 20 combined seasons. They’ve played for 10 teams and earned more than $50 million.

Terry went undrafted after completing his career at Division II power Virginia Union but made the Heat as a free agent and played in 63 games his rookie year. His best season came with Dallas in 1992-93, when he averaged 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. Ed became a coveted recruit in high school and a member of North Carolina’s 2009 NCAA championship team. He was the No. 13 overall pick in the 2010 draft and always has been a terrific rebounder as a reserve power forward, averaging between 9.8 and 17.3 rebounds per 36 minutes in every one of his 10 seasons.

The Grant family

Father Harvey and sons Jerami and Jerian

Although his twin brother Horace was fortunate enough to be drafted by the Bulls and win championships alongside Michael Jordan, Harvey has had the joy of watching his sons follow in the family business.

Harvey began his career with the Wizards (then Bullets) and played five seasons there before moving around the league. He averaged 18 or more points in three consecutive seasons and wound up completing 11 seasons in the NBA.

Jerami played two years at Syracuse before entering the draft and becoming a second-round pick. He has been in the league since 2014 and currently averages 11.6 points as a reserve forward for the Nuggets. Jerian was a first-round pick in 2015 after an All-American career at Notre Dame and has played four NBA seasons, so far, the most recent with the Magic. He spent the 2019-20 season in the G League.

The Parker family

Father Sonny and son Jabari

Jabari Parker was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft after an All-American freshman season at Duke. His offensive skill has enabled him to average 15 points per game over his six years in the league, although he frequently has been injured.

Jabari’s father, Sonny, played six years with the Golden State Warriors and averaged 9.9 points, including a season-best of 15.2 with the 1978-79 squad.

The Garland family

Father Winston and son Darius

Winston Garland became March-famous playing for Charlie Spoonhour at what was then Southwest Missouri State, scoring 24 points in an upset of Clemson and then 24 more as the Bears nearly did it again, losing by four points to Kansas. He became a second-round pick and averaged double-figure scoring his first two seasons, ultimately completing seven NBA seasons.

His son Darius was one of the top players in the 2018 recruiting class and signed at Vanderbilt. Darius looked like a star in his first four games but blew out his knee and missed the rest of the season, then entered the draft and was chosen fifth overall by the Cavs. He has started every game of his rookie season, averaging 12.3 points and 3.9 assists.

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