The chances of having multiple people from the same family finding their way to the NBA remains unlikely. Most basketball stars are the only person in their families to make such a stage where only the best of the best from all over the world will play the sport. There have been quite a few instances of father and sons, brothers and other forms of relatives to join the league. It is a very difficult feat as seen with certain stories today.
LeBron James has the dream of his son LeBron James Jr. playing in the league at the same time as him, but it will take four incredible years of high school play for his son to even get on the NBA radar. LaVar Ball boasts about his other sons LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball eventually joining Lonzo Ball on the Los Angeles Lakers, but the chances are slim to none. Luckily, there have been other instances of family trees unfolding in the NBA.
We will look at some of the players to follow a relative’s footsteps by making their way into the league. Some shocked the world by becoming a bigger success story than their relative while others failed to live up to the legacy. These are twenty NBA superstars that played in the league after a relative along with the official review of if they were better or not.
20 Stephen Curry (son of Dell Curry): Better
The most obvious example of a son passing a father in the NBA world featured Stephen Curry creating a legacy better than his dad Dell Curry. Fans often sleep on just how great of a player Dell was in his prime. He remains second among the all-time leading scorers in Charlotte Hornets history and was a top three-point shooter of the time.
Stephen has taken that to another level and has completely changed the game. He has won two MVP awards, which his dad was never close to reaching. The Golden State Warriors have won three NBA Championships with Curry as the centerpiece.
19 David Stockton (son of John Stockton): Not Better
John Stockton is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. David Stockton's talent earned him a chance to play meaningful college basketball and find his way to the NBA. However, he just doesn’t have the same skills as his dad to become a standout player.
David had stints with the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz to prove he could play in the NBA. Three games with each team are all that was needed to realize he couldn’t stick around. David is now playing overseas. The legacy of his dad will not be topped unless he makes an improbable comeback to the league.
18 Chris Smith (brother of JR Smith): Not Better
J.R. Smith is often a punchline when fans think about him forgetting to call a timeout in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. Other moments like throwing soup at a coach, making different, yet strange mistakes and being a wild character have hurt his standing. J.R. still deserves respect for having a long NBA career.
His brother Chris Smith tried to find the same success with dreams of making the NBA. The New York Knicks gave Chris a chance when J.R. was on the team. It seemed like a favor as Chris clearly didn’t belong on the NBA level.
17 Al Horford (son of Tito Horford): Better
Al Horford has become one of the best centers in the NBA in recent memory. The Eastern Conference has seen him consistently make the All-Star team during his stints on both the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks. Horford is surprisingly the second person in his family to enter the NBA as his dad Tito Horford had a short run.
Tito played three seasons in the league with stints on the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Bullets. He struggled to get much playing time as he averaged 1.6 points per game. Al clearly has surpassed his dad as the best NBA star in his family.
16 Domantas Sabonis (son of Arvydas Sabonis): Not Better … yet
Domantas Sabonis is one of the most interesting young prospects in the NBA today. The Indiana Pacers don’t play him starter minutes, but he often looks dominant on the court. Domantas can score, rebound, pass and defend when needed. The Pacers still want to take it slow with his progression.
His father, Arvydas Sabonis, was a center for the Portland Trail Blazers in the '90s. Many NBA legends like Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley claim Arvydas was one of the best big men of the time. His career was shortened due to injuries slowing him. Arvydas remains the better Sabonis as of now, but Domantas does have a great chance to pass him one day.
15 Marquis Teague (brother of Jeff Teague): Not Better
Most NBA sibling relationships clearly feature one brother that is better than other. The Teague family perfectly sums that up with both brothers having a chance at NBA success but only one thriving. Jeff Teague is the older brother to find success with the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and now the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Younger brother Marquis Teague tried his luck in the NBA as well with not as good of a chance to succeed. Marquis had chances to thrive on the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets, but neither team was impressed with his play. He will likely never receive another chance in the NBA.
14 Austin Rivers (son of Doc Rivers): Not Better
Many NBA fans forget that Doc Rivers did more in the NBA than just coach. The current season with the Los Angeles Clippers is a reminder of how good of a coach he can be. However, Doc also managed to have a very good playing career. League experts considered Doc among the smarter players in the NBA, which led to him becoming a coach.
Austin Rivers tried to surpass his dad by chasing his dreams to become an NBA superstar. The college run of Austin in Duke showed potential. Unfortunately, he’s been nothing more than a role player in the NBA. Austin is currently a player that can help a team with depth, but he’s nowhere near the level of Doc.
13 Aaron Gordon (brother of Drew Gordon): Better
Aaron Gordon is the young asset that the Orlando Magic badly wants to become a superstar. The potential of Gordon is sky high with his incredible athleticism. Gordon has a reputation for being a top dunker in the league, but his overall play is starting to get to the next level as well.
Most NBA fans have no idea that Aaron isn’t the only Gordon that had a chance at NBA success. His older brother Drew Gordon played college basketball at UCLA with draft hopes. Drew would play a total of nine games for the Philadelphia 76ers before getting the book closed on his NBA career. Aaron clearly was the better basketball player of the two brothers.
12 Brent Price (brother of Mark Price): Not Better
Mark Price is considered one of the all-time great Cleveland Cavaliers. Before the era of LeBron James, Price may be the top answer when polling Cavs fans on the best player in franchise history. The stellar play of Mark made him a beloved figure in Cleveland sports for his effort on the team.
Mark’s brother Brent Price tried to make his way into the NBA as well. It just never worked out for him given the inability to take over a game. Brent averaged just 5 points throughout his career and failed to earn consistent playing time. There’s no debate that Mark was the better basketball player than his brother Brent.
11 Glen Rice Jr. (son of Glen Rice): Not Better
The decision to name your son after you will result in them having tremendous pressure if you are an NBA star. Glen Rice is one of the most underrated players of the '90s. He would be a much bigger star today with his three-point shooting being as smooth as silk.
Glen had great runs for the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat. An All-Star Game MVP Award is still on his trophy shelf today. His son Glen Rice Jr. tried to live up to his dad’s name. The college run was impressive, but he failed to make a mark in the NBA. Rice Jr. played for a handful of teams before running out of options, as he now plays in Mexico.
10 Gerald Wilkins (brother of Dominique Wilkins): Not Better
Dominique Wilkins is arguably the greatest Atlanta Hawk of all-time. The dunks of Wilkins are what most remember, but he was a very good all-around player that left it all on the court. Most NBA players would be extremely fortunate to have a legacy like his.
Unfortunately for Dominique’s brother Gerald Wilkins, not everyone could harness their talent into such success. Gerald surprisingly had a solid career as a role player. The problem is he could not play with the flash as Dominique nor dominate a game like him. His legacy will sadly be remembered as the forgettable brother of an NBA superstar.
9 Mike Bibby (son of Henry Bibby): Better
Most NBA fans have no idea that Mike Bibby was a second-generation NBA player. Bibby's skill as a scoring point guard made him a standout player for multiple teams. Bibby is most remembered as the starting point guard for the Sacramento Kings squad that controversially lost the 2002 Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mike was a huge contributor to teams during his prime and delivered many memorable moments. His father Henry Bibby also spent time in the NBA and won a championship with the Knicks, but the run was less significant than his son’s. Henry had a nine-year run in the league as a secondary role player.
8 Gary Payton Jr. (son of Gary Payton): Not Better
Gary Payton has a legacy for many reasons in the NBA. The legendary Seattle SuperSonics point guard was known for his toughness and defensive intensity. Payton even won an NBA Championship towards the end of his career with the 2006 Miami Heat and hit clutch shots in the process.
The hope was for his son Gary Payton Jr. to achieve the same success in the league. Payton Jr. just didn’t have the talent of his father to make a mark. He received a couple of chances on NBA teams, but he could not impress enough to get into a rotation. Gary Jr. is currently in the G-League hoping to make his way back to the NBA.
7 Mason Plumlee (brother of Miles Plumlee): Better
Mason Plumlee is not a superstar by any means, but he deserves some credit for being an effective NBA player. The Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets witnessed some great moments from Mason. He is currently on the Denver Nuggets and has stepped up to replace the injured Paul Millsap in their lineup.
The older brother Miles Plumlee has made less of an impact in the NBA. Luckily, Miles still does have a roster spot on the Atlanta Hawks. He is unable to become a difference maker like Mason can on the right team. There is a chance Miles could be out of the league within the next year while his younger brother Mason is here to stay.
6 Tim Hardaway Jr. (son of Tim Hardaway Sr.): Not Better
One of the more interesting second-generation basketball players currently in the league is Tim Hardaway Jr. The New York Knicks signed him to a big contract a few years ago. Hardaway Jr. puts up good numbers, but he is not good enough to lead a team to contention. His best role is likely as a role player on a good team or a top option on a bad team.
Tim Hardaway Sr. had a better playing career with tremendous runs on the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. Hardaway Sr.'s skills allowed him to put up great stats and a have few clutch moments in the playoffs. Tim Jr. is still hoping he can become an All-Star caliber player like his father, but that seems unlikely.
5 Glenn Robinson III (son of Glenn Robinson): Not Better
Glenn Robinson was an underrated NBA player of the late '90s and early 2000s. The Milwaukee Bucks fell just one game short of making the 2001 NBA Finals during a season where Robinson was arguably their best player along with Ray Allen. Although he was mostly known as a scorer, Robinson showed toughness and unselfishness in his play during his best days.
The attempt to follow in his dad’s footsteps made NBA life tougher for Glenn Robinson III. He possessed great athleticism that created a reputation of a being a great dunker. Robinson III just couldn’t figure out the rest of the game after a few disappointing seasons. He is still under contract for the Detroit Pistons but plays in the G-League, hoping to get called back up.
4 Blake Griffin (brother of Taylor Griffin): Better
You know it’s bad for a basketball player when fans don’t even remember you as a brother of an NBA superstar. Blake Griffin was not the first of his siblings to play an NBA game. Taylor Griffin is the older brother of Blake and had a chance to make an impact first.
The Phoenix Suns gave Taylor a shot, but he just could not impress. His brother Blake started taking over the league shortly after as one of the exciting players. Blake has had his ups and downs yet remains a top-25 player in the league at the absolute least. Taylor could not become a top 250 player.
3 Luke Walton (son of Bill Walton): Not Better
It is easy to forget Luke Walton was drafted in the same draft class as LeBron James since Luke now coaches LeBron on the Los Angeles Lakers. Luke's playing career was not very impressive. He did win two NBA Championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, but he barely did much.
Luke only averaged double-digit points per game once in his NBA career. It was secondary to his dad Bill Walton. Some fans know Bill for his wacky commentary, but he was a legend during his playing career. Bill dominated college and had a good run in the NBA that could have been better if not for multiple injuries. Unless Luke becomes an iconic coach, he’ll never match his dad.
2 Zoran Dragic (brother of Goran Dragic): Not Better
Goran Dragic made his mark in the NBA with great runs on the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. His selection to an All-Star team proved that Dragic’s career will be remembered as a massive success. Goran truly worked his way from a role player to All-Star and it led to his younger brother receiving opportunities as well.
Zoran Dragic received a chance with the Suns, thanks to his brother doing well there. Phoenix traded them both to Miami as they had zero interest in Zoran without Goran. The career of Zoran fell apart as he could not contribute as much as his brother. Miami eventually gave up and Zoran has been trying to get another NBA chance since then.
1 Klay Thompson (son of Mychel Thompson): Better
One of the most interesting things about the Golden State Warriors becoming a dominant force is witnessing two second-generation NBA players surpass their dad. Klay Thompson did the same as teammate Stephen Curry by creating a legacy that is stronger than his success dad.
Mychel Thompson won a couple of NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and was a strong role player for much of his career. Klay, however, has emerged into a borderline superstar. The outside shooting and defensive skills of Klay have allowed him to become a consistent All-Star, which his dad could not accomplish. Klay is now the top NBA name in the Thompson family.