Today is Father’s Day, and though we’re all abuzz for a potential title-clenching Game 5, the luckiest among us basketball fans are busy celebrating the dads all over the world while we wait for tip-off. The NBA is packed with players whose own pro-hooper dads passed the game along to their progeny, whether through genetics or hours spent going one-on-one in the driveway. The next generation is being incubated by their pro pops but until Lil Chris’ handle comes around …
or Bryce James showcases his poise in an NBA arena…
or Zaire Wade’s layups pay off
or Gianna Bryant channels her dad’s competitive spirit, we can take a moment to recognize the fathers whose kids have already made it.
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
Tim the younger doesn’t have dad’s legendary crossover but he did make the NBA All-Rookie team coming off the bench for the Knicks. He averaged 10.2 ppg and shot 36.3% from three, putting up 40 double-digit scoring games. The two clashed when Tim, Sr. pushed his son too hard early on, but when the former All-Star fell back, his son’s game flourished.2 of 15
Undrafted as a rookie in 2005, John Lucas III has made a professional career playing for five different NBA teams and taking up three D-League stints and a seasons in China and Italy. He’s found a place for his shooting an D with resilient effort imparted by his dad, former No. 1 overall pick (1976) John Lucas, whose own NBA career was marred by substance abuse. The older Lucas rebounded as an NBA coach and life counselor.3 of 15
Since entering the league as the 10th pick in the 2012 draft, Austin’s career has been in flux. He’s lost confidence in New Orleans—he averaged 7.7 ppg and 2.3 apg and was buried in the rotation—and was constantly involved in trade rumors. But Doc and Austin are still only the fourth father-son duo to have their teams play each other in the NBA.4 of 15
Trade bait Kevin Love owes a lot to his dad, Stan, the ninth pick in the 1971 draft. Stan spent his first three seasons with the Baltimore Bullets where he befriended Wes Unseld. Stan was so enamored with Unseld’s game that he named his firstborn Kevin Wesley, and forced the kid to watch old footage of Unseld’s passing.5 of 15
Davis used to go along with his dad Terry (after he retired) to pick-up games on VCU’s campus. Both father and son are 6’10″ and the older Davis brought his seed back to his alma mater to toughen the kid up against other alums like Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace. It paid off. Terry went undrafted but played 10 seasons in the league while Ed was a lottery pick in 2010.6 of 15
Who better to have as an advisor than a former No. 1 draft pick? Mychal Thompson played 14 years in the NBA and won a pair of rings with the Lakers but he’s also been a hands-on dad to Klay and his brother Trayce, a minor league baseball prospect. Dad still holds the reins in the relationship.8 of 15
Mike Dunleavy, Jr.
Pressed into a starting role in Chicago, Mike Dunleavy, Jr. is still providing valuable minutes in his fourteenth year in the league, while his father is still interviewing for coaching vacancies after 17 years on the sidelines.9 of 15
Both Ron and Ronnie starred for the Arkansas Razorbacks in college. Ron, the 7th overall pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1978 draft, lasted nine years and averaged 12 ppg in the league. Of course, he didn’t teach Ronnie that terrible looking J. The journeyman son’s shot is the result of a childhood accident, not bad parenting.10 of 15
Gerald, Sr. played for seven different teams in his 13-year career but he’s best remembered in Boston for this steal in the 1984 Finals. He retired in 1992, when Gerald, Jr. was 4, and now the kid is starting two guard for the Charlotte Bobcats, averaging 14.0 ppg.11 of 15
Phil got his handle from pops Paul, who during his 13-year career was one of the first point forwards in the game. And when Paul continued his career as an assistant coach with the Celtics (under Doc Rivers) their players used to scare the crap out of a young Phil and Austin Rivers.12 of 15
The Hawks’ Al Horford and his dad Tito (along with younger bro, U of Michigan forward Jon) are basketball celebs in the Dominicna Republic. Tito was the first Domincan-born athlete to play in the NBA (drafted in 1988) and Al is the island nation’s first all-star and a mainstay of the Dominican National Team.13 of 15
The younger Matthews worked his way into the league after going undrafted in 2009. He earned a starting spot first in Utah and now in Portland thanks to his D and 39.4 career three percentage. His dad Wes was probably most famous for his run-in with Xavier McDaniel.
Of course Steph’s dad Dell is remembered as the sharpshooting all-time leading scorer for the Charlotte Hornets, a trait he taught his sniper son, who’s parlayed that stroke into a more multi-faceted game for the Golden State Warriors.15 of 15