10 Iconic Pro Sports Families
As we get together with our families this holiday, we think a bit about some of the powerful families of sports. It’s kind of weird to imagine that, yes, the junior members of these families grew up in a place where dad was at the top of his game, bringing home bank. Nature? Nurture? Who knows and who cares? All we know is the world of professional sports wouldn’t be the same without these ten incredible sporting families, often times spanning generations.
The Gracies basically invented the sport of mixed martial arts. There are almost too many of them to count at this point. We’re pretty sure they’re the only family on this list who have a magazine named after them. While MMA has come a long way since the days when people were wearing gis in the ring, we’re thankful that the Gracies created a sport through their desire to promote their jiujitsu school.
The first family of professional wrestling has quite a reach these days. It not only includes most of the powerful players at the biggest professional wrestling organization in the world. It also includes HHH. We can see this family continuing to wield influence over the (sort of) sport for generations to come. Watch Linda’s career in politics as it unfolds.
It’s not just the Floyds. The Mayweather family also includes Roger, brother to both Floyd Sr. and former IBO featherweight champion “Jazzy” Jeff. Roger is currently Floyd Jr.’s trainer, which is probably more to brag about than his boxing career. Unlike Floyd Sr., at least Roger won some titles in his day — the WBA super featherweight and the WBC light welterweight.
The Cals are practically synonymous with the Baltimore Orioles franchise. Both hearken back to a day when ball players played on the same team for most, if not all, of their careers. Cal Sr. has the longest minor league career of any Orioles minor league manager. While Cal Jr.’s brother Billy didn’t have the most illustrious career on the field, he’s done quite well as an announcer for Major League Baseball on XM Sirius radio.
Patriarch Archie Manning was known for being an amazing quarterback heading up a terrible team. For a guy with his win-loss record, he boasted a highly impressive number of Pro Bowl appearances. His sons Peyton and Eli have done much better for themselves. Not only do they each have a Super Bowl ring, they also both have the distinction of being Super Bowl MVPs.
The Petty stock car racing dynasty didn’t start with Richard. His father Lee blazed trails when the sport was first finding its legs. The Petty family now looms large over the entire sport of all left hand turns, arguably an even bigger presence in the sport than the Earnhardt family. We won’t get in the middle about which is bigger, but we will say that Richard has one of the best ‘stache and hat combos in the entire world.
Ken Griffey Sr.’s career spanned nearly 20 years, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds, but also at the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and the Seattle Mariners, where the elder Griffey ended his career. He played in three All-Star Games (and was the 1980 MVP) and won two World Series. Son Craig Griffey didn’t get too far at the game, but Ken Griffey, Jr. is widely credited with restoring the MLB’s image after the strike of 1994.
There’s another name in the world of NASCAR — Earnhardt. The death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. looms large over the sport even to this day. It was as if the world saw Michael Jordan cut down on a basketball court by a sniper’s rifle. His son Dale Earnhardt Jr. carries on the family name as well as the tradition of winning races where the ability to make a left hand turn at high speed is what it’s all about.
What can be said about the Matthews, one of the most enduring legacies in the history of the NFL, not to mention professional sport. Clay Matthews Sr. was on the 49’ers in the 50s and gave birth day a dynasty. His son clay was a Pro Bowler and his son Bruce is in the Hall of Fame. Several of his grandchildren currently play in the NFL, and Clay Sr. is still alive to see them tear it up on the football field.
Founded by Rick Barry, this basketball dynasty has left their mark on the world of professional sport. Son Brent and Rick are the second father-son duo to win an NBA championship as players. Both Brent and brother Jon are currently television announcers for the NBA. Not a bad way to age gracefully as a former NBA pro, right?