Top 7 Father-Son Combinations in NBA History
With so many sons having chosen to follow in the footsteps of their fathers and join the NBA, I decided to write an article that would detail the top seven father-son combinations in the history of the NBA.
The ranking of these combos is based on the collective reputations, success and contributions to the league by the father and son(s) through both coaching and playing.
George and Larry Mikan
Stan and Kevin Love
Mike and Mike (Jr.) Dunleavy
Wes and Wesley Mathews
Patrick and Patrick (Jr.) Ewing
Henry and Mike Bibby
7. George and Coby Karl
Okay, this one is a stretch, but hear me out. This is the only combo where I will be looking past the stats and on court accolades, and instead be examining the will and strength of the individuals.
Not only did both George and Coby play in the league (yes, I realize that they both experienced short and somewhat unremarkable careers), but they both have survived cancer. Their resolve and determination is inspiring, as both battled cancer during the midst of their careers.
George has had prostate and throat cancer, but, through treatment and with a drive to survive, he has kept himself from succumbing to the disease.
George said that “cancer is a vicious opponent. Even the ones that are treatable, you never get a 100-percent guaranteed contract.”
Coby had thyroid cancer while playing for Boise St. He was a redshirt junior at the time and had to undergo an extensive and invasive seven-hour surgery to remove the growth.
Despite his battle with cancer during his collegiate career, he still managed to play for several NBA teams.
He hasn’t had much success on the NBA level, but did manage to average 18.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 65 D-League Games.
He currently plays overseas in Spain for CB Granada.
The fight and will within these two individuals earns them the No. 7 spot.
6. Bill and Luke Walton & Dolph and Danny Schayes
I combined these two tandems because of their similarities: phenomenal fathers and subpar sons.
Bill and Dolph were voted as two of the 50 Greatest Players of All time, while Luke and Danny are only recognized because of their fathers' success.
Bill averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds, while earning multiple All-NBA and All-Defensive selections. He also managed to win two championships, one MVP Award and one Finals MVP Award.
Dolph averaged over 18 points and 12 rebounds, while receiving 12 All-NBA selections and playing in 12 All-Star games. He also won one NBA championship with the Syracuse Nationals in ‘55.
The dads carry these two duos into the six spot.
5. Dell and Stephen Curry
Okay, I understand that Stephen Curry has only played two seasons in the league, but the baby-faced kid is an assassin and has a long, successful career ahead of him.
He has put up 18 points, four rebounds and nearly six assists a game for the Warriors (not to mention he’s doing this while competing for touches with Monte Ellis).
He earned All-Rookie Honors his first year in the league and is closing in on All-NBA honors.
Steph has one of the best strokes in the league exemplified by his league best 93 percent free throw mark this year, as well as his astounding 44 percent career average from the three-point line.
It’s obvious where Steph got his shot from when looking at the career of his dad.
Dell Curry averaged 11 points a game, on 40 percent three's and 84 percent free throws. Dell also won the Sixth Man of the Year award for his solid play during the '93-'94 season.
The Curry's silky-smooth shooting earns them the five spot.
4. Ernie and Kiki Vandeweghe
Ernie Vandeweghe played six years with the Knicks during the 1950s. He managed to average 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.
Kiki put up 19.7 points and 3.4 rebounds during his 13 year career.
During his prime ('81-'88 seasons), he averaged over 24 points and four rebounds a game. His exploits on the court earned him two All-Star appearances.
The Vandeweghe’s production earns them the No. 4 spot on the top father-son combos of all-time.
3. Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose
Jimmy Walker, Jalen Rose’s dad, averaged 16.7 points and 3.5 assists during his nine year career. He was selected to two NBA All-Star games during the 1970s.
Jalen Rose put up similar numbers during the course of his career with over 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
During his “prime” (what I would consider his '99-'03 seasons) he averaged about 20 points, four assists and four rebounds. Rose was also given the Most Improved Player Award for the 2000 season.
This father-son duo gets the nod for the three spot because of their consistency and success on the hardwood.
2. Joe “Jelly Bean” and Kobe Bryant
We all know why this combo is on the top five, so I’m going to make the write-up on “Jelly Bean” short.
He put up 8.7 points and four rebounds a game during his eight year career. Joe is more known for his nickname and superstar son than for his own accomplishments on the court.
Kobe needs no introduction, and his achievements could take up another entire article, but I’ll try to sum it up in as few sentences.
He has career averages of 25.3 points, 4.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds.
He has managed to be selected to an All-NBA team an astounding 13 times and an All-Defensive team 11 times.
He has played in 13 All-Star games resulting in four All-Star MVP Awards.
He has one MVP award, two Finals MVP Awards and five NBA championships. All of this puts Kobe at the two spot for all-time best shooting guards, as well as for being one of the top 10 greatest ever.
If Mark Madsen was the other half of the Bryant family, they would still be in the top seven. Kobe’s success alone places them at the two spot.
1. Rick and Jon, Brent and Drew Barry
Rick Barry, the father of this phenomenal basketball family, averaged over 23 points, six rebounds and five assists in his 10 NBA seasons.
Rick also played four seasons in the ABA in which he averaged over 30 points, seven rebounds and four assists a game.
He was by far the most accomplished of the group with eight NBA All-Star appearances, five All-NBA first team selections, one NBA championship and one Finals MVP Award.
He is also third all time with an astounding 90 percent free throw percentage.
Jon Barry averaged 5.7 points, 2.2 assists and shot 39 percent from the three-point line. He had a 14 year stint in the league.
Brent Barry, arguably the best Barry behind his father, averaged over nine points, three rebounds and three assists a game during his 14 year career.
Drew Barry had the shortest and most unsuccessful career of the family with averages of 2.2 points and 38 percent on three's a game in three NBA seasons.
Yes, only Rick was a "great" player, but the fact that four individuals from the same family played in the league, and for a combined 41 NBA seasons, is remarkable and unrivaled.
Interesting Fact: Bruce Hale, Rick Barry's father-in-law, played three seasons in the BAA and two seasons in the NBA.