Top 20 Most Well-Known Sports Families

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2014

Top 20 Most Well-Known Sports Families

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    Although I have two extremely talented sisters, the highlight of their athletic careers consisted of the older one earning an All-Star nod in softball in sixth grade, and the younger being told she had "a strong foot" during her short-lived soccer days.

    And while I had some great sports accomplishments, it's not as if people are talking about the Dimengo siblings as the most memorable athletes.

    For a few families, though, it's just the opposite, as they have proven to have quite the athletic skills, with every fan knowing exactly who they are.

    And because we're all jealous of these types of families, I figured I would give you the most well known in sports.

20. The Maldinis

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    LUCA BRUNO/Associated Press

    Enjoying a successful soccer career in Italy between 1952-67, where Cesare Maldini made 451 appearances for three different Italian clubs—most notably, AC Milan for 12 of his 15 seasons—the defender won four league titles and one Euro Cup.

    But Cesare's son, Paolo Maldini, may have even outdone his dad with his career.

    That's because Paolo, who played defender and captained the Italian national team, spent all 24 seasons with AC Milan and is widely considered to be one of the best defenders ever, winning seven Serie A titles, five Euro Cup/Champions League trophies and a second- and third-place finish in the World Cup with Italy.

    The two were a part of the 2002 Italian World Cup team, with dad coaching son as the Azzurri reached the Round of 16 before being eliminated by South Korea.

19. The Gasols

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    Two of the most successful international players to make the journey to the NBA, brothers Pau and Marc Gasol have a combined five All-Star appearances, with Pau winning two NBA titles while with the Los Angeles Lakers and Marc earning Defensive Player of the Year honors during the 2012-13 season as a main cog for the Memphis Grizzlies.

    The Spaniards have joined other European players in proving that the international style of play can work nicely in the States, too.

18. The Gronkowskis

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    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

    It's everyone's favorite bro family—the Gronkowskis!

    Thanks to the craziness that these brothers have put on display over the years, it's hard for sports fans not to identify them, with the best-known sibling being the New England Patriots tight end, Rob.

    Still, Gronk's bros have played in the NFL, too, and the youngest brother, Glenn, is currently the tight end for Kansas State, no doubt wreaking havoc on and off the football field, if the older dudes are any indication.

17. The Currys

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    Following in the footsteps of their dad, Dell Curry, brothers Stephen and Seth Curry have made their way to the NBA, although Seth is currently in the D-League.

    As for the older, Steph Curry has transformed himself from a college superstar into the most lethal shooter in the league, proving to be both consistent and clutch, and becoming a fan favorite for anyone who likes hoops.

    The two brothers may have started at small schools like Davidson and Liberty, but Steph still went No. 7 overall to the Golden State Warriors and Seth transferred to powerhouse Duke, where he averaged 13.2 points per game in his three years in Durham.

16. The Mayweathers

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    Every sports fan knows about Floyd Mayweather Jr., the undefeated boxer who currently holds multiple title belts.

    But don't think that he's the only one who has all of the boxing talent in his family.

    That's because his dad, Floyd Mayweather Sr., was also a pretty well-known fighter, carrying a career record of 28-6 during the '70s and '80s.

    In addition to his dad, Floyd Jr.'s uncles, Roger and Jeff Mayweather, were former boxers who fought professionally in a number of different weight classes, with Roger eventually becoming Money's trainer.

15. The Molinas

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    Want to know something that's pretty cool? The Molina brothers—Yadier, Bengie and Jose—all have at least one World Series ring, with Bengie and Jose each earning one while splitting catching duties with the Anaheim Angels back in 2002.

    In fact, since a Molina took over a team behind the plate, there might not be a better group of catchers in baseball, with the trio helping lead solid pitching staffs and earning Gold Gloves at the same time.

    So, if your favorite team has one of these guys calling the signs, they're probably in good shape.

14. The Staals

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    Simply put, the Staal family has become the first family in hockey thanks to each brother playing in the NHL at one point.

    In fact, the brothers—who consist of Eric, Jared, Jordan and Marc—were all drafted no lower than 49th overall in the NHL draft, with Eric and Jordan Staal both being the No. 2 picks in their respective drafts.

    And although Jared Staal isn't in the NHL—instead currently playing for an AHL team—he did have the chance to play with Eric and Jordan on the Carolina Hurricanes last season.

    With so much talent in one family, it's clear their parents did something right.

13. The Bryants

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Some are familiar with Joe Bryant from a somewhat successful NBA career in the '70s and early '80s, when he averaged 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in his eight seasons.

    But many more know him as the father of a certain superstar by the name of Kobe Bean Bryant, who has put himself into the conversation as a top-10 player in league history thanks to five NBA titles and a current standing as the NBA's fourth all-time leading scorer.

    They may not be the most famous family in hoops history, but they are pretty well known thanks to the Black Mamba's greatness.

12. The Harbaughs

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    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    I don't have a brother, but I would imagine that losing to one has to be a pretty difficult circumstance—especially when it happens on the biggest stage in football.

    That's the feeling San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had following Super Bowl XLVII, where he went head-to-head with older brother John's Baltimore Ravens.

    In one of the more entertaining title games in recent memory, the older Harbaugh came out on top, adding a Super Bowl ring to a family that includes father Jack Harbaugh, who was a head coach for various colleges for 19 seasons.

11. The Ripkens

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    JOE SKIPPER/Associated Press

    Sure, Cal Ripken Jr. is the most recognized from this family thanks to a Hall of Fame career that spanned 21 MLB seasons, but let's not forget that his dad, Cal Ripken Sr., and brother, Billy Ripken, also enjoyed success in baseball.

    Although Billy didn't have the memorable career his older brother did, he did play for 12 years in the majors, proving to be a solid role player for a number of teams.

    With both sons playing under their dad for the Baltimore Orioles for a few years in the late '80s, the Orioles proved to be a family affair.

10. The Earnhardts

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Arguably the most famous family in all of auto racing, the Earnhardts have proven over the past 60 years that they have a full grip on how to successfully drive a race car.

    Starting with Ralph Earnhardt back in the 1950s, the skill was passed on to Dale Earnhardt—who was, and still is, one of the most beloved racers of all time—Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others, with fans taking notice of the popularity and success of each.

    With Dale Jr. in the top 10 in this year's standings, he has another chance to earn a championship, which would only add to the family legacy.

9. The Griffeys

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    You know all of those times you played catch or tee-ball with your dad in the backyard? Yeah, well former slugger Ken Griffey Jr. did it for real—like, in a major league game.

    Playing alongside his dad, Ken Griffey Sr., Junior got the chance to have quite the mentor to look up to for two of his first three seasons in the bigs.

    It looked like it worked, too, as the younger Griffey bolted 630 career homers, won the 1997 AL MVP and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day.

8. The Ryans

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The influence of former head coach and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan is well documented, with his creation of the 46 defense used by both of his sons, Rex and Rob Ryan, as well as a few other active coaches in the game.

    With Rex Ryan the current head man for the New York Jets and Rob Ryan the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, it's clear that the Ryan brothers continues to spread their wisdom passed down from their dad on the game of football.

7. The Pettys

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    Starting with the eldest Petty, Lee, this family helped blaze trails for the stock car racing industry while it was still in its early stages back in the '50s and '60s.

    While Lee Petty became one of the sport's first superstars, his son Richard became one himself, finishing with 200 career wins, which places him atop the all-time wins list in NASCAR history.

    Not to be outdone, Richard's son, Kyle Petty, also enjoyed a successful racing career, with the entire family having a hand in the Petty Racing Team, which has left an impact on the sport even after they got out from behind the wheel.

6. The Barrys

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    It's safe to say that the Barry family has thrust itself into the conversation as the most popular, and talented, in all of basketball.

    Starting with Hall of Famer Rick Barry during the '60s and '70s, his lineage expanded to his sons, Brent, Drew and Jon, who all enjoyed NBA careers—some better than others, of course.

    And while Rick Barry enjoyed winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 1974-75, son Brent had the same title feeling with the San Antonio Spurs twice, proving that the kid outdid the dad in one category.

5. The Matthews

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    While we all probably know the beast that is Clay Matthews III, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, let's not forget the legacy of family members who came before him and tore up pro football, too.

    Clay Matthews Sr.—Clay's grandpa—played for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950s, while the eldest Matthews sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., both enjoyed long NFL careers, with Bruce Matthews being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    With all of those years playing football, one would think the family would have a bunch of rings, right? Wrong.

    Until Clay III won the Super Bowl in 2011, the family hadn't won one.

    More than just these four, there are even more Matthews kids playing football, helping keep the legacy going.

4. The Andrettis

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    The Andrettis have proven to be the most notable family in auto racing, with Mario, Michael, Jeff, John and Marco all being current or former race car drivers.

    Having the distinction of becoming the first family to have four family members racing in the same series—which was over 20 years ago—it's no question they hold down the most famous name in the sport.

    Some might not enjoy entering the family business, but when you're an Andretti, it's a job worth looking forward to.

3. The McMahons

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    Go ahead and say what you will about the "sport" of mainstream wrestling, but the McMahon family has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation.

    As the first family of wrestling, Vince McMahon has turned the WWE into one of the most successful sports and entertainment businesses on the planet and has gotten his entire family involved in running it.

    With his wife Linda's former political career and kids having a major hand in it all, this family only seems to be expanding its empire.

2. The Williams

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    With 25 career singles Grand Slam titles and another 13 doubles Grand Slam titles as partners, Venus and Serena Williams have put themselves in the conversation as the best tennis duo ever.

    Without question the two most famous and successful siblings on the tennis court, the Williams sisters have shown to be the toughest matchup for nearly any opponent who goes up against them.

    Serena remains the top-ranked women's player in the world and has a chance to break Steffi Graf's Open Era record for most singles Grand Slam titles in a career.

1. The Mannings

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    Ronen Zilberman/Associated Press

    Of course the Manning family would sit atop the list of the most well-known sports families.

    While brothers Peyton and Eli Manning are still tossing passes in the NFL these days—with the older Peyton still doing it quite well, actually—their dad, Archie Manning, enjoyed a 13-year NFL career that included two Pro Bowl trips.

    Although Archie didn't sniff the same success as his pro football sons, he showed them the ways of a pro quarterback, no doubt leaving a major impact.

    That's what makes the Mannings the first family of football.


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