MARLBORO, NY – Today is the day we honor dear old Dad and if you have sports running through your veins this is the man to thank. It doesn’t matter if you rode the bench or excelled during youth sports it’s that you participated with a little push from your father. There have been many famous athletes who spawned all-star athletes of their own and here’s a look at some of my favorites.
Muhammad Ali proclaimed many times over to be The Greatest boxer of all-time. While GOAT arguments in any sport is always open to debate, his daughter Laila Ali is without discussion the absolute best female boxer in what is a relatively new sport as she retired undefeated in 24 fights. Laila is also easy on the eyes.
While on the subject of boxing greats, Ken Norton was once a heavyweight champion during the Golden Age of that weight division in the 1970’s. He is a HOF boxer who, like Joe Frazier, had his own epic trilogy with Ali that resulted in some of the closest if not controversial matches you’ll ever witness. Ken Norton, Jr. has carved an impressive career of his own in the NFL. A Super Bowl Champion three times as a player, once as an assistant coach, and is now defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders.
Cal Ripken, Sr. raised two MLB sons–Cal, Jr. and Billy both playing in their father’s Baltimore Orioles organization. One was famous and the other infamous as I’m sure you can remember Cal’s Iron Man streak and two-way ability at shortstop all those years but his brother’s 1989 baseball card was pretty special in it’s own respect. Take a look for yourself f***face!
When it comes to professional basketball, I was taken in by the red, white, and blue ball used by the ABA and followed the rogue league until it folded. One of the first big-name defectors was New Jersey-born Rick Barry and his underhanded free throw. Barry, a HOFer, produced four basketball-playing sons–Scooter, Jon, and Drew couldn’t hold a candle to their brother Brent who won a couple of championships with the San Antonio Spurs and more unlikely, a Slam Dunk Contest thus proving a white man can jump.
Some call Gordie Howe hockey’s GOAT which I tend to differ (Robert Gordon Orr all day long). Since it’s Father’s Day you have to say that playing professional hockey with your offspring is pretty special and sharing a place in the HOF with one of them is amazing. Marty was the lesser talented son while Mark became a two-way HOF defensemen. Both played alongside Pop with the WHA’s Houston Aeros and later, the Hartford Whalers. Honorable mention: Bobby Hull and son, Brett (The Matts ignored this and blasted me for me for not mentioning them).
When your dad is a very serviceable basketball player, it’s only natural for you to want to play…hockey? Well, when you grow up north of the border and all the other kids are skating with sticks it’s not so unusual. Popeye Jones played three season for the Toronto Raptors in the late 90’s during his son Seth’s formative years. Now a defensemen for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Seth was drafted #4 overall in 2013 and is a better hockey player than his father was at basketball.