LeBron James is on his way to making a highly credible cause to be considered the greatest basketball singles player of all time. Just last year, allied and opposition coaches alike considered it as such, Including statements from former Jazz and Lakers coachesQuinn Snyder, David Wisdel and Frank Vogel.
However, with his recent activity at the Lakers’ El Segundo training facility alongside his two sons, Bronny and Bryce, along with his express desire to play with the eldest of the couple, it looks like King might have his heart. A wider throne – the throne of the goat basketball family.
Although none of the legitimate nominees for the best ever player in the sport has produced good NBA players—Michael Jordan’s children have failed to move past the fellowship level and Bill Russell’s offspring have avoided the sport altogether—a number of former professionals have fathered children who eventually succeed. They found their success in the league.
Since any such list is arbitrary in nature and unscientific, I will at least try to lay down some ground rules to explain how I tried to classify these families.
First, with apologies to Antetokounmpos, Balls, Holidays, Lopezes, Gasols and Morii, only multigenerational units will be considered in this list. And with all due respect to the relatives of Colangelos, Unselds and Jerry West, I would consider performing on the field only, which would make NBA families with only one player or less ineligible for my ratings.
Finally, instead of tallying the group prizes for each family, I take each player from the family and sum their values from the approximate total value at the level of an alternate player – kind of like an inverted basketball total war. This includes play from all leagues, not just the NBA.
This means that individuals with higher and taller peaks do the best, and families with more bodies get a slight boost, even if lower members don’t do much. For example, a group of four starting calibers will likely outperform a group made up of a great warmer all the time.
Also, before shooting my very own top five, it’s worth mentioning a few family names that I just missed.
The Thompsons family—Mychal, Mychel, and Klay—probably came closest to the list, lower than my fifth choice.
Dominic, Damien, and Gerald Wilkins can all deserve credit, but the contributions of the last couple were ultimately too minimal to help Human Highlight Reel break into the top five.
Brothers Horace and Harvey Grant, whose sons Jeramy and Jerryan play in the league, could easily take one of these spots if you count the older brothers as well as Harvey’s sons.
The Waltons – Bill and Luke – also deserve credit, but they didn’t make the list due to the writer’s initial neglect and retrospective subjectivity.
Plus, I’d like to think briefly of Joe, Kobe, and Gianna Bryant, the latter apparently destined to carry the family name toward one of the first few spots on this list.
So without further ado, here’s a conjectural look at the five families that LeBron’s spawn will need to excel in in order to retain the title of greatest basketball family ever:
Although most basketball fans first knew JaVale for his comedic mistakes on the court early in his career, he has since redefined himself as an Elite 5 player heading into the 15th season of the NBA. After two years in production at Golden State, McGee joined the Lakers, establishing himself as a regular-season kickoff for all 68 games he played en route to the 2020 NBA Championship. Since then, he has proven to be a key cog in the regular death machine of last season at the Suns. He won the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and just received a prize Three-year contract worth $17 million To become Luka Doncic Mavericks starting center.
However, it is JaVale’s mother who boosts her average value. Bam, the first WNBA A player with a son who was drafted into the NBA, he has been one of the most consistent winners in sports history. After two state championships in high school, she won two more NCAA divisions at USC along with three other pros (her twin sister Paula, Sheryl Miller, and Cynthia Cooper), winning her first Olympic gold medal for the USA in women’s basketball at the 1984 Games In Los Angeles.
A Hall of Famer Despite having access to fewer well-paid women’s professional basketball leagues than today, Pam’s international dominance carries JaVale with it toward a total of two All-Star caliber players in total.
4. Gary Payton 1st and 2nd
While the Gauntlet was the greatest defensive goalkeeper of his generation, Some argue who – which “Little Glove” More annoying at that end than the floor. No matter how they compare to each other, there is no doubt that the two have combined for over two decades turning opposing backcourt evenings into vivid nightmares, each perhaps the most powerful defender of their generation.
And while both were particularly known for their amazing stopping ball skills in defence, father Gary Payton was one of the best all-around keepers of the ’90s. Named nine times for the All-Defensive Teams, All-Star Teams, and All-NBA Teams, Payton has led the Sonics (RIP) to the Western Conference Finals twice, eliminating Karl Malone’s Jazz and Hakeem Olajuwon Rockets twice each along the way.
Once upon a time, Payton took Seattle to The NBA Finals, although he fell to Michael Jordan Bulls in six games to wrap up their 1995-96 campaign for the first episode in the second of three peats. With his career coming to a close, Payton was able to manage the point for a pair of Finals teams, losing Series 04 with the Lakers before finally winning in 2006 with the Heat.
Although Gary Payton II is not an all-star, he is a great productive player due to his huge one-way influence. Given his NBA 75 membership and status as one of the truly great guards to ever play the game, it’s hard to argue that their composite peak would be lower than their sure-footed All-Stars peak, considering how great the GPI is, and how good the GPII still is.
Between Walton and Jokic, when it comes to the best big guys to ever pass, there was Arvydas Sabonis. It’s hard to rate Arvydas considering how short his NBA career was and how late he was in his sports career. Sabonis Senior spent his entirety in Europe, becoming one of the most decorated basketball players of all time in his decade before finally entering the NBA at the age of 30.
When he entered the league, it was after countless injuries to his lower limbs, most notably a ruptured Achilles tendon. Despite still being a Basketball Hall of Fame, Arvydas likely benefited greatly from contemporary medicine’s ability to prevent and rehabilitate injuries, as well as the way the modern game floor would have opened up the fairways for his great passing vision.
However, his legacy is carried on into the present by the second greatest son on this list, Domantas. Although he had two more NBA All-Star picks compared to his father, By all accounts, Arvydas was the better player at his peak.
Taken together, the Sabonises are one of the strongest father-son duos in NBA history.
All of them were at least an all-star talent in their own right, while reports of Father’s European exploits suggest that he might have been one of the truly great centers of the game if medicine and international politics of his day had been more suited to allowing his star to shine.
2. (Much) Bares
With five professional sons playing basketball, Rick Barry and his co-workers. I would surely rank first on this list if I chose to rank families that matter most in terms of quantity over quality.
Along with 12 All-Star nominations for Barry patriarch and 10 all-league nominations (six NBA, four ABA), Barry’s greatest achievement was to reclaim his first Warriors title in 1975, along with the MVP award. but, His public reputation as a smeared idiot is often unquestionable Hopper’s profession is pure.
His three eldest sons, John, Drew and Brent, played a combined 31 seasons in the NBA while the younger pair, Canyon and Scooter, had successful amateur careers. Scooter won a national championship with Kansas in 1988 before running professionally for several decades abroad, and Barry Canyon continued his granny-style free throw legacy, playing for the Timberwolves G League as recently as last season.
Although Rick is perhaps one of the underrated legends in NBA history, his inconsistent attitude – Including a finals match where he withdrew a Kobe Bryant in the 2006 qualifiers 30 years before Bean did – and the younger sons left Barrys stuck in second place, despite having two more members than any other gang on the list.
With at least three better-than-average NBA players, the Currys are the favorites to lead any list regarding multi-generational basketball legacies. However, they also have the best ever player on the roster in their midst, driving a wedge between them and their rivals.
Obviously, after winning his fourth NBA Championship (and his first ever World Cup Finals player), Stephen Curry has established himself as one of the sport’s greatest undeniable talents of all time. With his all-time top 15 in the low and plenty left in the tank, Steve will conclude his run as an all-time great consensus even if it remains to be seen how high he will eventually go.
And while Stephen is the best of the bunch, Dell and Seth aren’t lax per se. Dell’s sharpshooting continued for 16 years in the league as one of the game’s most fearsome shooters, winning the league’s sixth Man of the Year award in 1994.
Seth has evolved from a league fringe player to a coveted role player, penalizing teams giving him a field to shoot away from the arc with the highest 3-career percentage point among all active players. At 44.0%, Seth has the third highest 3-point percentage in NBA history, outperforming his big brother Steve by nine places, with his song count dropping at number 40.
Although the two role players in the family pale in comparison to Stephen Curry’s individual greatness, it’s hard to argue that adding them to the best player on the roster puts them anywhere short of the top spot. With the best first, second and third bananas on the list, the Currys family beats the competition without much effort.
Looking to the future, none of LeBron’s sons were legitimate to be high-end lottery picks, although 15-year-old Bryce, who reached 6’6”, might have a higher chance than the 17-year-old, 6’2 ”Brunei. But with that said, with at least two years to go before the first couple becomes eligible to enlist, it would be foolish to write about either of them given their lineage, ambition and seemingly unparalleled work ethic.
And with their dad already ranking ahead of any player on the above list, they won’t have to put in much effort to take their family’s stock above the Currys. If one became a rotating player and the other only ever made the league, James would have already matched, if not surpassed, what Curry did in the league.
Regardless, their eventual rise to the professional level with LeBron’s never-ending pinnacle and desire to play alongside them will lead to a unique partnership and incredible drama, no matter how cool a younger James is.
Cooper is a lifelong Laker fan who has also covered Yankees In Pinstripe Alley at SB Nation – no, he’s also not a fan of the Cowboys. You can hear it on Lakers Multiverse Podcast You can find it on Twitter at Tweet embed.
Correction: An earlier version of this article neglected or incorrectly mentioned a few deserving families, including the Grants, Wilkinses, Waltons, and Bryants.