Top 15 NBA Players Who Failed To Live Up To Their Family Legacy

The NBA trails only baseball when it comes to dominant families throughout the history of the sport. More often than not, when a professional athlete has a child, that child will inherit some of the athleticism showcased by the parents. So with this understanding, it is no wonder why so many retired basketball players have children now in the league. Not only does the child of an NBA player inherit the genes of their parents, but they also get to grow up in the smartest basketball environment there is; inside an NBA organization. With these two advantages, NBA offsprings are more likely to be the next generation of NBA talent.

With those stated advantages come some perceived disadvantages. There is the simple fact that until you become as good as your rival family member, you will always be questioned or doubted. Also, you will be graded against your sibling, or parent as you go through your career. Although it may be easier for a child cultivated in an NBA environment to make it into the league, it is hard to live up to the looming shadows cast by family members.

It is rare that the child of an all-time great goes on to become an all-time great as well. Today we will reveal the top 15 NBA players who failed to live up to their family legacy and fell short of being the alpha male in the family.

15 Glen Rice Jr.

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Glen Rice Jr. had a tough challenge ahead of him the day he was born with his father's name. Papa Rice was one of the best shooters of his time while in the NBA, as well as being one of the greatest college players to ever shoot a basketball; Rice Sr. was the 1989 College Player of the Year, and NCAA National Champion.

14 Glenn Robinson III

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Another player cursed with the same name of a past legend, Glenn Robinson III was stuck being the pup of "The Big Dog" Glenn Robinson. Daddy Robinson was a beast during his college days. As a junior at Purdue, he unanimously won the choice for NCAA Player of the Year. That season he led the Boilermakers to the Elite 8, averaging 30 points, and 11 rebounds per game. The elder Robinson set the bar high for his son, being selected no.1 overall in the 1994 NBA Draft. Needless to say his father's accomplishments didn't make things easy for Glen III.

13 David Stockton

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Being the son of a Hall of Famer must be nerve racking, when you are trying to find a spot on an NBA roster. It must be especially tough to be the son of the all-time assist and steals king John Stockton. It is a testament to David Stockton that he has been able to last in the NBA D-league as long as he has already, as he is under six feet tall.

12 Coby Karl


If there is one thing that Coby Karl has lived up to as a Karl, it is his persistence. Now 33 years old Coby is coaching in the NBA D-league, trying to earn himself a coaching spot with the Lakers. Young Karl bounced between the D-League and overseas professional leagues for almost a decade before hanging it up as a player in 2015.

11 Patrick Ewing Jr.


Patrick Ewing Sr. is one of the all-time great centers in NBA history, and on top of that he has grown into one of the best coaches for big men in the game today. With all that, you would imagine his son would be a highly talented big man himself, but unfortunately for Ewing Jr. he never grew into the monster frame he was predicted to have inherited from his dad.

10 Damien Wilkins


Damien Wilkins is the first player on the list to have multiple family members play in the NBA. The addition of multiple family members makes the legacy of that family even stronger. With 13 year NBA veteran Gerald Wilkins as his father, and "The Human Highlight Reel" himself, Dominique Wilkins, as an uncle, it was hard for Damien to fulfill the expectations put in front of him.

9 Larry Mikan


Larry Mikan is the son of basketball pioneer George Mikan and nephew of Ed Mikan. The Mikan family is generally considered one of the most dominant families in the history of the game. George was the first true post up center, and his brother Ed, would revolutionize the game of basketball in the 1940s and 50s. After his playing days were through, Ed went on to work in the front office for the NBA, where he lobbied for the 3-point line, 3-in-the-key calls, and many other rules of the game.

8 Tim Hardaway Jr.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The original Tim Hardaway was one of the flashiest point guards of the guard dominant 90s. Hardaway Sr. possessed one of the fiercest crossover dribble moves the game has ever known, however for Jr. the crossover gene never made it to his DNA. Hardaway Jr. was a solid prospect coming out of Michigan in 2013, but he was nothing like the star college player his father had been two decades earlier.

Hardaway Sr. was the WAC Player of the Year in 1989 and had his jersey number retired by his alma mater. As a rookie, Sr. was outstanding, finding himself on the NBA All-Rookie Team. He followed up his sensational rookie season with three consecutive All-Star appearances in the early 90s. Sr. would ultimately earn himself five All-Star nods, as well as a First Team All-NBA selection in 1997. During the same season, he finished fourth in league MVP voting.

7 Drew Barry


With so much basketball talent in one family, inevitably someone would be the runt of the litter. Drew grew up with Brent and Jon Barry as his brothers, and Hall of Famer Rick Barry for a father. There is no telling what the backyard games were like at the Barry house growing up. Drew was the youngest of the bunch, but surely was held to some lofty expectations that his brothers had inadvertently set for him.

All the brothers had to live under the shadow of their father, the great Rick Barry. Rick was an eight time All-Star, as well as an NBA Champion and a Finals MVP. Out of the three brothers, Brent had the most success in the NBA; during his 14 year career Brent was part of two championship teams with the San Antonio Spurs. Jon, like Brent, was a first round selection out of college, and was able to last an impressive 14 seasons in the league.

6 Mychel Thompson


Mychel is in a similar spot to the previous entry, Drew Barry. Like Barry, Mychel comes from a family of professional athletes. His brother Klay has appeared in the past two NBA Finals, and is the defending NBA 3-Point Contest Champion. Mychel's other brother Trayce is currently starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, having been drafted in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

5 Luke Walton

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Walton was a solid role player for the Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol led Los Angeles Lakers team that won multiple championships. Luke also has earned himself a new job over the offseason, as he has been given the coaching duties with his former team, the Lakers. The shadow cast by his larger than life father seems to be too big for even an established professional like Luke to outgrow.

4 Larry Nance Jr.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nance Jr. is currently a young promising player for the Los Angeles Lakers. His game is very reminiscent of his father's, even the way he dunks the ball seems like a carbon copy. Nance Sr. was known for his long wiry frame. He was also a ravenous defender, as proven by his selection to the NBA All-Defensive First team in 1989. In his prime, Nance Sr. was easily considered one of the league's elite dunkers, and keep in mind that Nance was playing in the same era as Michael Jordan, Dominque Wilkins, and Spud Webb. In fact, in 1984, Sr. was crowned as the first ever Slam Dunk Champion.

3 Austin Rivers

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Austin and his father Doc are currently working for the same team, as they are both part of the Los Angeles Clippers; and Austin is still stuck under his father's shadow. Doc has a Hall of Fame resume which includes being an All-Star as a player, winning NBA Coach of the Year, and winning an NBA Championship as coach of the Boston Celtics.

During his playing days Doc was a reliable point guard with the ability to score, averaging over 10 points and six assists per game during his 13 years in the league. Austin, who has yet to find himself a starting gig in the league, has only been able to average seven points and two assists over his first six NBA seasons.

2 Joe Bryant


Joe Bryant was a professional basketball player for 17 years. After seven years as a reserve in the NBA, Joe took his family overseas and continued his career in Italy as well as Greece for another 10 years. During his time as a professional, he was unaware of the impact his son would have on  the game in the future, leaving his career an afterthought, even on occasion a joke when compared to his son's.

1 Seth Curry

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Being the son of one of the NBA's greatest shooters can't be an easy thing to live down, especially of you are an aspiring NBA 3-point shooter yourself. That is the position Seth finds himself in, as he strives to become a solid NBA player. Seth also has a brother who lived in the same shadow, Steph Curry... you might have heard of him. The legacy built by father Dell, then expanded and solidified by brother Steph, has left Seth with little chance of equaling his family members.

Seth signed with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, and is hoping to finally make a name for himself. He will always be a Curry, and he will always be expected to drill threes from 30 feet, but the chance of him accomplishing what his brother already has is all but impossible. Steph has been to back-to-back NBA Finals, and he is the reigning back-to-back league MVP. With a resume like that at the age of 27, it will be hard for Seth to make a true statement and become something other that Steph's little brother, or Dell's son.

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Top 15 NBA Players Who Failed To Live Up To Their Family Legacy