When it comes to athletes being related to each other, there is no league which has a higher percentage than the NBA. A recent Wall Street Journal report found that almost 48.8% of all NBA athletes are related to other athletes, whether it is within the NBA or other sports. Take that percentage compared players in the NFL, which only has 17.5% players who are related to other athletes, or Major League Baseball, with only 14.5% of their players related to other athletes, and you can easily detect the disparity between the NBA and the other major sports.
Why is the percentage in the NBA so much higher compared to other athletes in other sports? There is only one significant factor, which is height. Within this same study, the WSJ found that that average basketball player is nine inches taller than an average American. And size is not something you can teach. Due to this, there may be some basketball players who are related that you had no idea about. We’re going to look at 15 such pairings, some of which may surprise you.
15 John, Brent, Drew and Rick Barry– Father/Sons
Although you would notice this immediately when presented on paper, a lot of people aren’t aware of the players who played back in the 60s and 70s and don’t know that current players had Fathers or Uncles who played in the NBA or the ABA. John, Brent and Drew have all played for a variety of teams in the NBA. Rick was the second overall pick of the San Francisco Warriors (now known as the Golden State Warriors) back in 1965. Brent is the only one of his siblings who has won a Championship, which made him and his dad, Rick, the second father/son duo to both win a Championship. Rick has been named one of the 50 best NBA players in history and is in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
14 Damien Wilkins and Dominique Wilkins – Nephew and Uncle
Damien Wilkins is the son of former NBA Veteran Gerald Wilkins and is the nephew of his famous uncle, Dominique Wilkins. Damien played college ball for two years at North Carolina State and another two years at the University of Georgia. He went undrafted in 2004, but was still able to make the roster with the Seattle SuperSonics. He stayed in the NBA until 2013, before he went over to China. Since then, he has had stints back with NBA teams, as well as Venezuelan teams.
His uncle, Dominique, played college basketball at the University of Georgia and was selected 3rd overall in 1982 by the Atlanta Hawks. He had nine All-Star years, has many dunks which are still shown in highlight packages and shown today, and was named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2006.
13 Damon Stoudamire, Salim Stoudamire and Terrence Jones – Cousins
Damon is 5’10”, Salim is 6’1” and Terrance is 6’9” tall, but despite the height difference, they are related to each other as cousins.
Salim attended the University of Arizona. When he graduated, he ranked 2nd in team history in 3-point FG % (behind Steve Kerr) and was named a 2nd-team All-American. He was drafted 31st overall in 2005 to the Atlanta Hawks and played in the NBA until 2008.
Damon also attended the University of Arizona, where he was named as a First-Team All-American. He was drafted 7th overall by the Toronto Raptors in 1995 (first player ever that Toronto drafted), and was the league’s Rookie of the Year for the 1995/1996 season. He played until 2008 and is now coaching the Pacific Tigers Men’s Basketball program.
Terrence Jones played college basketball at Kentucky for two years, before being drafted 18th overall by the Houston Rockets. This last offseason, Jones signed a new contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, where he'll hope to pair up with Anthony Davis.
12 Chauncey Billups and Rodney Phillips – Brothers
Chauncey Billups comes in at 6’3” and his brother Rodney is a little shorter, at 5’10”. You might not have known that Chauncey had a brother who with an NBA team, as Rodney had a long road to the NBA. He played for Los Angeles Valley College in California for a year, before transferring to the University of Denver. He went undrafted in the 2005 draft, but caught on with the Detroit in their summer league, before going over to play in the Latvian League in Europe. He currently just signed on to coach the University of Denver in their Men’s Basketball Program.
Chauncey was named Mr. Basketball of Colorado three years in a row. He played College ball at the University of Colorado for two years and then was drafted by Boston Celtics in 1997 as the third overall pick. He played until 2014, when he retired as a member of the Detroit Pistons.
11 Danny and Gerald Green – Cousins
Only one year apart in age, and with only one inch separating them in height, Danny and Gerald both currently play in the NBA, though many don't really know they're cousins as Green is a very common family name in the United States.
Danny is 6’6” and played high school ball in New York. He went to the University of North Carolina for college and played there for all four years. In 2009, Cleveland selected Danny 46th overall and he stayed there for one year. He signed with the Spurs in 2010 and still plays for them as a solid role player.
Gerald played high school ball in Houston, where he was named an All-American in 2005. Considered the #1 prospect out of High School, he skipped college and went directly into the NBA, where he went 18th overall to the Boston Celtics. He has played for eight different NBA franchises and played some basketball over in Russia for a couple of years. For 2016, he has re-signed with the Celtics.
10 Julius Erving and Jeff Halliburton – Cousins
Although both these players are related by genealogy, only one had a successful NBA career. Jeff Halliburton played for Drake University in college and led them to NCAA tournament appearances in both years he attended. He was named MVC player of the year in his Senior year and was drafted 39th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 1971. He only played two seasons in the NBA, averaging 6.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, played high school basketball in New York. He played for two seasons at the University of Massachusetts and due to the division of the NBA and ABA, actually went to play in the ABA when he was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Virginia Squires. He was traded to the Nets, who would eventually join the NBA. Erving ended up with four MVP awards, three Scoring Titles and three Championships, and was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
9 Cory Joseph and Kris Joseph – Cousins
Only separated by a couple of inches and couple of years, both of these second cousins currently play professional basketball, but only one of them is the NBA. Cory played high school basketball in Nevada, on the same team as his friend Tristan Thompson, where they enjoyed a lot of success. Cory played for one season at the University of Texas, where he was named to the Big 12’s All-Freshman team. In 2011, he declared for the NBA and was taken 29th overall by the San Antonio Spurs, where he stayed until 2015, before he signed with Toronto.
His cousin Kris played his final two years of High School ball in Washington D.C. He attended Syracuse for four seasons and was named to the 1st team All-Big East team in 2012. In 2012, Boston selected Kris in the 2nd round, with the 51st pick overall. He stayed in the NBA until 2013, when he then went over to Europe to play, where he remains today.
8 Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady - Cousins
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady have a long history together, as their grandmothers were cousins, making them third cousins to each other. For a short time, they played on the same team, the Toronto Raptors, and both enjoyed long and successful careers. though Vince is still going in 2016. Vince came into the leagued drafted fifth overall in 1998 (and won Rookie of the Year honors), while Tracy was drafted ninth overall in the 1997 draft. Carter is mostly known for his earth shattering dunks, while McGrady was known for being tough as nails, as well as his ability to drive to the rim. Currently, Vince plays with the Memphis Grizzlies and Tracy retired back in 2013.
7 Al Harrington and Dahntay Jones – Cousins
Al Harrington and Dahntay Jones are similar in height and age, yet have different career trajectories. Harrington played high school basketball in New Jersey, where he was named National Player of the Year in 1998. Instead of going to college, he elected to go straight into the NBA and the Indiana Pacers selected him with the 25th overall pick in 1998. He played in the NBA until 2013, playing with seven different franchises, and currently plays over in Australia.
Dahntay Jones also played high school basketball in New Jersey, although at a different school than Harrington. Jones went to college at Rutgers for two years and then transferred to Duke, where he made the All-ACC team in 2002. In the 2003 draft, Jones was selected 20th overall by the Boston Celtics and has played mostly in the NBA since, with some small stints in the NBA Developmental league during that time.
6 Sebastian Telfair and Stephon Marbury - Cousins
Both Sebastian Telfair and Stephon Marbury played high school ball at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York, although it was nine years apart. At the time, Telfair was the leading scorer in history for his high school, a record he kept until 2009 when Lance Stephenson broke it. Marbury was named Mr. Basketball for New York his Senior year and attended Georgia Tech. Telfair was the sixth highest recruit his senior year, but instead of going to Louisville where he had committed, went directly into the NBA.
Marbury was selected fourth overall in 1996 and Sebastian was selected 13th overall in 2004. They had varying careers within the NBA, as Marbury played for 15 years within the NBA before moving over to China to play, where he plays currently. Sebastian played for 10 years in the NBA and currently plays in Italy.
5 Shammond Williams and Kevin Garnett – Cousins
If you looked at these two side by side, you would not think they were cousins, as Shammond Williams is 6’1” and Kevin Garnett is 6’11”. Williams played college ball at North Carolina and held the record for most career 3 point shots made, as well as the most the most in a single game, among other records. He was the 34th overall pick in 1998 and bounced around between various teams. Williams also spent time playing in Europe.
Kevin Garnett was the 1995 National High School player of the year and jumped directly into the NBA, where he was drafted 5th overall. He's become a legendary NBAer and a surefire Hall of Famer when he decides to hang up his sneakers.
4 Tobias Harris and Channing Frye – Cousins
These cousins are very similar in height, as Tobias Harris is 6’9” and Channing Frye is 6’11.” Harris won Mr. Basketball for the state of New York in 2010. He attended the University of Tennessee for one season, before he was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2011 with the 19th overall pick. He was traded immediately to Milwaukee and then played for Orlando for three seasons. He currently plays for the Detroit Pistons.
Channoing Frye was named Arizona’s Player of the Year in 2001 when he was a Senior in High School. Frye attended the University of Arizona and was named to the First Team All-Pac-10 twice. In 2005, Frye was selected 8th overall by the New York Knicks. Since then, he has played with Portland, Phoenix and Orlando and, in 2016, will play with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Interestingly enough, these two actually played together in Orlando for the last couple of years.
3 Kwame Brown and Jabari Smith – Cousins
Both Kwame Brown and Jabari Smith are listed at 6’11”, but had very different careers in the NBA. Smith attended LSU for college and, in 2000, was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the 2nd round. He played for three different teams, but only averaged three points per game overall. Smith then played overseas, including stints in Puerto Rico, Turkey, Iran and Spain.
On the other hand, Kwame Brown dealt with a lot of hype before making it to the NBA. He played High School ball in Georgia and was named High School player of year in 2001. He decided to go directly to the NBA, and was the first High School player to ever be drafted #1 overall, when the Wizards took him with that pick in 2001. He played in the NBA for 13 years, for seven different teams, and he's been considered one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. He's attempting to make a comeback for this 2016 season.
2 Al Eberhard and Luke/Tyler/Cody Zeller – Uncle/Nephew
Although it is no surprise that the Zeller’s are brothers, what is surprising is finding out they had an uncle who played in the NBA a few decades before them. Al Eberhard was drafted into the NBA in 1975 by the Detroit Pistons, where he was the 15th overall pick. He played four seasons for the Pistons before retiring, averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Zeller Brothers have a wide range of experience. Luke went to Notre Dame for college, Tyler attended North Carolina and Cody attended Indiana University. Luke went undrafted in 2009, but signed with the Chicago Bulls for their summer league. After that stint, he has since played in Japan and Lithuania. Tyler was selected 17th overall by the Dallas Mavericks, but was traded to Cleveland, and was then traded to Boston in 2014, where he still plays. Cody played at IU for two seasons and then was the 4th overall pick for the Charlotte Bobcats in 2013, where he still plays.
1 Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose – Father / Son
Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose never actually met in person, which makes this Father/Son combo a unique mixture, as both were successful basketball players. Jimmy Walker played college basketball at Providence and was selected as the #1 overall selection in 1967 by the Detroit Pistons. He played for nine years and was named an All-Star twice.
His son, Jalen Rose, was a member of the famous “Fab Five” group at the University of Michigan. He played there for three seasons and then was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1994 as the 13th overall pick. He played until 2007, when he retired after playing a year with the Phoenix Suns. Walker passed away from cancer in 2007 and although Jalen spoke to his dad via telephone a few times, they never had the chance to meet in person.