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Athletes You Didn't Know Were Related

Laura DeptaFeatured Columnist IIIJanuary 16, 2017

Athletes You Didn't Know Were Related

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    Bill Baptist/Getty Images

    Did you know that Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter are related? What about Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair?

    Of course everyone knows about the athletic bloodlines of the Mannings and Williams, the auto-racing genes of the Earnhardt and Busch families and the brotherly love of Jim and John Harbaugh. (And if you didn’t know that Peyton and Eli are brothers, then welcome out from under your rock. It’s nice to see you.)

    Today, we will not be discussing these well-known sports clans but rather examining some less-obvious family ties. Whether it’s nature, nurture or a little of both, these sets of relatives keep sports all in the family.

Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Jimmy Walker was a college All-American, a No. 1 draft pick and a two-time NBA All-Star. He was also the biological father of former NBA player and current analyst Jalen Rose. Although he was partly named after his father, Rose and Walker never actually met. Walker died of lung cancer in 2007.

Matthews Family: Part 1

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Mannings are often referred to as Football’s First Family, but when it comes down to sheer numbers, the Matthews clan has them beat.

    The Clay Matthews who terrorizes opposing quarterbacks for the Green Bay Packers is actually Clay Matthew III. Clay Matthews Sr., the family patriarch, was an NFL linebacker in the 1950s.

    His son Clay Jr. was a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker who played 19 years with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.

    And his grandsons, Clay III and Casey, are both NFL linebackers—Clay III is a Pro Bowler and one of the fiercest defenders in the game. You with me? We're not done yet...

Matthews Family: Part 2

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    Jake Matthews
    Jake MatthewsUSA TODAY Sports

    Bruce Matthews, another son of Clay Sr., also heads a family of footballers. He is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who was selected for 14 Pro Bowls during his 19-year NFL career.

    Bruce’s sons Jake, Kevin and Mike all play, you guessed it, football. Jake was just drafted by his grandfather’s old team, the Atlanta Falcons. Kevin is a center for the Tennessee Titans, and Mike is following in Kevin's footsteps at Texas A&M.

    I'd pay money to see the Thanksgiving Day pickup game in this house. 

The Cromarties

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Defense and speed runs in the Cromartie family. New York Giant Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the cousin of Arizona Cardinal Antonio Cromartie—both play cornerback and play it well. The cousins each have “Pro Bowl” listed on their resumes.

The Millers

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    Drew and Ryan Miller
    Drew and Ryan MillerBill Wippert/Getty Images

    Kelly, Kevin, Kip, Ryan and Drew Miller don’t just have a last name and a sport in common—they have a college in common as well. All five boys played hockey at Michigan State University before moving onto the NHL.

    Kelly, Kevin and Kip are the sons of Lyle Miller, while Ryan and Drew are the sons of Dean Miller. Both Lyle and Dean also played hockey at MSU.

    In fact, all told, 10 members of the Miller family played hockey at Michigan State, and two of them—Kip and Ryan—won the Hobey Baker Award.

Barry and Shane Larkin

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Barry Larkin patrolled the infield for the Cincinnati Reds from 1986-2004 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. His son Shane, however, chose not to follow in his father’s baseball footsteps.

    After two years as the point guard for the University of Miami’s basketball team, Shane Larkin was selected 18th overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, who promptly traded him to the Dallas Mavericks.

Howie, Chris and Kyle Long

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    Howie and Chris Long
    Howie and Chris LongAssociated Press

    Howie Long was an NFL defensive end for 13 years, racking up accolades along the way and ultimately entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now he spends his Sundays hanging out with Jimmy Johnson and analyzing games on Fox NFL Sunday.

    His sons, Chris and Kyle, both play in the NFL—Chris was the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2008, and Kyle was taken at No. 20 in 2013 by the Chicago Bears.

    In the 2013 matchup between the Rams and Bears, Chris displayed a healthy dose of sibling rivalry, charging onto the field from the sidelines to pull his brother off his Rams teammate. 

JaVale and Pamela McGee

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    Bill Baptist/Getty Images

    JaVale McGee is a 7’0” center with the Denver Nuggets. His mother Pamela McGee played professionally in Europe and the WNBA after an amateur career that included two national championships at USC and an Olympic gold medal.

    To document their unique dynamic, the McGees star in a reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Mom’s Got Game. Oh, that's clever.

Mike Backman, Matt Moulson and Jonathan Quick

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Mike Backman, former New York Ranger, is a father to two boys and two girls. His boys, Sean and Brett, play minor league and high school hockey, respectively.

    His girls, Alicia and Jaclyn, are married to a couple of slightly bigger hockey names—Alicia to Matt Moulson of the Minnesota Wild and Jaclyn to Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

    Backman could be hockey’s most famous father-in-law.

Ed Carpenter and Tony George

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    All you race fans out there probably know that Ed Carpenter, owner of Ed Carpenter Racing, was recently thwarted again in his attempt to win his first Indianapolis 500. What you might not know is that Carpenter is the stepson of Tony George.

    George was the president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway until 2009. He is also perhaps best known as the man who created the Indy Racing League in 1994, splitting off from the CART IndyCar World Series and sparking a decline in popularity from which IndyCar has still not recovered.  

Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Basketball cousins Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair have both signed on to play basketball in China after careers in the NBA.

    Marbury, who played in the NBA for 13 seasons and made two All-Star teams, has been in the Chinese Basketball Association since 2010.

    Telfair reportedly signed a one-year deal with another Chinese team around the same time that his cousin signed a three-year extension in 2013.

Chris Chelios and Nikos Tselios

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The fact that their last names rhyme (obviously) doesn’t mean these former NHL defensemen are related—but the fact that their dads are brothers does.

    Chris’ father Gus changed the family name from Tselios to Chelios. According to Nikos, his cousin’s last name and his are pronounced the same, but Tselios represents the Greek spelling.

Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    According to Sports Illustrated, this one is a bit complicated—but Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady are in fact related—to the tune of step second cousins once removed.

    The accomplished cousins played on the same Toronto Raptors team for two seasons and were also teammates on the U.S. men's basketball team at the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

    Perhaps the set of relatives with the greatest and most equal levels of talent, both McGrady and Carter will at least be in the Hall of Fame discussion when the time comes.

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