Being a child of a sports legend is no small burden. Everybody's expecting you to not only follow in your parent's footsteps, but actually excel at it just like he/she did. The problem with that is there's no certain formula for success. If genes alone would guarantee sports supremacy, we would definitely see a lot of athlete couples getting together just to have enormously talented kids and dominate the world of sports for generations.
Falling short of such lofty expectations is one thing, embarrassing your parents is another. This is not only true on the court or field, but more so off it. If a child is smart enough to notice that he/she will never reach the same heights as his/her parent(s), they can still shame them by getting into fights, drinking or causing a ruckus from time to time. Surrounded by enormous wealth, it's easy for these kids to take that for granted.
Here are 15 kids that shamed their famous parents either by participating in athletic competitions rather poorly or getting into trouble in their off time.
15 Larry Bird
Another member of the original Dream Team, Larry Bird, also has a complicated relationship with his children. Corrie Bird, his daughter from his first marriage, hasn't spoken to the Boston legend for years. His daughter from his second marriage manages to stay out of the media spotlight, but his son is a very different story. Connor Bird was arrested in 2011 for underage drinking and disorderly conduct. In 2013 the then-21 year old attempted to run his ex-girlfriend over with his car during an argument between the two. After he was stopped by the police, they also found some illegal substances on him.
14 Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky is regarded as the best hockey player of all time. A true ambassador of the sport who played the game profoundly and elegantly, no athlete has been more dominant in his career than Gretzky. His son, Trevor, is a professional baseball player, who was last seen playing for the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in Canada. He never managed to make the MLB and it's doubtful that he ever will. Wayne's daughter Paulina is a natural beauty who likes to flaunt her good looks on social media to the obvious disdain of her parents. She skipped college to become a singer.
13 Scottie Pippen
Known by the Twitter handle @moetmami, the Drake fan (since he's known as the Champagne Papi) and party enthusiast, Sierra Pippen is quite a looker and she's just 22. When underage, the intoxicated high jumper stumbled into a hotel lobby, urinated on the floor and simply left. She was arrested by the police. As it turned out, she was arrested earlier the same month for arguing with the hotel security. All in all, Pippen doesn't have a great relationship with his children. He has seven of them, four with his (still) wife Larsa, so managing these relationships must be hard. His other daughter born out of wedlock, Taylor, is a volleyball player, so at least he can be proud of her, right?
12 Joe Montana
Another kid destined for greatness, Nate Montana didn't quite live up to the expectations as well. His father was Joe Cool, one of the best if not THE best Quarterback in NFL history. While the chance of his son being on his level was already very low, the boy should at least make the pros, right? Nathaniel Joseph changed schools four times and he played for four different programs during his five years in college. Needless to say, he didn't get drafted. In 2010, while at Notre Dame, he was also arrested for underage drinking. This probably to some degree influenced his chances of becoming a pro.
11 Patrick Ewing
When you're not only named after your father, but also attend the same college and are allowed to wear the same number as him, it pretty much puts a big target on your back and somewhat sets you up for failure. Very few individuals would achieve great things under such pressure and Patrick Ewing's son wasn't one of them. He transferred to Georgetown after two years at Indiana University and had some success as a sixth man for the team, playing for John Thompson III, the son of his Hall of Fame father's Hall of Fame coach. Ewing Jr. was even drafted by the Kings and was given an opportunity to try out for the Knicks. He was waived by them before the start of the regular season. At least Ewing Jr. was smart enough to play for Jamaica's National Team instead of the US like his father. He wouldn't get a chance to play for the latter.
10 Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders was known not only for his football and baseball skills, but also for his swagger. He was a true showman, a man that made playing defence cool. Apart from being a bad rapper, Primetime's son is very concerned with being "hood." To the point that his father had to personally shame him on Twitter for pretending to be a relatable, regular guy, rather than what Deion Sr. described as "a Huxtable with a million $ trust fund." Sanders Jr.'s football career is not impressive either, as at SMU he was more known for having Versace sheets in the dorm than his play on the field.
9 Phil Simms
Phil Simms was one of the best NFL quarterbacks during his time in the league, which is not something you can say about his two sons, who both wanted to follow in his footsteps. Matt is currently a free agent, after stints with the Jets, Bills and Falcons. It seems that his unimpressive NFL record of 1 touchdown and 1 interception will remain unchanged forever.
Matt's older brother, Chris, was a more dependable player and actually generated some buzz in high school. In the NFL he played for the Buccaneers, Titans and Broncos. In no way was he as good as his father, but at least he managed to start some games. To his defense, Simms suffered a life-threatening injury in 2006, which prevented him from making a larger impact in the NFL. He's now on the coaching staff of the New England Patriots.
8 John Stockton
John Stockton is one of the best point guards in NBA history. His partnership with Karl Malone was one of the most lethal combos in professional basketball. John's son, David, also attended Gonzaga University just like his father and was also a point guard. However, unlike his father, David was never drafted by an NBA team. He played in just three games, as a member of the Sacramento Kings. He looks just like his father and is also a pass-first type of player, but is not at the same level as the great John Stockton. He seems better suited for a team like the NBA G League Reno Bighorns for which he has played three times already.
7 Mike Singletary
When your father is a ten time Pro-Bowler, Super Bowl winner and member of one of the best defences in football history, maybe following in his footsteps is not the best idea. Playing the same position is also a very risky move. Mike Singletary was a football legend, while his son Matt went un-drafted. Eventually, after a rather unsuccessful NFL career, he focused on a different line of work. He has starred in movies like "Hood" and a series called "Roommates." You might not have seen them, but let's give him some time, as he's just getting started in the film industry.
6 Walter Payton
Playing the same position as your father, with your father being the best player EVER at that position, you had better be really good and confident in your abilities. Walter Payton was a legendary running back and his son followed in his footsteps. Jarrett Payton achieved one thing his father never did - he won the World Bowl (European equivalent of the Super Bowl). He was actually a very useful member of the Amsterdam Admirals then, yet he couldn't find a home in the NFL. Just like his father, Payton ended his professional career in Chicago, as a member of the Chicago Slaughter, a team playing in the Indoor Football League.
5 Kellen Winslow
Kellen Winslow Sr. is considered one of the best tight ends in NFL history. He scored 45 touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl five times as a member of the San Diego Chargers. His son was actually drafted with a higher pick than his father which set the expectations higher than they probably should have been. He has been a decent player in the NFL and even appeared in the Pro Bowl once, but he clearly wasn't as great as his father. The end of his career was exceptionally hard to watch. In 2014 he was charged with possession and accused of doing some shady things in a Target parking lot.
4 Jerry Rice
It seems that once a legend names a child after himself, it's a recipe for disaster. This seems to be a reoccurring theme on this list and Jerry Rice's son is another example of this rather unpleasant trend. Rice was an NFL legend, perhaps the best wide receiver in league history while his son, at 26 years old, must still crack the league. Before even attempting to make any impact as a pro, Rice Jr. went un-drafted in 2014 and was signed by the Redskins, but suffered an injury in training camp and was eventually cut. He's been a free agent since 2016, which doesn't bode well for his football future.
3 Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona was one of the best soccer players in history. One that has his own church and is so beloved in his home country that he was able to coach the Argentina National Team despite lacking substantial coaching skills. When in Naples, Maradona had an affair with an Italian woman, the result of which was Diego Sinagra, born in 1986. Maradona refused to acknowledge his son until 1993 and met him for the first time in 2003. Sinagra might have the looks and the first name of his father, but clearly not much else. The high point of Sinagra's career remains his sole cap for the Italian U-17 squad.
2 Michael Jordan
The greatest basketball player of all time succeeded only partially because of his talent. Jordan was a tremendously hard worker, one that was so competitive that he refused to lose to his teammates in Pac-Man or ping pong. Unfortunately, his sons didn't inherit the same work ethic. The older one, Jeffrey, struggled as a point guard for the University of Illinois, as he just couldn't focus on basketball enough to put together one good season (or any season). Marcus, the younger of the two, was an OK player at the University of Central Florida, but cost his team a deal with Adidas by wearing his father's shoes. He also didn't go pro. Jeffrey works for Nike in Oregon, while Marcus owns a shoe store at Disney Springs in Orlando.
Edinho, the son of Pele, picked his occupation rather wisely - instead of deciding to be a field player, he avoided any comparisons with his father by becoming a goalie. And a quite good one, even though he retired at the relatively young age of 29. Most goalies enter their prime around that time. Edinho, like some Southern American goalies, also managed to score some goals during his career. It's what happened afterwards that shamed Pele's legacy - in 2014, long after his retirement, Edinho was convicted to 33 years in jail for laundering money. He's currently serving a 12 year sentence.
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