The Family That Plays Together… Sports Family Ties

 

 

Did you know that in 1973 almost a quarter of all pro-baseball players, a third of all pro-football players and two-thirds of all pro-basketball players were Black? Most recently, African-Americans now make up 8% of baseball players, close to 67% in football and nearly 79% of basketball players.

 

As we cap off July with barbeques and family reunions, we

are bringing you a Black Family Month inside look at some family ties in

professional sports.

 

Muhammad Ali and

Laila Ali

 

The last name in this family alone deserves so much praise,

for what it means to boxing and the world of sports in general. The great Muhammad

Ali, born Cassius Clay, took home the gold-medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics. His

pinnacle fights included the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman and the infamous fight with Joe Frazier “aka” the “Thrilla in Manila. Ali finished up

his remarkable career with a record of 56 wins, five losses and 37 knockouts.

 

His daughter Laila decided to follow in his path and stepped

into the ring, when she made her professional boxing debut in 1999. What a

debut it was, in her first fight she knocked out her opponent 31 seconds into

the first round. 

 

Currently Laila holds the title as the undefeated Super

Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World with a 24-0 record and 21 knock-outs. Laila, now with-child, fought her final fight in 2007,

knocking out her opponent in just 56 seconds. Laila can also be seen mentoring

overweight teens on The N network show Student

Body.

 

Reggie Miller and

Cheryl Miller

 

It’s Miller Time! The Miller name is very familiar to NBA fans everywhere, especially those whose team lost in the clutch thanks to Reggie. The now retired Miller spent his entire 18-year NBA career as the shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, averaging 18.2 points per game. He ended his career with a total of 25,279 points, set a record of 2,560 career three-pointers and finished 12th place on league’s all-time scoring list.

 

His sister Cheryl, though she did not have a lengthy

basketball career due to a knee injury, was drafted in United States Basketball League. She was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Women’s basketball team and in 1986 she led the team to the World Basketball Championship title in Moscow.

 

In her latter years, she coached college basketball, and then served as the head coach of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for four seasons. Both Reggie and Cheryl, after their basketball careers, have taken on a new role as television basketball commentators.

 

Many people don’t know, but Reggie and Cheryl have a brother Darrell Miller, who was a Major League Baseball catcher for the California Angels in the ‘80s.

 

Venus Williams and

Serena Williams

These two powerful sisters stepped on the tennis court and

have forever changed the game. Venus Williams, the recent winner of the Wimbledon, has won 16 Grand Slam titles, which include seven

singles, seven women’s doubles and two in mixed doubles. She is also the winner

of Olympic gold medals in the singles and women’s doubles events.

 

Serena, the other half of this dynamic duo, has won a title

in all four Grand Slam tournaments. Her other accomplishments include winning

28 singles championships, 11 doubles championships and was a Gold-Medalist at

the 2000 Olympics. In 2002, Serena won the Italian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.

 

Grant Hill and

Calvin Hill

 

Up next is the Hill family, who did not dominate in the same sport, but they were each great in their own lane! Grant Hill was first drafted by the Detroit Pistons and then moved to the Orlando Magic before ending up at his current home with the Phoenix Suns. Hill, a 13-year pro, has played in over 700 games, averages 19.3 points per game and 5 assists. He is a seven-time NBA All-Star and has been named to the All-NBA First or Second Team four times.

 

On the football field the retired running back, Calvin Hill, ended his career with 6,083 rushing yards and 42 rushing touch downs. In his 12-year NFL career from 1969 to 1981, he played for the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns. In 1972, the four time pro-bowler became the first Dallas Cowboy running back to have a 1,000 yard rushing season.

 

Karl Malone and

Cheryl Ford

 

Though this father-daughter combination does not bear the same last name, they share similar skills as forwards on the b-ball court. NBA power forward Karl Malone, otherwise know as The Mailman, spent over a decade with the Utah Jazz. Malone had an average of 25.0 points per game, 10.1 rebounds and 1.41 steals. At the end of his career he scored a total of 36,928 points.

 

Right now you can check out his daughter, Cheryl Ford, as the star forward for the WNBA’s Detroit Shock. Drafted as the third overall pick in 2003, she was awarded Rookie of the year and rallied the ailing Shock to a WNBA championship. Cheryl averages 11.1 points per game and has over 1700 career points thus far.

 

Malone has another child Demetrius Bell, who was recently drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

 

Tiki Barber and Ronde

Barber

 

Now we have the Barber twins, who both had [and are still having] stellar careers in National Football League. The12-year veteran Ronde Barber is the cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has 965 tackles, 21.0 sacks and 33 interceptions. Barber became the first cornerback in NFL history and just the seventh player overall to record 20 career interceptions and 20 career sacks.

 

Three time pro-bowler Tiki Barber, was the running back for the New York Giants and the all-time leader in rushing yards in G-Men history. Not only did he retire in 2006, but in that same year he became the 21st player in NFL history to rush for over 10,000 yards. Tiki ended his 10 season career [unfortunately before the Giants big Superbowl win last season] with 10,449 yards, 55 touch downs and 2,217 carries.

 

Ken Griffey Sr.

and Ken Griffey Jr.

Here is another family whose name rings bells, this time it’s on the baseball diamond. In 1973 the Major League Baseball organization’s Cincinnati Reds picked up Ken Griffey Sr. In 2097 games, Griffey accumulated a lifetime batting average of .296, with 152 home runs and 859 RBI (runs batted in). Nearly two decades ago, Griffey was also the Most Valuable Player of the 1980 All-Star Game. He retired after playing 19 seasons, with teams that also included the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves and the Seattle Mariners.

His son,

Ken Griffey Jr. is a well-known Right fielder for the Cincinnati Reds. He was initially drafted by the Seattle Mariners where he played for 11 seasons, before going to the Reds after the ’99 season. Griffey Jr. has 605 homeruns, 1746 RBI and is currently sixth on the list of most career home runs.

Joe “Jelly Bean”

Bryant and Kobe Bryant

As another father-son duo, the Bryant last name is probably one of the most

talked about names in sports at the current moment. The NBA super star and

starting shooting guard of the Los Angeles Lakers is the 12-year franchise

player Kobe Bryant. Coming straight out of high school, this remarkable ball

handler aaverages 25.0 points per game and has been selected to every All-NBA Team since 1999. Kobe has won three consecutive championships,

owns an astonishing 21,619 career points and there is no end in sight with him

on top of his game.

His father Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant was drafted in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in 1975. He was later traded to the Philadelphia

76er’s with whom he played four seasons, then to the San Diego Clippers for two

seasons, before his final NBA season with the Houston Rockets in 1983. At one

point Joe Bryant played in Europe and was also

the coach of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. 

With so many notable sports families to choose from, let us

know who you have in mind that’s not on our list! Here are a few more honorable

mentions:

 

Patrick Ewing and Patrick Ewing Jr. – BasketballJulius Jones and Thomas Jones – FootballCecil Fielder and

Prince Fielder –BaseballCandace Parker and Anthony Parker – Basketball

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