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  • Kaunda Chama

Like father like son – NBA family ties


NBA superstar LeBron James would like nothing better than to play with or against his first born son Bronny “LeBron Jr” in the NBA, and although there has never been a father and son playing in the league in history, there have been players whose fathers have worn an NBA jersey before them, while others have played in the league with their siblings.

There is an old expression that says ‘it runs in the family’ and for some NBA players this is actually a statement of fact because they are not the first from their family tree to play in the league. There are a good number whose fathers were in the NBA before them.

There are not too many brothers playing in the NBA but the Curry brothers, two-time MVP Stephen and his younger brother Seth, who both don the number 30 jersey for the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks respectively are now household names.

They are both famous for their dribbling and shooting ability and while the older sibling has already made a name for himself as a sharpshooter from deep, Seth is emerging as an equally skilled marksman himself.

Their father Dell Curry was selected with the 15th overall pick by the Utah Jazz in the 1986 NBA draft. He played one season at the Jazz and was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers where also played one season. He was selected by the Charlotte Hornets, one of the NBA's then two newest teams for the 1988–1989 season in the expansion draft.

Curry played for 10 seasons at the Hornets and won the ‘Sixth Man of the Year award’ in the 1993–1994 season. He still ranks among the franchise's all-time statistical leaders in points, games played, three-point field goals made and attempted, and three-point field goal percentage. Curry also played a season for the Milwaukee Bucks and finished his NBA career at the Toronto Raptors 2002.

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker also comes from an NBA lineage, his father Melvin Booker had a short stint in the NBA and played for the Houston Rockets in the 1995–1996 season, and the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors in the 1996–1997 season, and appeared in 32 games.

Devin was selected 13th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Suns and made his NBA debut two days before turning 19 in the teams' season debut against the Dallas Mavericks and became the first player in NBA history to debut at 18 years old after playing at least one year of college basketball. Both Melvin and Devin played against Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett during their respective careers.

NBA champion and four-time All-Star Kevin Love’s father Stan was the 9th pick in the 1971 NBA Draft, selected by the Baltimore Bullets. He was also selected the same year by the Dallas Chaparrals in the then ABA Draft. The previous year, the Texas Chaparrals had also selected him while he was still an underclassman.

Love spent his four-year professional basketball career at teams like the Bullets, Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs before retiring in 1975. Kevin was selected fifth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2008 NBA Draft, and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night. During the 2010–2011 season, He established the longest streak for consecutive games recording double figures in points and rebounds since the ABA–NBA merger. He was traded to the Cavaliers in 2014 and won a championship a year later.

Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers is the first son to play for his father in an NBA game. His father is 2008 championship coach Doc, the current head coach and president of basketball operations at the Clippers. Doc Rivers was selected 31st overall in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks where he played for seven seasons. Rivers later spent one year at the Los Angeles Clippers and two at the New York Knicks, and finished his career at the San Antonio Spurs in 1996.

Austin was drafted 10th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), and played three seasons with the team before being traded to the Clippers in 2015.

five-time champion Kobe Bryant (RIP), had a one of the most illustrious careers in NBA history. He was a starter in all of his 18 All-Star appearances and ended his career in third position on the NBA’s All-Time Points Leaders list.

His father Joe ‘Jelly Bean’ Bryant was drafted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in 1975, but started the season with hometown team the Philadelphia 76ers where he played for four seasons. He later played for the San Diego Clippers (1979–1982) and ended his NBA career with the Houston Rockets in 1983 before heading to Europe.

There are many more players, former and current, that have had fathers who have played in the league and these include Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors whose father Mychal played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Andrew Wiggins also of the Warriors’ fathers Mitchell played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Tim Hardaway jr of the Dallas Mavericks whose father Tim played for the Indiana Pacers and Larry Nance jr of the Cleveland Cavaliers whose father Larry Sr also played for the Cavs.

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