Being related to a famous athlete undoubtedly has its benefits. Conversely, having a loved one who is a celebrity also inevitably has its downfalls.
“One of the issues is that celebrity parents are more narcissistic and self-absorbed than the average parent,” said Los Angeles-based psychiatrist Carole Lieberman.
“Therefore, during childhood, the celebrity children get less nurturing, less attention, less love, because the parents are absorbed with their own careers. This lack of attention and nurturing leaves a hole in them, leaves an emptiness, which causes a lot of them to turn to vices to fill it up. It leaves them depressed.”
To compound abandonment issues, an individual related to a household name can feel overshadowed and struggle to establish their own individuality.
“The glare of somebody else’s personality outshines you,” said Adam Klugman, whose father, Jack Klugman, was an Emmy Award-winning actor. “When you have a famous parent, it’s hard to get a good look at yourself, because the glare of the fame is pretty great. You’re struggling with issues of identity anyway as a child, as an adolescent … .”
Primarily due to genetics, a superstar’s offspring is typically expected to thrive in the field of athletics. However, despite genealogical ties, an athlete’s child is certainly not bound for glory as a sportsperson. When a child fails to excel in sports, they may wrongly be deemed a disappointment. Henceforth, this child may battle an inferiority complex and make poor decisions to gain a false feeling of belonging. With this noted, let’s review 15 athletes who, for various reasons, were ashamed of their family members.
15. DEZ BRYANT (Mom, ANGELA BRYANT)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was born to a 15-year-old girl named Angela Bryant in November 1988. When Bryant was 8 years old, Angela was busted and imprisoned for peddling crack cocaine.
“The reason my mom sold drugs and went to jail is so we could live,” said Bryant, 28. “She paid a hard price for it. Now she doesn’t ever have to do anything like that again.”
Despite Bryant’s incredibly tumultuous childhood, he flourished on the gridiron and eventually accepted a scholarship to play football for Oklahoma State University. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Bryant prospered in Stillwater and was drafted by Dallas with the 24th overall pick in 2010. Unacceptably, before the Cowboys took the 2008 consensus All-American, various teams’ executives grilled Bryant about his mother’s background. Most outrageously, former Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked Bryant if Angela was a prostitute.
Two years after becoming a member of America’s Team, Bryant was charged with a Class A misdemeanor for assaulting Angela.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” said DeSoto, Texas, police captain Ron Smith.
“Him and his mom got in an argument. She had some injuries. We made an arrest.”
14. WAYNE GRETZKY (Daughter, PAULINA GRETZKY)
Iconic hockey player Wayne Gretzky and actress Janet Jones have had five children together since marrying on July 16, 1988. One of their kids, Paulina, matured into a sexpot who achieved fame by sharing scantily clad pictures of herself on social media. The Great One tired of Paulina’s revealing posts and demanded that she delete her online accounts.
“Having a nice sit down dinner with my dad about social media..haha,” tweeted Paulina, 28.
Although Paulina temporarily obliged, she resurfaced online with a series of raunchy photos in May 2012.
“Hi everyone I’m back!” she posted just days later, after fans berated the ice hockey player for stepping in. “But shh don’t tell my dad,” she added.
Paulina met golfer Dustin Johnson in January 2013 and the lovebirds got engaged seven months later. Unfortunately for the couple, Gretzky threatened to nix their wedding after the extent of Johnson’s drug problems emerged.
“He’s had drug problems for a while and the PGA always tried to keep it on the low. But because of his high-profile relationship, people figured it would come out sooner or later,” an insider connected to the sport said.
13. LAWRENCE TAYLOR (SON, LAWRENCE TAYLOR JR.)
Lawrence Taylor is a notorious lawbreaker and troublemaker. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Hall of Fame linebacker’s son, 33-year-old Lawrence Taylor Jr., is also a deeply damaged and disturbed man. Junior was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May 2015Junior, who like his dad is a registered sex offender, pled guilty to all charges.
“Resolving this case with a guilty plea provides the victims with finality and prevents them from having to relive their experiences on the witness stand,” assistant Cobb County District Attorney Hannah Palmquist said. “Justice was done in this case, not only because the defendant will serve 10 years in prison, but because the victims will not have to be put through the emotional toll of a trial.”
12. LEBRON JAMES’ (MOTHER, GLORIA JAMES)
A 16-year-old Gloria James gave birth to her son, LeBron James, and raised him by herself in seedy areas across Akron, Ohio. In spite of such difficult circumstances, Gloria helped James thrive and he became one of the most decorated players in NBA history. Still, during James’ final season as a Cleveland Cavalier before he bolted for South Beach, middling ballplayer Delonte West had sexual relations with Gloria in 2010. When West was asked why he didn’t name his son Delonte Jr., the journeyman replied that he didn’t want his offspring to be associated with a guy who fornicated with LBJ’s mom.
“I named my son Cash after Cassius Clay and Johnny Cash,” said West, 34.
“His middle name is Delonte, but I didn’t want to name him Delonte West Jr. just because of that… I don’t want my son going to school and people making fun of him for something his daddy did, ‘Oh, didn’t yo daddy have sex with LeBron James’ mama?’ Man, I don’t want to deal with all that.”
11. MICHAEL JORDAN (SON, MARCUS JORDAN)
Michael Jordan is almost universally recognized as the premier player in the annals of the NBA. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Jordan collected every noteworthy award over his 15-year career in the association. More significantly, His Airness piloted the Chicago Bulls to six championships. Jordan, a five-time MVP, 14-time All-Star and 10-time All-NBA First Team selection, was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in September 2009. During Jordan’s despicable rant of a speech, he told his two sons, Jeffrey and Marcus, that he “wouldn’t want to be you guys.”
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Marcus was a solid shooting guard for the University of Central Florida. In fact, Marcus earned a spot on the 2011 Conference USA’s second-team. Removed from the hardwood, in the span of just over a year, the bespectacled Marcus propositioned a porn star on Twitter, was arrested for causing a disturbance outside of a hotel in Nebraska and shared a picture of his privates on social media. According to a news release, Marcus was “very animated, intoxicated and uncooperative,” and it took multiple officers to control and handcuff him.
10. KEVIN NASH’S SON, TRISTEN NASH
Christmastime at Big Sexy’s house isn’t exactly merry. WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash got into a brawl with his 18-year-old son, Tristen, on Christmas Eve morning in 2014. Apparently, the 6-foot-10, 330-pound Nash was seething when the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Tristen came home drunk from his girlfriend’s house. Nash chided Tristen for getting blitzed and questioned his girlfriend’s character. After Tristen allegedly “slung his mom around the kitchen” and “spit in his (father’s) face,” Nash went ballistic and fought his son. Police arrived shortly after the fracas erupted and arrested Nash and Tristen on charges of battery.
“The kid was out of control, and the father was defending his wife. I’m pretty confident we will have a resolution in the next couple of months,” Nash’s lawyer, Michael J. Politis, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
9. DUSTIN PEDROIA (BROTHER, BRETT PEDROIA)
Dustin Pedroia’s brother, Brett, is a pederast with a record. His crime is so disgusting, we’d rather not share it here. For his heinous and unforgivable crime, Brett was sentenced to a year in jail and eight years’ probation.
“It was tough,” said Pedroia, 34, a Boston Red Sox legend.
“It hurt when they wrote all that stuff and put my name in the paper. It upset me, especially when my hometown paper started it up. I learned from it, man. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s actions. I think everyone knows what type of guy I am. But that part was tough.”
8. KELLEN WINSLOW (SON, KELLEN WINSLOW II)
Kellen Winslow is a Hall of Famer who is roundly considered one of the preeminent tight ends in NFL history. Kellen Winslow II was a dominant tight end for the Miami Hurricanes who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the sixth overall selection in 2004. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Winslow II was initially a force as a Brown and he made the Pro Bowl in 2007. Regrettably, due to an array of injuries and moronic choices, Winslow II badly backtracked and became a laughingstock in Cleveland. The former Hurricane became something of a journeyman and he collected paychecks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and New York Jets. Winslow II’s low point occurred as a Jet outside a Target in East Hanover, New Jersey, in November 2013. In this incident, Winslow II was arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana and accused of, um…. not being the master of his domain, in his black Cadillac Escalade.
7. HULK HOGAN (SON, NICK BOLLEA)
Hulk Hogan is widely lauded as history’s preeminent wrestler. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound Hogan, a 2005 WWE Hall of Fame inductee, amassed a total of 12 titles performing for McMahon’s promotion and the now-defunct WCW. His in-ring success notwithstanding, Hogan is an extremely polarizing figure with a controversial family. Hogan’s son, Nick Bollea, was a menace on the roads who refused to drive safely. On August 26, 2007, a drunken Bollea caused a car crash that left his best friend, John Graziano, in critical condition. Bollea was charged with felony reckless driving and sentenced to eight months in Pinellas County Jail in Largo, Florida.
“I would like to apologize to the Grazianos and to my family for the accident. Every single day I think about the accident and about John,” said Bollea, 27. “I will never ever be able to say I’m sorry enough.”
6. DON MATTINGLY (Son, TAYLOR MATTINGLY)
New York Yankees legend Don Mattingly was a tremendous ballplayer who always conducted himself in a classy manner. Sadly, Mattingly’s son, Taylor, sounds like an utter scumbag. Taylor, who the Yankees drafted in the 42nd round of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft, was arrested for shoving and spitting in his mother’s face on July 22, 2009. Donnie Baseball’s kid was charged with battery, battery by bodily waste and criminal mischief. According to multiple reports, Taylor went ballistic when he learned that his mother, Kim Mattingly, canceled their cable TV service.
“Taylor advised he and Kim began to argue and that Kim was being confrontational,” Evansville Deputy Nathan Espenlaub wrote in a police affidavit. “Taylor advised he snapped, pushed Kim down and spit on her.”
5. PELE (SON, EDINHO)
Retired footballer Pelé is widely deemed peerless at his craft. On the flipside, Pelé’s son, Edinho, was an inept money launderer and drug trafficker for a Brazilian criminal organization. A former goalkeeper for Santos Futebol Clube, Edinho was sentenced to 33 years behind bars for his role in the narcotics trade in 2014.
“The frustration is huge because I’m being accused of money laundering, but I’ve never done that,” said Edinho, 47, who appealed his guilty verdict for nearly a decade.
“There’s no proof in this process of that. The argument is related to my friendship with the other accused. I have never denied that but I have never laundered money. The argument for conviction is simply friendship. It’s difficult to accept and to go through everything I’ve gone through for more than 15 years.”
Authorities revealed that Edinho was wiretapped discussing drug transactions.
4. TERRANCE MATHIS (SON, ERIK MATHIS)
The New York Jets selected wide receiver Terrance Mathis out of the University of New Mexico with the 140th pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Mathis mainly crashed as a Jet in the swamps of Jersey. However, following four seasons with Gang Green, Mathis signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent and immediately soared.
Approximately eight years after Mathis retired as a Pittsburgh Steeler, his 19-year-old son, Erik Mathis, pled guilty to bank robbery in an Albuquerque federal court and was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
“I’ve got a big (expletive) gun; give me the money now,” FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Romero said Mathis told another teller.
3. LARRY BIRD’S SON, CONNOR BIRD
Larry Legend’s son, Connor, is an unknown domestic abuser. As reported by the Indianapolis Star, a 21-year-old Connor “was charged with battery, criminal recklessness and possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana after he was arrested when his ex-girlfriend reported that he had driven his car at her during an argument on the Indiana University campus.” Connor, who was also apprehended in 2011 for underage drinking and disorderly conduct, retained the services of a criminal defense lawyer.
“It is a private matter we are hoping to resolve as quickly as possible,” Connor’s attorney, John Tompkins, said in a statement. “We are happy no one was seriously hurt.”
Connor pled guilty to a misdemeanor criminal recklessness charge in April 2014. Considering that Bird was a C-level executive for the Indiana Pacers when Connor went batshit crazy, it’s safe to presume that Larry Legend was enraged with his kid’s sinister behavior.
2. JOHN ELWAY (SON, JACK ELWAY)
Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway is arguably better at running a football franchise than he was performing on the gridiron. Unlike his father, if a June 2014 episode is any indication, Jack Elway is only gifted mistreating his girlfriend. According to the police report obtained by TMZ Sports, the 24-year-old Elway badly battered his partner.
“Elway got out and proceeded to pull [victim] out of the vehicle by her hair causing her hair extensions and some of her real hair to be ripped out. The GF says she attempted to stand up and get back in the car but Elway pushed her down to the ground again.”
Jack pleaded guilty to charges of disturbing the peace and assault and received a year of probation in June 2016.
1. NICK VAN EXEL (SON, NICKEY MAXWELL VAN EXEL)
Nick Van Exel’s son, a 22-year-old Nickey Maxwell Van Exel, shot to death his longtime friend, Bradley Eyo, in December 2010. Van Exel, an All-Star with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1998, has been essentially inconsolable since the slaying occurred. Nickey was sentenced to 60 years in prison for murdering Eyo and dumping his body on the east side of Dallas near Lake Ray Hubbard.
“I’m really sorry to the Eyo family,” said a crying Van Exel.
“Nobody should have to go through something like this. Nobody. When it first happened it probably haunted me for like the first two years because I knew [Eyo] so well, I knew his brother very well. He stayed at my house in the summers. I took him to the [NBA] Finals in 2006 — he and his brother — when Dallas played Miami, and I had them in Miami. For me, I look at both sides. If I was on the other side I would be upset, angry. Then I look at it like, this is my son, this is who I fathered. I didn’t raise him to be that way.”
Living by the creed “snitches get stitches,” Nickey purportedly did what he did to ensure that Eyo wouldn’t discuss robberies they committed together in Houston earlier that year.
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