When famous athletes make the transition into athletic parents, the world sits in anticipation to see whether their children end up following in their footsteps. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s always an exciting sight to see – not just for fans, but for the athletic parents as well.
Let’s be honest, all athletic parents would love to see their children one day succeed in the sport they found success in themselves. At the same time, it’s wrong to force a career on them and it’s a decision that must be made by the child itself – much like any other profession or hobby.
The most important thing is that the child is happy, the parents are happy, and everyone supports one another’s dreams, goals, and desires. Even if the child doesn’t want to enter the world of sports, they should have the full and unconditional support of their athletic parents.
Which Athletic Parents Have Athletic Children?
Athletic children following in their athletic parents’ footsteps is nothing new in the world of sports. We’ve been witnessing this ever since sports were deemed ‘a thing.’ For some kids, they have dreams of being as good as their parents in sport. For other kids, they dream of being better.
Just look at Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliot, Stephen Curry, Seth Curry, Austin Rivers, Luke Walton, Barry Bonds, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Prince Fielder, Chris Long, Clay Matthews III, Klay Thompson, Ken Griffey Jr., Dwayne Johnson, and Laila Ali.
All the athletes listed above had parents that played the same sport as them and they turned out to have some of the best careers their sport has ever seen. Today, there’s a new flock of athletic children following in their athletic parents’ footsteps. Let’s go ahead and meet some of them!
15. David Beckham & Romeo Beckham
David Beckham is an English football (soccer) player that enjoyed a 20-year professional career. He played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan. He played in 718 matches, scored 127 goals, and had 213 assists.
Beckham’s 19-year old son, Romeo Beckham, started at Arsenal’s Academy in 2014, but decided to pursue a tennis career. After five years, he returned to soccer and made his pro debut with Fort Lauderdale CF in 2021. He now plays for Inter Miami, a team owned by his dad.
14. Dwyane Wade & Zaire Wade
Dwyane Wade is a retired basketball player that spent 16 seasons in the NBA between 2003 and 2019. He averaged 22.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks over his career. He was a three-time champion, 13-time All-Star, and one-time scoring champ.
Wade’s son, Zaire Wade, is currently fighting for a spot in the NBA. He was a three-star recruit out of high school and received several college offers. He was recently selected No. 10 overall in the NBA G-League Draft by the Utah Jazz affiliate. His father is part owner of the Utah Jazz.
13. LeBron James & Bronny James
LeBron James is an active basketball player that will enter his 20th season in the NBA next season. He is averaging 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game over his career. He’s a four-time champion, 18-time All-Star, and four-time MVP.
James’ 17 year-old son, Bronny James, is a junior (Class of 2023) at Sierra Canyon High School and is a four-star recruit with a path to the NBA. He has a long way to go and needs to work on his offensive game, but he plays well on defense and is starting to improve as a player.
12. Scottie Pippen & Scotty Pippen Jr.
Scottie Pippen is a Hall of Fame basketball player that spent 17 seasons in the NBA between 1987 and 2004. He averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game over his career. He was a six-time champion with the Bulls and seven-time All-Star.
Pippen’s 21-year old son, Scotty Pippen Jr., played three seasons at Vanderbilt University and averaged 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.2 blocks during his college career. He recently declared for the 2022 NBA Draft and is expected to be a second round pick.
11. Shaquille O’Neal & Shareef O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is a Hall of Fame basketball player that played 19 seasons in the NBA. He averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game over his career. He was a 15-time All-Star, four-time champion, two-time scoring champ, and MVP.
O’Neal’s 22-year old son, Shareef O’Neal, is currently in the college transfer portal after playing the last two seasons with LSU (his father’s alma mater) and another year with UCLA. He is averaging 2.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as he looks for a final shot at college ball.
10. Tiger Woods & Charlie Woods
Tiger Woods is one of the most dominant golfers of all-time. He turned professional in 1996 and has accumulated 82 wins on the PGA Tour and 15 major championships – including five Master’s, four PGA Championships, three US Opens, and three The Open Championships.
Woods’ 13-year old son, Charlie Woods, is a spitting image of his father. He was born in 2009 and started competing in golf at an early age. In 2020, he won his first junior tournament and he most recently came in second at the 2021 PNC Championship – he was playing with his father.
9. Brad Johnson & Max Johnson
Brad Johnson is a retired football player that spent 15 seasons in the NFL. He finished his career with a 72-53-0 record as starting quarterback, throwing for 29,054 yards, 166 touchdowns, and 122 interceptions. He won a Super Bowl in 2002 with the Buccaneers.
Johnson’s 20-year old son, Max Johnson, is a quarterback for the LSU Tigers. He only played in 6 games as a freshman, but threw for 8 touchdowns and just 1 interception. As a sophomore in 2021, he threw for 2,815 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He’ll continue to improve.
8. Dwayne Johnson & Simone Johnson
Dwayne Johnson, known to many as The Rock, is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time. He spent eight years in the WWE, where he built a name for himself and won 10 world championships. He was a major name during what many refer to as wrestling’s “Attitude Era.”
Johnson’s 20-year old daughter, Simone Johnson, is looking to make a name for herself in the WWE – just like her father. She’s a beast in the gym and is currently one of the top recruits at WWE’s Performance Center. She signed with the WWE in 2020 and should get her shot soon.
7. Vladimir Guerrero & Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Sr. is a Hall of Fame baseball player that spent 16 years in the MLB. He played right field and finished his career with a .318 batting average, 2,590 hits, 449 home runs, 1,496 RBIs, and 1,328 runs scored. He was a one-time MVP in 2004 and nine-time All-Star.
Guerrero’s 23-year old son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., made his MLB debut on April 26, 2019 and has already established himself as one of the best in the game. He has a .290 batting average, 77 home runs, 225 RBIs, and 220 runs scored in just 362 games played in the major leagues.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo & Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese football (soccer) player that is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all-time. He has played for Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. He has played in 930 matches over his career, recording 696 goals and 231 assists.
Ronaldo’s 11-year old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., is currently signed to Manchester United’s youth academy and is already proving he’s worthy of bearing his father’s name. He’s one of the up-and-coming football stars and while he has a ways to go, he will only get better from here.
5. Serena Williams & Olympia Ohanian Jr.
Serena Williams is one of the greatest female tennis players of all-time. She has enjoyed a 27-year professional career, compiling an 855-152 singles record (73 titles, 23 Grand Slams) and 190-34 doubles record (23 titles, 14 Grand Slams). She has been No. 1 for 319 total weeks.
Williams married Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, in November of 2017. Just a few months earlier, in September of 2017, she gave birth to their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.. We don’t know for sure if Olympia will follow in Serena’s footsteps, but she is already showing signs.
4. Wayne Rooney & Kai Rooney
Wayne Rooney is an English football (soccer) player that enjoyed a 20-year career as a player for Everton, Manchester United, D.C. United, and Derby County – a team he’s currently the manager of. He played in 764 career matches, scoring 313 goals and dishing 168 assists.
Rooney’s 12-year old son, Kai Rooney, recently signed with Manchester United’s youth academy and plays alongside Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.. The two are bound to do great things together, with Kai already putting the youth academy on notice with his amazing and fine skills.
3. Anna Kournikova & Mary Iglesias
Anna Kournikova is a former female tennis player that made her professional debut in 1995 and retired in 2003. She had a 209-129 singles record and 200-71 doubles record (16 titles, 2 Grand Slams). Her highest ranking was No. 8, but was forced to retire early due to injuries.
Kournikova married popular singer Enrique Iglesias in 2007 and the two have three children together – twins (Nicholas and Lucy) born in 2017 and a second daughter (Mary) born in 2020. We don’t know if Mary will be a tennis player, but she’s certainly getting dressed for the part!
2. Ryan Lochte & Caiden Lochte
Ryan Lochte is an American swimmer that won 12 Olympic medals for the United States. He holds records in the 200 meter medley, adding 18 gold medals at the World Championships for the long course and 21 gold medals at the World Championships in the short course.
Lochte married Kayla Rae Reid, a former Playboy Playmate of the Month, in January of 2018. Just a few months prior, in June of 2017, the two welcomed their first child, a son named Caiden Lochte. He hasn’t started competing yet, but is definitely taking after his dad in the pool.
1. Emmitt Smith & E.J. Smith
Emmitt Smith is a Hall of Fame running back that spent 15 seasons in the NFL. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all-time and is the league’s leading all-time rusher. He ran for 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns. He won three Super Bowls with Dallas.
Smith’s son, E.J. Smith, is currently a junior at Stanford University. He plays running back and only played in three games as a freshman – recording three catches for seven yards. As a sophomore, he played seven games and recorded 133 rushing yards and one touchdown.
How Will These Kiddos Compare to Their Athletic Parents?
Those are some pretty well-known athletic parents listed above, so it’s no surprise that they have some athletic offspring to support now that their careers are over – or almost over. The real question now is whether or not their children will find success in their own sports career.
Some of the children listed above are well on their way to greatness and have already proven themselves at the professional level. Others have a long way to go and might not ever make it, but that’s not going to stop them from trying. In fact, it might just be the spark that lights their fire.
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I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see where these athletic children and young adults end up. I’ll be keeping my eye on them as they continue their journey in the sports industry and will be hoping to see them perform on the biggest of stages. Will you be following along, as well?
All the Parent and Child Combos That Have Made an Impact in Pro Sports
One of the most fascinating aspects of following pro sports is witnessing second-generation athletes make their athletic parents proud by following in their footsteps – especially when they do so in the same sport. It’s the wonderful cycle of life happening right before our very eyes.
It’s something we’re seeing a lot of right now – in a variety of sports, too! For example, we saw this recently at the MLB Draft, where several high school players with familiar last names made their fathers proud by taking that next step towards becoming a pro sports athlete – including:
Druw Jones (son of Andruw Jones), Jackson Holliday (son of Matt Holliday), Carsten Sabathia (son of CC Sabathia), Justin Crawford (son of Carl Crawford), Cam Collier (son of Lou Collier), Robert Moore (son of Dayton Moore), and Elijah Green (son of Eric Green).
RELATED: 25 Athletes and Their Kids
Parent and Child Combos in Pro Sports
The MLB is beaming with second-generation talent and the new draftees are only the beginning. Jack Leiter (son of Al Leiter) and Darren Baker (son of Dusty Baker) each took part in the 2022 MLB Futures Game – an annual game featuring the MLB’s brightest young prospects.
It’s not just baseball. Shareef O’Neal (son of Shaquille O’Neal) and Scotty Pippen Jr. (son of Scottie Pippen) just finished playing for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League team. They aren’t standout players like their fathers, but they will have an opportunity to impress the NBA.
There are a lot of former pro athletes who are now seeing their children follow their path into pro sports and it’s a beautiful thing – not only that, but we get to witness it all. To celebrate the many parent and child combos in pro sports today, let’s take a look at some of our all-time favorites.
20. Sandy Alomar Sr., Sandy Alomar Jr. & Roberto Alomar
Sandy Alomar Sr. is a retired second baseman who played in the major leagues between 1964 and 1978. During his 15-year career, he made one All-Star appearance and batted a .245 with 1,168 hits, 13 home runs, 282 runs batted in, 558 runs scored, and 227 stolen bases.
Alomar Sr. had two sons that went on to have better careers than him. Sandy Alomar Jr. spent 20 years in the league – a six-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year. Roberto Alomar had a Hall of Fame career, making 12 All-Star appearances and winning two World Series titles.
19. Yannick Noah & Joakim Noah
Yannick Noah is a retired French tennis player who turned pro in 1977 and enjoyed a 19-year career before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. He had a 478-209 singles record, winning 23 singles titles during his career. His biggest win came at the 1983 French Open.
In 1985, two years after winning his only Grand Slam tournament, Noah had a son named Joakim Noah – a retired center who played 13 seasons in the NBA. He was a two-time All-Star and three-time All-Defensive player. He was also the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year.
18. Bobby Bonds & Barry Bonds
Bobby Bonds is a retired right fielder who played 14 seasons in the major leagues between 1968 and 1981. He was a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. He retired with a .268 batting average, 1,886 hits, 332 home runs, 1,024 runs batted in, and 1,258 runs scored.
In 1964, Bonds had a son named Barry Bonds. He didn’t know it at the time, but he and his wife gave birth to one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He played 22 seasons in the MLB and is the all-time leader in home runs, walks, and MVP awards – he won seven MVPs total.
17. Calvin Hill & Grant Hill
Calvin Hill is a retired running back who stood 6-foot-4 and played 12 seasons in the NFL – mostly with the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, 1969 Offensive Rookie of the Year, and even won the 1971 Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys.
In 1972, Hill had a baby boy named Grant Hill. While he wouldn’t follow his father into the NFL, he went on to play 18 seasons in the NBA. Hill was the third overall pick in 1994 and won Rookie of the Year in 1995. He was a seven-time All-Star and was inducted into the HOF.
16. Vladimir Guerrero Sr. & Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Sr. is a Hall of Fame right fielder who spent 16 seasons in the MLB between 1996 and 2011. He finished his career with a .318 batting average, 449 home runs, and 1,496 runs batted in. He was named the 2004 MVP, was a nine-time All-Star, and HR Derby champ.
In 1999, Guerrero Sr. had a baby boy named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and he rocked the family name well. Despite only being in his fourth year in the league, he already has 467 hits, 92 home runs, 270 RBIs, and 260 runs scored. He led the major leagues with 48 home runs last season.
15. Tatyana Ovechkina & Alex Ovechkin
Tatyana Ovechkina is a retired Soviet Russian basketball player who currently runs Russia’s women’s national basketball program. She helped lead Russia to two Olympic gold medals in 1976 and 1980 – as well as the 1975 World Championships and six European Championships.
In 1985, Tatyana gave birth to a baby boy named Alex Ovechkin. Little did she know he would go on to be one of the greatest hockey players of all-time. He will be entering his 18th season in the NHL and is already a 12-time All-Star and one-time Cup winner with 780 career goals.
14. Muhammad Ali & Laila Ali
Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest and most influential boxers of all-time. He turned pro in 1960 and had a 56-5-0 record with 37 knockouts. Before turning pro, he won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. He went on to be a three-time champion who defended his title 19 times.
In 1977, Ali had a baby girl named Laila Ali and she would follow in her father’s footsteps. She turned professional in 1999 and had a legendary 24-0-0 career over the next eight years. She won several titles as a super middleweight, but also won the IWBF title as a light heavyweight.
13. Lee Petty & Richard Petty
Lee Petty is a Hall of Fame racing car driver who appeared in 427 NASCAR Cup Series’ races between 1949 and 1964. He finished his career with 54 wins, 332 top-tens, and 18 poles. Petty was also a three-time Cup Series champion – becoming the first driver to ever achieve that.
In 1937, Lee had a baby boy named Richard Petty and he would go on to follow in his father’s footsteps. In fact, he went on to become one of the greatest drivers of all-time. He appeared in 1,184 races between 1958 and 1992 – winning seven championships and a record 200 races.
12. Ed McCaffrey & Christian McCaffrey
Ed McCaffrey is a retired wide receiver who played 13 seasons in the NFL – most notably with the Denver Broncos. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion – twice in Denver and once with the San Francisco 49ers. He retired with 565 catches for 7,422 yards and 55 touchdowns.
In 1996, Ed had a baby boy named Christian McCaffrey. Two decades later, he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the eighth overall pick. He’ll be entering his sixth season in the NFL and already has 3,587 rushing yards, 357 receptions, 3,015 receiving yards, and 47 total TDs.
11. Pat Mahomes & Patrick Mahomes II
Pat Mahomes is a retired pitcher who spent 11 seasons in the major leagues between 1992 and 2003. He had a 42-39 record, appearing in 308 games and starting 63 of them. He retired with a 5.47 ERA and 452 strikeouts in 709.0 innings pitched. He played for six teams in his career.
In 1995, Mahomes Sr. had a baby boy named Patrick Mahomes II. While he was drafted into the MLB, Mahomes II chose to pursue his football career and it was a good decision. Entering his sixth season in the NFL, he has already won an MVP, Super Bowl, and Super Bowl MVP.
10. Archie Manning, Peyton Manning, & Eli Manning
Archie Manning is a retired quarterback who spent 13 seasons in the NFL – most notably with the New Orleans Saints. He was a two-time Pro Bowler who threw for 23,911 yards, 125 touchdowns, and 173 interceptions. During his career as a starter, he had a 35-101-3 record.
In 1976, Archie had a baby boy named Peyton Manning – who threw for 71,940 yards, 539 touchdowns, and 251 interceptions before being inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 1981, Archie had another boy named Eli Manning – who won two Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVPs.
9. Dell Curry, Stephen Curry, & Seth Curry
Dell Curry is a retired shooting guard who spent 16 seasons in the NBA – most notably with the Charlotte Hornets. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award after the 1993-94 season and averaged 11.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.9 steals per game during his career.
In 1988, Dell had a baby boy named Stephen Curry – who has won four NBA championships in the past eight years and averages 26.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Dell also had another baby boy named Seth Curry, who is entering his ninth season.
8. Dennis Rodman & Trinity Rodman
Dennis Rodman is a Hall of Fame power forward who played 14 seasons in the NBA. He won five NBA championships – three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the Detroit Pistons. He was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and led the league in rebounds seven times.
In 2002, Rodman had a daughter named Trinity Rodman. In 2021, she became the youngest player ever drafted into the NWSL and has now played seven games with the United States’ national team. She was the NWSL Rookie of the Year and won the NWSL Championship.
7. Fernando Tatis Sr. & Fernando Tatis Jr.
Fernando Tatis Sr. is a retired third baseman who spent 11 seasons in the major league. During that time, he batted a .265 with 807 hits, 113 home runs, 448 runs batted in, 427 runs scored, and 50 stolen bases. He split time with five different clubs, but never rose to prominence.
In 1999, Tatis Sr. had a baby boy named Fernando Tatis Jr. – who is currently playing in his third season in the major leagues. He’s already having a better career than his father, recording a .292 batting average with 303 hits, 195 RBIs, 210 runs scored, and 52 stolen bases.
6. Ken Griffey Sr. & Ken Griffey Jr.
Ken Griffey Sr. is a retired outfielder who played 19 seasons in the major leagues – most notably with the Cincinnati Reds. He was a three-time All-Star who won two World Series and finished his career with a .296 batting average, 2,143 hits, 152 home runs, and 859 RBIs.
In 1969, Griffey Sr. had a baby boy named Ken Griffey Jr. and the two would become the first parent and child to play on the same MLB team – at the same time. Griffey Jr. spent 22 seasons in the league and had a Hall of Fame career – finishing with 630 home runs and 1,836 RBIs.
5. Dale Earnhardt & Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt is a former NASCAR driver who appeared in 676 races between 1975 and 2001. During his 27-year career, he had 76 wins, 428 top tens, and 22 poles. He won seven Winston Cup championships, a record he holds with Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson.
In 1974, Earnhardt had a baby boy named Dale Earnhardt Jr. – who decided to follow in his fathers’ footsteps. He appeared in 631 NASCAR Cup Series races between 1999 and 2017. He finished his career with 26 wins, 260 top tens, and 15 poles – though he never won the cup.
4. Clay Matthews Sr., Clay Matthews Jr., & Clay Matthews III
Clay Matthews Sr. is a former defensive end and tackle who played four seasons in the NFL between 1950 and 1955. While he failed to rise to prominence, he had a son named Clay Matthews Jr. who had 1,595 tackles and 82.5 sacks in 19 seasons as a linebacker.
In 1986, Matthews Jr. had a baby boy named Clay Matthews III and he carried the family name well. He was a first round draft pick in 2009 and went on to play 11 seasons in the league. He was a six-time Pro Bowler, one-time All-Pro, and Super Bowl champion with 92.5 career sacks.
3. Clay Bellinger & Cody Bellinger
Clay Bellinger is a retired outfielder and third baseman who played four seasons in the MLB – three of which with the New York Yankees. While he never rose to prominence, he did win two World Series during his time in the league – one with the Yanks and another with the Angels.
In 1995, Clay had a baby boy named Cody Bellinger. He was a fourth round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 and made his debut with the team in 2017. He’s currently in his sixth season and has already won an MVP, Rookie of the Year, World Series, and more.
2. Karl Malone & Cheryl Ford
Karl Malone is a retired power forward who played 19 years in the NBA. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest power forwards of all-time. He was a 14-time All-Star and two-time MVP who averaged 25.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.
In 1981, Malone had a baby girl named Cheryl Ford, who would follow in her Hall of Fame father’s footsteps. She was the third overall pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft and went on to win three championships during her career. She averaged 10.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
1. Old Tom Morris & Young Tom Morris
Old Tom Morris is a former Scottish golfer who won The Open Championship four times – 1861, 1862, 1864, and 1867. He was also second in the first ever Open Championship in 1860. He notably won the 1862 The Open Championship by 13 strokes, a record Tiger Woods broke.
In 1851, Morris had a son and – you guessed it – his name was Young Tom Morris. He also played golf professionally and was a four-time winner of The Open Championship himself – 1868, 1869, 1870, and 1872). In fact, he and his father went back-to-back in 1867 and 1868.
Pro Sports Can be a Family Affair Sometimes
The children of pro sports athletes are often given everything they need to succeed in sports themselves. They see the type of effort and dedication it takes, they spend a lot of time around other pro athletes, and their parents usually don’t hesitate to get them professional training.
Of course, they still need to put in the effort and prove they’re better than the rest, but that’s something the athletes listed above have done perfectly – sometimes better than their father or mother. Who knows, maybe they’ll keep the tradition going for a third generation and beyond!
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We’re always excited to see athletes achieve their dream of entering pro sports, but it’s a little sweeter when their parents were once (or currently are) pro athletes. I mean, let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than watching the son or daughter have a better career than the parent!
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