With an all-Williams Wimbledon final very possible, I thought about how rare their greatness is.
Plenty of us play sports but few ever make it to the ranks of professional. Even fewer are those who make it and are able to dominate at the highest level.
Now imagine the odds of siblings making it to the pros and excelling at a Hall of Fame level.
There have been some formidable sports siblings before, but often one of the siblings is great and the other is average or more often than that both siblings are just average.
Siblings in the professional ranks include the DiMaggio brothers, the Alomars, Niekros, and Pedro and Ramon Martinez of Major League Baseball; the Sutters, and Staals of the NHL; the Wilkins, Barrys and Grants of the NBA; and the Barbers, Matthews', and Golics of the NFL to name a few.
Here's my list of the five greatest sports siblings of all time.
Vitali, the oldest of the Klitschko brothers, started as a kickboxer before becoming a champion boxer.
His overall record is 37-2 and his two defeats were fights that were stopped because of injury/cuts (Lennox Lewis, Chris Byrd) and Vitali was winning both of those fights when the stoppage occurred.
He is credited for having a great chin and great toughness. Vitali is the current WBC Heavyweight Champion.
Wladimir is the younger brother and is widely considered to be the more skilled of the two brothers.
He is 53-3 with 47 KOs and is the current IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine Heavyweight Champion.
Wladimir is also the 1996 Super Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist.
I grew up around brothers that could both fight but who would have ever thought two brothers from the Ukraine would both hold the historic title of Heavyweight Champion of the World?
Some may say the era they fought in was weak but even if it is this is incredible. Rare indeed.
Mack Robinson was a world-class Sprinter, world record-holder, Olympic silver medalist in 200 meters in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Second only to Jessie Owens in those Olympics, the medals they both won had a larger political meaning, debunking Hitler’s racist views.
Robinson briefly held the world record but Owens set a new world record in the Olympic final, running 20.7. Mack’s personal best in the 200 meters was 20.8 just a tenth of a second from Owens' world record.
Mack’s athletic greatness has been largely overshadowed by two icons, the great Jessie Owens and Mack’s younger brother Jackie.
This does not make his accomplishments any less noteworthy—breaking world records and being faster than everyone in the world not named Jessie Owens is no small feat.
Jackie was one of the greatest athletes of all time and arguably the most important American athlete of all time.
In high School, Jackie lettered in five sports (baseball, football, basketball, tennis, and track and field).
At UCLA he became the first varsity athlete to letter in four sports (baseball, basketball, football and track and field).
After excelling in the Negro Leagues, Jackie was given the opportunity to break the color barrier and play in the major leagues.
He was a 28-year-old rookie and went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in 1947.
Despite all the blatant racism and the verbal and mental abuse he suffered, Jackie went on to have a Hall of Fame career playing mostly second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
He was a champion, an MVP, and a six-time All-Star. Imagine if he would have played a full career starting at 20 or 21.
Peyton Manning is in the midst of one of the greatest careers we have witnessed in NFL history. He is among the elite quarterbacks of all time.
Statistically, when it’s all said and done, Peyton will be at or near the top of almost every meaningful statistical category.
He also has led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory and has plenty left in the tank to try to win another. Peyton is the second NFL player ever to win three MVP awards.
Eli Manning is a Pro Bowl NFL quarterback, which by itself is an elite level to reach in sports.
Eli has led his New York Giants to a Super Bowl championship, winning Super Bowl MVP honors of his own.
While he is not considered to be on equal footing with his big brother, he is young and has proven he can win the big one.
Getting a scholarship to play quarterback in D-1 College football is special, but the Manning family is making this look easy. Along with father Archie, the Mannings are the first family of NFL quarterbacks.
Cheryl Miller is considered by many to be the greatest female basketball player of all time.
Her high school stats are eye popping (scoring 105 points in one game), her collegiate career one of the greatest ever winning back-to-back national championships and she's also an Olympic gold medalist.
Cheryl at 6’2" had an all-around game, scoring inside and out while being a great rebounder and defender. She pre-dates the WNBA, but in her prime some wondered how she would fair against NBA competition.
Reggie Miller is one of the greatest shooters to ever lace em up.
He's the all-time NBA leader for three-pointers made (2,560), and one of the best clutch performers in sports. Reggie is a lock for the Hall of Fame and is arguably one of the five best shooting guards of all time.
So in the Millers you have one sibling, Reggie, who is one of the greatest at his position (rare) and the other sibling, Cheryl, who is considered to be the greatest of all time at her sport (even more rare).
Not to mention their brother Darryl was a major league catcher for the Angles.
No. 1: Venus & Serena Williams
Venus Williams has won 56 titles including 17 Grand Slam titles: seven in singles, eight in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles.
She was the 1997 WTA Newcomer of the Year and 2000 WTA Player of the Year.
Venus has been a dominant performer for more than a decade, the queen of Wimbledon, and will go down in history as one of the greatest tennis players ever.
Serena Williams has won 33 titles including 20 Grand Slam titles 10 singles, 8 doubles and 2 mixed doubles.
Serena was the 1998 WTA Newcomer of the Year, 1999 WTA Most Improved Player, and the WTA Player of the Year in 2002 and 2008.
Serena is the most dominant player of her era and performs well on all surfaces. She is already on the short list of the greatest players of all time.
Imagine if Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were brothers or Joe Montana and Tom Brady, perhaps even Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith—you get the idea. That's Venus and Serena.
They are the best two female tennis players in the world in my opinion and both are in the top 10 of all time. That's why they get the No. 1 spot on my list of best sports siblings of all time.
Let me know if you disagree or if I left someone out.