The ideal of a stern, salary-earning, child-disciplining, tattoo-and-piercing-scorning, folk music-listening father has vanished. The patriarchs of the new age ink up and rock out.
Many are not the primary breadwinners in the family (ahem, Tom Brady). A vast number have never and will never spank their child. Although so much has changed, not everything has.
The scene of a father and child playing catch in the front yard is as ubiquitous as it ever was. At school stadiums and public parks the world over, dads still perch in the bleachers, focused on their child's game.
They still get fired up at Little League coaches, refs and umps. They still take their kids out for ice cream after the game. They still nurture, guide and mentor.
And these are the fathers of the sporting world that do it all with the most panache.
- He calls the library in his house "a little war room."
- He's a spokesman for STOMP Out Bullying.
- He is a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Loses cool points for: Firestorm; flat-top overkill.
Who is he? The Atomic Flea.
- He named his son "Thiago." Shortened version of Santiago. Kind of like Topher for Christopher or Liam for William.
- He has his priorities straight. Messi said this before his son arrived: "You can no longer just think about yourself, you think about him, and how you hope he doesn't have any problems."
- He has his son's handprints tattooed on his leg.
- He's got four big golden orbs in his house.
Whose dad? Seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill.
- Though he was a football star, he never pressured his son to be an athlete. In his own words, "I didn't want Grant to feel he had to be an athlete. But the fact he has turned out to be one pleases me."
- He has always encouraged his son and watched his games closely.
- He taught his son to be humble and give back to the community.
Loses cool points for: That ugly sweater.
Whose dad? NFL stars Peyton and Eli, and Cooper.
- He groomed his sons to be quarterbacks without forcing them into it. Not an easy trick to pull off.
- Although he was a famous NFL player himself, he didn’t want his family to get into the whole celebrity culture as the boys were growing up. In his own words: "That’s not what we wanted for the boys. We wanted them to play everything they could, be involved in as many school events as they could."
Who is he? Grand Poobah of the court.
- He "established the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004 with his mother Gloria to help out children and single-parent families in need."
- Despite his intense schedule and the pressure he puts on himself to be the best, he makes time to play around with his two sons.
- The guy is a phenom. Watch Game 7 of the recent Heat vs. Pacers playoff series; you'll need no further evidence.
Who is he? "The Spider," arguably the greatest pound-for-pound MMA fighter of all time.
Who is he? Husband of Victoria Beckham and former world football great.
Who is he? Rugby World Cup champion and Hall of Famer, father of twin daughters.
- He helped to produce a guide for new (and anxious) parents. In his own words, "...spending quality time with [your newborns], learning how to cuddle, and reading up beforehand really helps to increase your confidence."
- He is clinically deaf and "is helping to publicise a series of video clips of signing for rugby players."
Whose dad? Former track star Derek Redmond.
- He was the orchestrator of the greatest, most inspirational father-son moment in sporting history.
Whose dad? Former boxer Laila Ali.