Some families just have amazing genes. And sometimes, that translates to sports. It’s so difficult to become an elite athlete that when one single family produces multiple sports stars, you have to rub your eyes with disbelief. Their incredible genetics help them get to the very top and perform at the highest levels. There’s something special about a dynasty of sports stars.
Today, we’re going to look at 30 different families who succeeded in playing professionally as elite athletes. We’re talking about father-son duos, brothers and sisters, and even sprawling, extended families. Our chosen athletes come from many different sporting backgrounds, but they’re all brilliant.
Of course, if one generation performs well, they’re going to inspire their sons and daughters to follow in their footsteps. They’ll also probably have the money to pay for the best coaching to maximize their chances of success. Check out our list of the best sporting families below.
30. The Barrys
Imagine four brothers making it in the NBA. Sounds totally ludicrous, right? Well, that’s exactly what the Barrys achieved. Jon and Brent were the most successful of the brothers, spending 14 years in the NBA before becoming broadcasters. However, Scooter and Drew also played professionally, while their half brother Canyon had a superb college career with the University of Florida.
It probably shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that they were all so good at basketball. After all, their dad is eight-time All-Star and Hall of Famer Rick Barry. Meanwhile, even Canyon’s mother was a supreme basketball talent. Lynn Norenberg Barry is a legend from the College of William and Mary.
Almost every high school has its own wrestling team in the United States. The brothers Dave and Mark Schultz play an immortal role in the sport’s legacy in America. They’re the only brothers in US amateur wrestling to win World and Olympic gold. Furthermore, they also won more NCAA, US Open, World, and Olympic titles than any brothers in history.
Both of them are Hall of Famers. However, their story isn’t completely happy. In 1996, wrestling coach John Du Pont shot Dave to death in cold blood. Unsurprisingly Hollywood loved their story and made a movie about their lives. Foxcatcher stars Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carrell, and Channing Tatum.
The real-life Waltons are basketball royalty. First, there was Bill, who needs no introduction. The Hall 0f Famer played with distinction at both the NCAA and NBA levels. One of the greatest to ever step onto a court, he’s an All-Star, a two-time NBA champion, and an MVP. He passed down those genes to his sons.
His eldest son, Luke, is definitely the most successful so far. As well as winning two NBA championships, he’s now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Meanwhile, his brothers Adam, Nate, and Chris all played in the NCAA with varying degrees of success.
Simeone and Filippo Inzaghi are two of Italian soccer’s most important siblings. The latter was definitely more successful on the playing field. ‘Pippo’ famously scored two goals in the 2007 Champion’s League final against Liverpool and was very prolific for AC Milan. Meanwhile, Simeone had a very respectable career with Lazio.
However, the tables have turned since the two brothers retired. Simeone is now the one experiencing more success as a manager. The Lazio boss is one of Italy’s most exciting young managers. Filippo might have been the better player, but he’s still getting to grips with management. He’s currently with Benevento in Serie B.
The Spinks family is legendary in the boxing world. First of all, Michael held the light-heavyweight title from 1983-85 and the lineal heavyweight title from 1985-88. Younger brother Leon also had great success as an amateur, winning multiple championships. But in his career as a professional, he stunned the world by knocking out Muhammad Ali.
That achievement alone is enough to live off for the rest of your life. Leon’s son Cory was also a very impressive professional in his own right. He was an undisputed welterweight champion from 2003-05. Then, he went on to become a two-division champion, winning the IBF Junior Middleweight title. You don’t want to mess with this family.
Gordie and his sons, Mark and Marty, are stalwarts in hockey’s roster of legends. The former in particular is an icon of the sport, forever remembered by the name Mr. Hockey. Additionally, Gordie’s brother Vic played 33 games for the New York Rangers in the 1950s. But it was Gordie’s sons who would live up to the legendary player’s name.
Mark and Marty played professional hockey for 22 and 12 seasons, respectively. The elder brother joined his father on the Hall of Fame list in 2011. Incredibly, the trio even played together with the Houston Aeros between 1973 and 1977. They’re a true hockey dynasty.
Sometimes talent truly does run in the family. Don Hasselbeck completed nine seasons as an NFL tight end and won Super Bowl XVIII before his sons arrived on the scene. Matt and Tim can be proud of what they achieved in the NFL. They never won the Superbowl like their father, but still had excellent careers.
Matt played for 17 seasons with franchises like the Seahawks, Packers, and Colts. He earned three Pro Bowl selections along the way. Meanwhile, Tim played for seven seasons with seven different teams. Then he transitioned to media work, becoming an analyst for ESPN. When he retired, Matt joined Tim on the network.
Let’s start off with the father of the Wright clan, Ian. The former Arsenal forward is one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history. As well as playing soccer for the Gunners, he also performed for Crystal Palace and England with distinction. Of course, he passed his talents on to his adopted sons, who were excellent players too.
Shaun had two spells at Manchester City, either side of time spent at Chelsea where he accumulated a crazy amount of trophies. Later in his career, he’d join his brother Bradley at the New York Red Bulls. Bradley has a legendary status in the Big Apple, where he’s arguably the Bulls’ greatest-ever player.
The first of two father-and-son soccer goalkeeping duos on this list, Miguel and Pepe both had fabulous careers. Father Miguel spent six seasons apiece with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. He’d win six major titles throughout his career. Meanwhile, Pepe has played for the likes of Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Napoli and AC Milan with distinction.
Arguably the younger Reina has not won as many trophies as he could have in his career, but his cabinet is still impressive. Infamously, both men failed to win the Champion’s Leagues when they had the opportunity to do so. However, both of these men are brilliant Spanish goalkeepers.
This father-son baseball duo boasts some of the best stats in the history of the MLB. First, you had Bobby, who was the first player to have more than two seasons of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Only one player has matched that. Yes, you guessed it, his son Barry.
The pair make up the most potent father-son team in MLB history according to their combined home run, RBI, and stolen base totals. However, Barry is controversial, especially because of the 2007 baseball doping scandal. He’s still a 14-time All-Star.
The Los Angles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has definitely got something right. As well as being a very good player in his own right, his sons have burst onto the scene. Austin plays with his dad at the Clippers, while Jeremiah played NCAA ball for Georgetown and Indiana. Meanwhile, Callie played volleyball for the Florida Gators.
However, it goes even further than that. Doc’s uncle is nine-year NBA veteran Jim Brewer. Some special genes definitely run in the family. It doesn’t stop there, as his cousin Byron Irvin starred for the Portland Trail Blazers, while another cousin, Ken Singleton, is a former MLB outfielder.
Mazinho was a brilliant soccer player for Brazil. First of all, he won the World Cup with his nation in 1986. Then he went on to bring home the Copa America. He had a nomadic career at club level, playing for the likes of Valencia, Celta Vigo and Vasco De Gama. However, his sons have definitely achieved even more success with their clubs.
Thiago Alcantara is definitely the more famous of the two. The Bayern Munich midfielder is a brilliant technician in the centre of the park. A true maestro, the Spain international brilliantly controls the game. Meanwhile, his younger brother Rafinha is on Barcelona’s books. However, he chooses to represent their father’s native Brazil.
Many consider Peter Schmeichal to be the best goalkeeper in Premier League history. The Danish international played a major role in Manchester United’s success through the 1990s. Furthermore, he even scored 10 goals across his professional career. The elder Schmeichel also famously never lost a Manchester derby despite playing for both teams in the city.
Meanwhile, his son Kasper has gone on to have a very successful career of his own. Denmark’s number one goalkeeper played a major role in Leicester City’s astonishing Premier League title win. In short, both of these men are charismatic, physical presences who inspire confidence in their back lines.
This isn’t just a family of hockey players, it’s a clan. The brothers Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich, and Ron played almost 5000 NHL games collectively. Their parents definitely should be proud. Not just that, but they also won the Stanley Cup six times as players and twice more as coaches.
Now we’re into the second generation, with six Sutters currently playing in the NHL. Shaun, Brett, Brandon, Brody and Luka were all drafted, while a daughter, Riley, plays in the WHL. The Sutters seem determined to establish a dynasty and take over the hockey world.
This family’s NFL history stretches as far back as 1981. The Oakland Raiders drafted defensive end Howie. He played for 13 Hall-of-Fame seasons before he retired with eight Pro Bowl selections, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, and a Super Bowl XVIII ring. But his family was just starting out.
His son Chris was next to achieve greatness as a defensive end, winning two Super Bowls. The first was with the Patriots in 2016. Then, a year later he’d bring glory to the Philidelphia Eagles, claiming his second ring. Meanwhile, his brother Kyle has been a guard with the Chicago Bears since 2013 and Howie Jr. is an analyst with the Raiders.
These two half-brothers show just how different soccer careers can be. First, you have Kevin-Prince who currently plays for Fiorentina. He’s led a nomadic career, playing for twelve different clubs. An attacking-midfielder, Kevin-Prince is a precocious talent, but his attitude has let him down at various stages.
Then you have Jerome. Unlike his half-brother, he’s a center-back and has spent the majority of his career with German powerhouses Bayern Munich. Also, he opted to play international football for Germany, while his brother is a Ghana international. The complicated duo has even played each other on the world stage.
Only one driver has ever won races at Formula 1, Nascar, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championships, midget cars, and sprint cars. That’s the elder statesman of the Andretti clan, the legendary Mario. Another of his incredible accomplishments was getting his sons Michael and Jeff to follow in his footsteps.
The two brothers’ cousins John and Adam also became racing drivers. Now we’re into the third generation of Andrettis, with Marco, the son of Michael, currently plying his trade as an Indy Car driver. What is it with this family and its need for speed? You’ve got to love it.
How could Cal Ripken Jr. not become a Hall of Famer? To sum it up, he was a 19-time All-Star and a two-time MVP. Furthermore, he played a remarkable 2632 consecutive games, tallying 3184 hits and 431 home runs along the way. However, he wasn’t the only baseball player in his family, nor even the only Baltimore Orioles star.
‘The Iron Man’s’ father Cal Sr. also played for and managed the Orioles. In 1987, Cal Sr. became the first father to manage two sons simultaneously. Although Billy’s career was much less impressive, it’s still an incredible achievement for the family.
What a pair these two are. The father-son boxing duo are two of Britain’s best-ever products. Chris Sr. is the former WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion. Famed as much for his eccentric personality as for his skills in the ring, there’s nobody quite like him in the boxing world.
Now his son has arrived on the scene. Chris Jr. is a very different character to his unconventional father. The 30-year-old approaches boxing with laser focus. He’s one of the best middleweights in the world. He currently holds the ‘well-respected’ IBO super-middleweight title and has his eyes on bigger things.
These two brothers are two of Scandinavian soccer’s greatest exports. Michael is the most famous of the two, and rightfully so. He won four successive La Liga titles with Barcelona and then went on to win another with arch-rivals Real Madrid. To sum up, he was one of the most elegant and skilful players in the history of the game.
Then you had Brian, who was an excellent player in his own right. Although injuries would strike him at unfortunate times in his career, he was still a great player. Brian won two Danish league titles as well as three Scottish Championships. He was also the Danish Player of the Year a record four times.
The brothers Henrik and Daniel had almost identical career paths. They signed with the Vancouver Canucks and would play there their entire careers. The only exception was during the year of the NHL lockout when they went to Sweden. During that year they played for Modo Sport, following in the footsteps of their father.
However, stylistically, these two brothers played quite differently. Henrik is a centre who has over 830 assists, while Daniel is a left-wing with 393 goals. These two men have been very successful, winning an Art Ross Trophy, two All-Star selections, and Olympic gold.
Rugby is one of the toughest sports on the planet but the Kearney brothers are very good at it. The Ireland internationals have achieved remarkable success at the highest level of the game. Both men play for Leinster, with whom they’ve won European Cups. Dave also played in every single game of Ireland’s 2014 Six Nations win.
However, elder brother Rob is definitely the more famous of the two. Rightfully so, as he’s been a mainstay for club and country for over 10 years. The Ireland star has won the Lions Series, four Heinekin Cups and four Six Nations. That’s why he’s one of the best fullbacks in the Northern Hemisphere.
It’s fair to say that these two men are boxing’s most terrifying brothers. Wladimir and Vitaly are legendary figures in modern boxing. After the retirement of Lennox Lewis, they emerged to become the best heavyweight boxers of their era. They held every heavyweight title for over 10 years. These two hulking men were brilliant.
Nobody ever managed to knock down Vitaly. However, Wladimir was arguably the better boxer. He’d become the unified champion when his brother retired and held the WBA, WBO, IBO, IBF, Ring Magazine and lineal titles. You can’t be more undisputed than that.
This father-and-son duo are both hockey Hall of Famers. Bobby and his son Brett both racked up more than 50 goals in a season and have more than 600 career goals. Furthermore, they’re both Stanley Cup winners. Bobby won it once, while Brett got his hands on the top prize twice.
That’s not all, though. They both finished their careers with over 1000 points each and were Hart Memorial Trophy winners. Finally, Bobby’s brother Dennis also played in the NHL. His career wasn’t as distinguished, but he still managed 14 seasons at the top and played for six with his brother on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Somehow Henry and Linda Staal managed to produce four NHL players. That’s even crazier when you consider that the couple weren’t athletes themselves. The Canadian sod farmers still managed to inspire their children onto greatness. The eldest, Eric, currently plays for the Minnesota Wild but spent most of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Second in line is Marc, who has always played for the New York Rangers, even sharing a season there with Eric. Jordan was also briefly a teammate of Eric’s with the Hurricanes. Then you have Jared who is currently playing in Scotland. So far he has only two NHL appearances to his name. They were with the Hurricanes alongside his brothers.
Serena and Venus are two of the most famous women in the world. Both of them are brilliant tennis players. First of all, their dad Richard decided to train them from the age of four. It definitely worked out well because they’re incredibly successful. Venus has won seven grand slam titles, while Serena has won a remarkable 23.
Not only that, but the sisters have won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles together, as well as four Olympic gold medals each. There’s no real sibling rivalry here except when they play each other. These two sisters have inspired a generation of young women to reach beyond themselves.
Everybody knows how good Muhammad Ali was. The legendary heavyweight champion is an icon. In short, he’s the most famous boxer of all time. Not only was he magnificent in the ring, but his cultural impact knew no bounds. But did you know that he’s not the only successful professional boxer in his family?
First of all, his brother Rahman Ali (born Rudy Clay) went 14-3 in his pro career. Meanwhile, Muhammad’s own daughter, Laila, went on to become one of the most successful female boxers ever. She held the WBC, WIBA, IWBF and IBA female super middleweight titles, as well as the IWBF light heavyweight titles. It runs in the family.
Imagine feeding these men. The Vunipolas are rugby royalty. First of all, the brothers Manu, Fe’Ao, Elisi represented Tonga throughout the late 80s and early 90s. Then Fe’ao’s sons broke onto the scene, choosing instead to play for England. Mako and Billy are mainstays for their chosen country and for English Premiership team Saracens.
Mako was the 2018 England Player of the Year. Both he and Billy are members of England’s 2019 World Cup squad. Who would want to come up against either of these behemoths? Finally, their uncle Manu is now the Minister of Sport in Tonga. This family lives and breathes rugby.
These men had phenomenal football careers. First of all, their father, Archie, played for 16 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, and Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, Super Bowl success remained elusive. He never managed to get his hands on the NFL’s most coveted prize.
However, his sons have managed to achieve what he failed to. Peyton won Super Bowls with the Colts and Broncos before he retired in 2016. Then, Eli led the New York Giants to success in Super Bowl XLII and XL. To sum up, this is an incredibly talented family of elite athletes.
Fans of the Alis might not like this, but the Mayweathers are boxing’s greatest family. Spanning two generations, Roger, Floyd Sr., and Jeff all had decent professional careers. The former in particular was a top fighter, becoming a two-weight world champion. Now they’re all boxing trainers.
Of course, Floyd Jr. brought the family’s name to the next level. The five-weight champion won an incredible 15 titles and retired with an unbeaten record of 50-0. In short, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is one of the best boxers of all-time. Love them or loathe them, this family is truly something special.