Siblings competing against one another in professional sports is pretty cool. In some situations, brothers and sisters have found themselves on the same team trying to win championships for their organizations. Whatever the case may be one can only imagine what reunions are like for families like the Mannings, the Klitschkos and the Williams. I can already imagine Eli and Peyton arguing over who the better quarterback is. It’s amazing to have one child play a professional sport but to have multiple is a miracle. The NBA has seen its fair share of siblings partake in the game of basketball as well. There’s nothing better than seeing two siblings compete at the highest level. A little family-friendly competition never hurts anyone. We want drama in sports. Drama leads to heated rivalries and there is nothing better than a a rivalry between siblings.
Certain NBA players have achieved much more than their brothers and perhaps a bit of jealousy has come up between siblings because of these circumstances? While making it to the NBA is a feat in it of itself, it’s all about what a player is able to accomplish during his time in the league. Not every player can achieve fame and glory in the NBA and there are a number of them who find themselves being associated with their brothers long after their playing careers are over. It might not be very fair but it’s hard to step out of your sibling’s shadow when they’re dominating the game of basketball and your riding the pine like there’s no tomorrow. Here are the top 15 NBA players who lived in the shadow of their sibling.
15. Albert King
Albert King enjoyed success in the game of basketball but a majority of it came during his high school playing days. Albert, the younger brother of Hall-of-Famer Bernard King, was regarded as one of the best prep players in the nation during his four years (1973-1977) at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, New York. After attending the University of Maryland, Albert would enter the NBA through the 1981 draft and played for four teams (Nets, 76ers, Spurs and Bullets) during his eight years in the league. A brief tenure overseas with Italian professional team Olimpia Milano from 1989-1991 saw Albert win a title for the team with players such as Bob McAdoo and Mike D’Antoni.
Bernard spent his entire career in the NBA and achieved much more throughout it. His glory days came with the New York Knicks where he averaged 26.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 2.8 APG. He is 16th on the all-time NBA scoring list and was inducted into the hall of fame in 2013. Albert had his good days in the NBA but his brother is up there with some of the greatest who ever laced them up.
14. Jeremy Pargo
Jannero Pargo was never a big name in the NBA. His career numbers (6.4 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.0 APG) are nothing special so his brother Jeremy shouldn’t have had any problems outshining his sibling right? Wrong. After going undrafted in 2009 Jeremy bounced around various NBA Summer League and overseas teams before being signed by the Memphis Grizzlies to a two-year contract in 2011. He would end up playing for three different teams (Memphis, Cleveland and Philadelphia) during his three seasons in the league, unable to secure a roster spot on any of them.
The Chicago natives both played decent minutes for their respective teams but were never able to produce any performances worth mentioning. Jeremy really didn’t have any high expectations put out by his brother but he still fell short of them and couldn’t escape the proverbial sibling shadow.
13. Zoran Dragić
His NBA career didn’t last very long but when he was in the league, everyone knew him as Goran’s brother. After starting his career in Slovenia, Zoran would get his first shot in the NBA in 2012 when the Houston Rockets signed him to their Summer League team. Houston decided not to move Zoran up to the main roster so the 27-year-old signed with Unicaja Málaga, a Spanish professional basketball team in Málaga, Andalusia. In 2014 he became a member of the Phoenix Suns and joined his brother for a short period of time. Goran was already making a name for himself in Phoenix having averaged 20 PPG the season before.
Zoran played in only six games with the Suns before the team traded him and his brother in a packaged deal to the Miami Heat in February 2015 that also involved the New Orleans Pelicans. Goran would become the mainstay point guard for the Heat while Zoran would end up being traded after the 2014-15 season to the Boston Celtics on July 27th, 2015. Boston waived him two weeks later. Zoran’s first run in the league was over before it even began. We’ll see if he attempts another run in the NBA down the road.
12. Robin Lopez
The only entry on our list featuring two players currently in the league, Brooke and Robin Lopez are two centers with pretty different skill sets. Brooke (18.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG) has made his name primarily on the offensive end of the spectrum while Robin (8.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG) has been known more so for his work defending the paint. An All-Star back in 2013, Brooke’s offensive play is what sets him apart from his twin brother. He’s currently playing in his 9th season in the league and has spent all of them with the Nets. The team has made the playoffs three times during his tenure but have recently become one of the worst in the league.
Despite the poor play Brooke continues to put up strong numbers while Robin keeps attacking mascots as a member of the Chicago Bulls. We have yet to see Brooke take out his frustrations on any furry creatures.
11. Gerald Wilkins
A small forward with a dunking ability almost, but not quite as impressive as his brothers, Gerald Wilkins had a solid overall career in the NBA. He just happens to be the brother of nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins so his accomplishments are almost nullified when compared to Dominique’s. Gerald had his best years in the league come during his stint with the New York Knicks (14.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.5 APG). He followed his brother’s footsteps by participating in the 1986 and 1987 Slam Dunk Contest but was unable to take home the title on both occasions. Dominique won two out of the five contest he competed in.
The two would wind up playing for the same team in 1999 after Dominique joined his brother in Orlando; they would both see limited playing time in what would be the final season of their careers. You have to give Gerald credit for being a threat to throw one down, but Dominique takes the cake since “The Human Highlight Film” was one of the most feared power dunkers of all time.
10. Jim Paxson
Here’s our first entry in which we find the older brother living in the shadow of his younger brother. Making the All-Star team twice should be enough to distinguish your own reputation right? Not in this case. Jim Paxson, the older brother of former player and current Chicago Bulls Vice President of basketball operations John, was a 6’6 shooting guard and had a good career in the NBA but his brother is the one that’s remembered by basketball fans to this day. John was a valuable 3-point shooter on the Bulls and helped the team during its first three-peat from 1991-93. His biggest shot of his career came during Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals. The Bulls were trailing the Phoenix Suns by two but Paxson would hit a crucial three-pointer to give the Bulls a 99-98 lead with 3.9 seconds remaining in the game.
The shot is seen as one of the greatest in NBA Finals history. Jim was a standout player in his own right with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Boston Celtics, it just doesn’t help that his brother won three championships during his time with Chicago. I’m sure they argue over who had the better career during their time in the league.
9. Brent Price
Mark Price is one of the greatest Cleveland Cavaliers of all time alongside some guy named LeBron James. His brother Brent however wasn’t so great. Let’s take a look at their accomplishments. Mark: 4x NBA All-Star, All-NBA First Team (1993), 3x All-NBA Third Team, 2x NBA 3-Point Shootout Champion and had his number 25 retired by the Cavaliers. Brent didn’t earn any awards or recognitions in the NBA. Ouch. Mark was one of the fastest guards of his era and could split a double team like butter. He was one of the first to utilize the technique that basically every guard in the league uses today.
There really isn’t much to say about Brent. He averaged five points in his career that spanned 12 years and played for four different teams (Bullets, Rockets, Grizzlies and Kings) in the process. He would finish his basketball career in 2004 after playing in the United States Basketball League with the Oklahoma Storm. Mark is now coaching the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team. As for Brent your guess as to what he is doing now is as good as mine.
8. Derrick Gervin
When you ask someone who the top three greatest San Antonio Spurs are of all time most people will include Tim Duncan and David Robinson in that mix. The third player is up for debate but there’s no doubt that George Gervin could easily be apart of that group. Most people don’t know that Gervin has a younger brother Derrick since George garners most the attention and for good reason; he is one of the legends of the sport that enjoyed an outstanding career not just in the NBA but in the ABA as well.
Derrick followed a path similar to his brother’s by attending the University of Texas at San Antonio, located in a city that George seemed to own back in 1981 as the star player for the Spurs. He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers’ in the 4th round of the 1985 NBA Draft but the team waived him right after. The Continental Basketball Association would be his home for three years until he was called back up to the NBA by the New Jersey Nets in 1989. He played two seasons with the team and put up numbers that were pretty forgettable (8.8 PPG & 2.3 RPB). It’s not easy living up to someone with an awesome nickname like “The Iceman”.
7. Harvey Grant
If your brother is someone like Horace Grant it’s going to be almost impossible to live up to his standards. Harvey wore goggles like Horace did but Horace popularized them and are still synonymous with him. It’s kind of like a little brother trying to copy his older brother in an attempt to be cool. The Grants played together in college and were star players during their time at Clemson University. The identical twins might look alike but their play on the court couldn’t be any more different. Horace (11.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.2 APG) is a four-time NBA Champion and was a hard-nosed defensive player. He played a major role on both the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic. Harvey (9.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.6 APG) couldn’t crash the boards like his brother could and saw limited success in the league.
His time in Washington saw him put up some of his best numbers (specifically from 1990-93 when he averaged 18.2 PPG & 6.5 RPG) but the team wound up trading him to Portland in 1994 for center Kevin Duckworth. Harvey at least can say that he has two kids (Jerian and Jerami) in the league. Horace on the other hand will continue to polish his championship rings for as long as he lives.
6. Jon Barry
Brent and Jon Barry both had NBA careers that lasted over 10 years. However the paths they followed once they entered the league were pretty different. Jon, the oldest of the two, was a part of the 1992 draft and was taken with the 21st overall pick by Milwaukee Bucks. It was a bit of a rough go for him as he never stayed with a team for more than three seasons; he played for eight different organizations but was never a permanent starter for any of them. His playing career ended in 2006 after a stint with the Houston Rockets. Brent’s career was much more successful. The younger brother was able to capture two NBA Championships (2005 and 2007) with the San Antonio Spurs and is remembered for being the only white person to ever win an NBA Slam Dunk Contest. It’s a weird stat but it’s something to boast about. When it comes to in-game skills, Brent was a much better ball handler and shooter than his older sibling.
Jon now terrorizes viewers on ESPN by serving as a studio analyst (he’s received his fair share of criticism since joining the network) while Brent works for the Turner organization and does gigs on NBA TV and Inside the NBA. Go check out Brent’s dunk contest if you get a chance, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
5. Marquis Teague
Jeff Teague has enjoyed an eight-year career in the NBA. He was named an All-Star back in 2015 and is now playing with the Indiana Pacers. Marquis Teague had an NBA career that was the complete opposite from Jeff’s. Going into the 2012 draft Marquis was already being tagged as Jeff’s little brother. Having committed to the draft after just one year at Kentucky, Marquis was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 29th overall pick and boy was it an awful draft pick. He averaged only 2.2 PPG during his two years with the team before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2014.
Russia now gets the chance to see him play (I’m sure they’re really excited about this) as Marquis was unable to hold a roster spot in the NBA and was subsequently sent down to the D-League before making his way out of the country. Probably should have stayed in college a couple more years.
4. Chris Smith
The younger brother of Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, Chris Smith was unable to make a home in the NBA after multiple attempts in the league failed to do so. During J.R. Smith’s four year run with the New York Knicks Chris would find himself playing for the Knicks’ summer league team in 2012. After his stint in Las Vegas the Knicks signed him to a two-year $1.3 million contract with $491,000 becoming guaranteed on his final day of training camp. The Smiths would find themselves representing the city of New York in the game of basketball but only for a short period of time. The situation in the “Big Apple” quickly took a turn for the worse. Chris would find himself as the scapegoat for the team’s struggles through the 2012-13 season as head coach Mike Woodson felt that the New Jersey native didn’t belong in the NBA.
The New York media ripped Chris apart (a majority of the media felt that Chris was on the team simply because his brother was) and fans began sending death threats via social media towards him as well. A lot of the hatred was being hurled towards him simply for being J.R’s younger brother. He would eventually be cut by the Knicks after appearing in just two games for the team and was waived this past October by Israeli club Hapoel Galil Elyon. He now finds himself in basketball purgatory.
3. Eric Johnson
The brother of the Detroit Pistons legend known as “The Microwave”, Eric Johnson is probably the least established player on our list. At 6’2 and 205 lbs, Eric was basically the same size as his brother and they even looked alike. Actually they looked almost identical. You would think that he would at least be a halfway decent player then right? Wrong. After not being drafted in 1989, Eric, who was ten years younger than Vinnie, was picked up by the Utah Jazz and joined them in the Southern California Summer League. In an interview with Lee Benson Eric spoke about being mistaken for his brother. “I get mistaken for him a lot. I was in Detroit last year, in a restaurant, and this one person swore I was Vinnie Johnson. I just kept saying, `I’m not Vinnie Johnson, but I am his brother.’ It’s fine with me. I like looking like Vinnie Johnson; I like being Vinnie Johnson’s brother.”
Eric basically admitted that he was living in his brother’s shadow. He would play only one season with the Jazz and averaged one point in his lone season in the NBA. Why the Jazz even picked him up in the first place is beyond me.
2. Ed Mikan
Ed Mikan had some enormous shoes to fill when it came to living up to his older brother George. George or “Mr. Basketball” is one of the greatest the game has ever seen. Of course the league was extremely different back in the 1940s but that shouldn’t take away from his accomplishments. He would become a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in its inaugural class of 1959 and was included in the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, a list compiled in 1996 by the NBA to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding. After the Mikans won the 1945 National Invitational Tournament with the DePaul Blue Demons, head coach Ray Meyer spoke about Ed saying “(he) was probably the second-best center we ever had at DePaul, only behind his brother George.”
If that isn’t a perfect example of living in your sibling’s shadow then I don’t know what is. Ed, who played for the Chicago Stag, didn’t have nearly the amount of success his brother had. Ed would average 6.7 PPG and 5.5 RPG in his NBA career and started working in the insurance and real estate business after retiring from basketball. George definitely didn’t need a second career after his playing days were over.
1. Taylor Griffin
The Griffins attended the University of Oklahoma during their collegiate years and that’s about where the similarities in basketball ends for the siblings. The two would lead Oklahoma to the Elite Eight of the 2009 NCAA Men’s National Basketball Tournament but wound up losing to North Carolina in the South Regional finals. Both would enter the 2009 NBA draft and saw very different outcomes while waiting for their names to be called to the stage.
Blake was taken with the first overall pick of the draft by the Los Angeles Clippers while Taylor fell to the second round before being picked up by the Phoenix Suns with the 48th overall pick. Taylor would spend a majority of his basketball career after college in the NBA Developmental League before making the decision to play overseas with Pallacanestro Trapani, an Italian professional basketball team based in Trapani, Sicily.
Blake on the other hand is a five-time NBA All-Star, has been named to the NBA All-Second team on two different occasions and was the Rookie of the Year in 2011. He is enjoying his success in the NBA and is one of the more popular players today. It’s not often that you see a younger sibling outshine his older brother in such a large manner.
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