It is incredibly hard to become a professional athlete. One thing that may work to an athlete's advantage is having family members who have walked a similar path. Because while the idea of playing in the NHL may seem like an impossible dream to some, it may become a lot more viable if your father was a Hall of Fame player. But unfortunately for 8 athletes on our list, their father was just a reminder as to how hard it is to be successful. Because while Bob Gainey is one of the best hockey players to ever play, his son Steve never managed to score a goal in his NHL career. Though he isn't the only son to disappoint, as Gary Payton and Tony Dorsett may also not be too thrilled about how their son's careers have turned out.
We have athletes from every major sport that provide insight into just how impossible the shadow cast by their father was to outshine. And when their career does finally come to a pitiful end, it does so with the knowledge that they disappointed the family name. 8 other amazing athletes on our list will also show the advantages that must have come with having a famous father. Such as Dwayne Johnson who grew up around the sport of professional wrestling prior to his own dominance in the sport. And while some athletes have been known to have big egos, Dell Curry would be the first person to admit that his son, Steph, has made his career look like that of a scrub.
These are the 8 Athletes Who Couldn't Succeed In Their Father's Shadow (And 8 Who Made Them Look Like Scrubs).
16 Couldn't Succeed: John Stockton (David Stockton)
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry's career may look very different if they never had to run into the brick wall that is LeBron James, at least as far as the Toronto Raptors are concerned. There are many teams that, like LeBron James, Michael Jordan gave their fans nightmares. None perhaps more than the Utah Jazz who had the pleasure of losing to Air Jordan in back-to-back finals. And the person that got the best view of Jordan's dominance was John Stockton who alongside Karl Malone was doing everything he could to slow him down. Stockton may have never won an NBA Finals, but he did put together a career worthy of the Hall of Fame. This includes 10 All-Star game appearances and the most assists in NBA history; with 15,806. Chris Paul has perhaps the best shot to pass him, with 8,708.
John's son, David, on the other hand, would be lucky to suit up for an NBA game next season.
But if it does, it perhaps fittingly will be with the Jazz. He played 3 games with the team this past year after signing consecutive 10-day-contracts, followed by a contract that allowed him to finish off the year with them. He did play in New Zealand, but a back injury derailed his career there.
15 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: Peyton And Eli Manning (Archie Manning)
Archie Manning spent 13 years in the NFL working as a quarterback primarily for the New Orleans Saints. Throughout the course of his career, he amassed close to 24,000 yards passing and 125 Touchdowns. Though if you want to factor in the concept of actually winning a football game, Arche definitely had his struggles. That wasn't always his fault but he did have a career record of 35-101-3. Bad record or not, normally if this was a typical family playing in 100+ NFL games means that Archie would be able to consider himself the "athlete" of the family.
But unlike either of his sons, Manning never managed to make it to the Super Bowl (duh!). And when you put his stats up in comparison, you can understand why the Manning Family needed to be on this list. We're sure you know all about the success of two of his sons, Peyton and Eli, both of whom will end up in the Hall of Fame, even if that wouldn't be the case for Eli if Tom had been able to add to his legacy. We're sure Archie also doesn't mind the opportunity to live vicariously through his sons. Especially when he sees some of the brutal hits that Eli still has to take! Let's hope Saquon Barkley can make a difference in New York or the Manning family may no longer be playing in the NFL. (Source: ProFootballResources).
14 Couldn't Succeed: Anthony Dorsett (Tony Dorsett)
Tony Dorsett was one hell of a running back. Drafted #2 overall, we're sure the New York Giants would be thrilled if their #2 running back, Saquon Barkley, would ever be able to live up to a career that was as legendary as Tony's. Especially if that also means taking home a Super Bowl; which Tony did when the Cowboys knocked off the Broncos back in 1978.
But that was a legacy that Tony's son, Anthony, was definitely never going to be able to live up to.
Perhaps Anthony tried to avoid it entirely. As while he did love football, Anthony was more focused on the defensive side of the ball and was drafted as a safety. And while his Dad was the Heisman winner coming out of college, Anthony was seemingly considered to be an afterthought on draft day and went in the 6th round, with the 177th pick in the draft to the then, Houston Oilers. He did make it to two Super Bowls, which means it would have been funny if he ended up with more rings than Dad, but lost both games (to the Rams and Buccaneers). Anthony eventually found himself trying to make it in the CFL, but was cut from the Toronto Argonauts in training camp.
13 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: Al Horford (Tito Horford)
Al Horford's father, Tito, only managed to play 3 years in the NBA, but his passion for the sport of basketball led to him playing overseas in Spain as well. Which seems to indicate that he taught his son about how to really love the game of basketball for what it is, and not just as the opportunity to become rich. We are sure Tito is also ecstatic that his son, Al, has managed to put together a career that will seemingly last for as long as Horford stays healthy. Because let's be honest, there are a ton of terrible players in the NBA that have no business being on the court, and Al won't be among that group for a very long time.
While he's battled injuries in the past, when Big Al is healthy, he's got the potential to completely turn the game around for the Boston Celtics and any other team that may be fortunate enough to land his services before his time is done. He's already been to 5 All-Star games and while some fans may not have been following him as closely when he was in Atlanta, he's been worthy of the public spotlight for years now.
12 Couldn't Succeed: Garett Bischoff (Eric Bischoff)
Eric Bischoff may not have made a name for himself for his prowess in the ring, but he is still considered one of the most influential men in the history of professional wrestling for his contributions behind the scenes and as an on-screen personality. His son, Garett, not so much. He knew that being the son of Eric was going to bring with it some difficulties "There would be those that just assume I'm there just because I was Eric Bischoff's son, whether it be people in the TNA ranks or the fans, or whoever. I just decided I was going to take it stride and rise above it the best I can and prove to everyone else that I'm not just there because I'm Eric Bischoff's son."
While Garett had plenty of opportunities to succeed, including getting training from Hulk Hogan, he was never able to truly find his groove. Though he did get to feud with his father on TNA, which we're sure was at the very least a memorable experience for him. After failing to make a name for himself at TNA, Garett moved on to the independent circuit and signed on with CWF back in 2015. (Source: Mandatory, Wiki).
11 Parent Looked Like a Scrub: Randy Orton (Bob Orton)
It would only be natural of Randy Orton felt nervous when he was making a name for himself in the WWE, as his grandfather Bob Orton Sr. and his father who is best recognized as "Cowboy" Bob Orton can both be considered to be legends in the industry. But when Randy Orton sat down with the company for an interview and was asked about the expectations he may have felt going into his career, he replied "I rose to the top real quick, and I was surrounded by Triple H, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, these guys who were very well respected in the profession, and they wanted to work with me, so I knew I was doing something right. There was never a point early on where I went, “Oh, God, they’re going to expect so much of me because my dad is who he is and my grandfather is who he is.”
Orton went on to admit that he only felt nervous when he was training in OVW. Orton's career got off to a strong start and while he's not been immune to controversies (and suspensions), he's still one of the most succesful wrestlers of all-time and has left a legacy behind that will outshine his family. (Source: WWE).
10 Couldn't Succeed: Steve Gainey (Bob Gainey)
Bob Gainey is one of the most talented players to ever pick up a stick. Something that was perhaps solidified when he was literally declared as one of the 100 greatest hockey players of all-time when NHL.com ran a piece on the topic. Among the accolades awarded to Bob over his career was the Selke Trophy; awarded to the best defensive, forward, which he took home 4 times. In doing so, setting an NHL record that has gone on to be tied by Patrice Bergeron. Perhaps the hockey gods are having some fun with it being a Canadien and Bruin in the record books!
His son, Steve Gainey, knew how to play hockey. And while Bob raised the Stanley Cup 4 times for his time on the ice, Steve who played as a center only lasted 4 seasons and never scored. His final stint was 20 games for Phoenix in 2005-2006 in which he amassed 1 assist. Which means that the nicest moment for Steve in his career was probably when he was drafted back in 1997 when he went 77th overall to the Stars. Who at the time, had Bob as their general manager, which also may have had an influence on their decision! (Source: NHL).
9 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: Ken Griffey Jr. (Ken Griffey Sr.)
When Ken Griffey Jr's Dad was asked to comment on his son's Hall of Fame career, he couldn't help but rib him at least a little bit "He didn’t ask me and I wasn’t going to give him any (advice) [on his speech]. The only thing I tell him is that I got three World Series rings and he doesn’t have any. But I told him he has the big ring now, so he’s the boss.”
Because while Griffey Sr's career had some great moments, including 3 trips to the All-Star game, that's nothing in comparison to the storied career that his son put together.
But when you consider Griffey Jr. was a Mariner for most of his career, it's no wonder he was never able to win a world series! Griffey Jr's 22-year-career saw him do remarkable things including amass 1,836 RBI's, 630 Home Runs and 2,781 hits. The two also did manage to play 51 games together. In doing so, they became the first Father-Son duo in MLB history. Which speaks not only to Sr's longevity as a player, but also the remarkable star that his son was good enough to play in the league at the age of 20. (Source: TheNewsTribune).
8 Couldn't Succeed: Dale Berra (Yogi Berra)
There aren't many players who left a legacy on the game of baseball quite like Yogi Berra. Along with being responsible for some of the most infamous quotes of all-time, such as "It ain't over, till it's over" and an extensive playing career, Yogi also found success as a manager where we are sure he had no shortage of amazing speeches to his players. While he managed many legends, his job on the bench included an opportunity to coach his son, Dale, whose career definitely wasn't as legendary as his father.
When talking about the opportunity, Dale stated "It's a dream come true. Living at home in New Jersey. Playing for my father. Playing for the Yankees. What could be better?'' Yogi had two other sons, one of whom had his minor league baseball career come to an end after he suffered an injury and another who went on to play in the NFL. Dale's career saw him play from 1977-1987 with a .236 batting average, 49 home runs and 278 RBI's. Which means that we're sure if you were thinking about how things could have been better for Dale, perhaps he could have been more successful? In contrast, Yogi played from 1946-1965 with a .285 average, 358 home runs and 1,430 RBI's. He also managed over 800 games with an overall record of 484-444. (Source: CSMonitor).
7 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: Stephen Curry (Dell Curry)
When Dell Curry sat down for an interview with GQ and was asked about when he realized his son, Steph, was going to be something special and succeed in the NBA, he replied "He could always shoot, but next level? Early on in college. Because that was the first time that he played off the ball. He played on the ball in high school: getting off the ball, coming off down screens. [So] probably his freshman or sophomore year in college."
Dell was also not afraid to admit that Steph is far better of a player than he was, though Dell to his credit was in the NBA from 1986-2002, "He’s definitely better than I was. I had a two-dribble limit. He’s probably best off the dribble. His range is definitely farther than mine was. But it’s a different NBA. I would never take 35-foot three-pointers with 17 seconds on the shot clock. So it’s a different game, and he plays with a team and a coach that allows him to play that freely." He also revealed that he has a lot more fun watching the game as a father than as a player. You have to imagine it's probably a lot less stressful too! (Source: GQ).
6 Couldn't Succeed: Gary Payton II (Gary Payton)
The career of Gary Payton II is definitely still not over which means that perhaps it's a little premature to be saying that he won't live up to the very big shoes that were left to fill by his father. But there are definitely a few big differences that help separate the career trajectory of what Gary Payton II looks like, versus that of his Hall of Fame father, Gary. For example, Gary Payton was drafted 2nd overall in the 1990 draft.
His son went undrafted in 2016. And while Gary Payton started making contributions immediately, his son doesn't seem to be having quite the same success. In the first 2 years that he was in the NBA as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, Gary Payton II only managed to play in 6 games his rookie campaign and 12 games the subsequent year, though at least it was an improvement? In 2017-2018, he saw a change of scenery playing for the L.A. Lakers; where his father also played for a brief stint which we're sure made it an extra fun experience. Sadly, it was an experience that only lasted 11 games, none of which he started in and he averaged less than 4 points a game.
5 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: Zach Parise (J.P. Parise)
Zach Parise's dream for a Stanley Cup came up short this year as his Minnesota Wild were knocked out of the playoffs. But that's a dream that is only going to be accomplished by one team every year and Parise can hopefully be upbeat enough to realize that he still has one of the coolest jobs in the world. That being said, Parise had to be disappointed with how the year went regardless of the end result. He only managed to suit up in 42 games after requiring back surgery and then went on to fracture his sternum in a playoff game. But while this year has had some disappointing moments for Parise, that's not to discredit the incredible career that Parise has put together that has often made him a fixture on highlight reels.
No year was perhaps quite as impactful as 2008-2009 when Parise put up a career-high 94 points and emerged as one of the premier scorers in the game. Parise learned a lot from his father, J.P Parise who like Zach, played a solid portion of his career for Minnesota; though that was back when they were the North Stars! His best season, however, came when he was suiting up for the New York Islanders and put up 57 points in 1975-1976.
4 Couldn't Succeed: Chris And Ryan Bourque (Ray Bourque)
Now we are going to open this entry by giving Chris Bourque some credit. When it comes to successful players in the AHL, there is definitely a good reason to have his name come up in consideration. After all, he was successful in bringing home the league's MVP trophy during the 2015-2016 season. Which we're sure was a tremendous accomplishment and at least made him feel good about being able to excel at the level of hockey that he can compete at.
But when you consider his Dad is going to go down in history as perhaps the greatest defenseman of all-time, you can understand why many people would feel that Chris is firmly left in the shadows. Also in a similar situation is Ray's other son, Ryan. Who while drafted in 2009, has only seen action in 1 NHL game and played primarily in the AHL; including 75 games this past season. Both brothers play forward positions, which also begs the question as to if they ever considered making the transition over to defense and regret not making the switch. It's not like Dad wouldn't have been able to give you a few different pointers that probably could have made a difference!
3 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: Klay Thompson (Mychal Thompson)
Klay Thompson's father, Mychal, definitely had a lot of knowledge that he passed on to Klay to help him succeed in the NBA. And while Mychal is a former 1st overall pick, as well as a 2 time NBA Champion, by the time things are settled he is definitely going to be pushed into the shadows by Klay's accomplishments. Klay, like his father, has taken home the championship on two separate occasions and something tells us the Warriors aren't done winning.
While Klay could take his talents elsewhere, he's also made it abundantly clear that he doesn't mind being the #1 guy on a team.
He said: "I don’t care [about the spotlight]. I get paid handsomely, I play in a great place in the Bay Area, and we compete for championships year in and year out. And that’s hard to do. A lot of guys never get that opportunity. So I’m grateful just to be part of this team. We’ve got such a good thing going.” A tremendous attitude like that can also be attributed to Mychal's teachings. The only thing that will stop Klay from passing his father in key stats, such as points - which he is currently is by roughly 2,000 - will be if he succumbs to injury. Something that we're sure nobody, especially Mychal, is hoping for. (Source: SlamOnline).
2 Couldn't Succeed: Chris Simms (Phil Simms)
If we're being upfront, one of the most painful things in the world used to be having to listen to Chris Simms, father, Phil, work as an announcer for an NFL game. But when it came to Phil on the football field, there were definitely plenty of fond memories for Giants fans to hopefully made it hurt a little bit less. Such as the fact that as their quarterback, he led them to two Super Bowl victories, one in the 1986 season when the Giants beat the Broncos and again in the 1990-1991 season when they were one of the teams that beat the Bills in the Super Bowl during that infamous 3-peat of failure. As a fun fact, they were actually the first team to beat the Bills. They went on to lose to the Redskins the following year and then the Cowboys.
His son, Chris, was smart enough to pick the same position as his Dad, but definitely did not come anywhere near making the same type of mark in the league. His career saw him play from 2004-2009, with his biggest chance to shine coming in the 2005 season with the Bucs. He played in 11 games and threw for 2,035 yards, but it wasn't enough to make anyone feel too comfortable and some perhaps wishing that Phil would come out of retirement!
1 Parent Looked Like A Scrub: The Rock
When you think about Dwayne Johnson, your mind might first go to all of the amazing accomplishments that he has had in Hollywood. And considering he's arguably the biggest action star in the entire world right now, it would definitely take a while if we started listing them off. But Dwayne Johnson's father, Rocky Johnson, was the reason that Dwayne's first rise to fame came in the world of professional wrestling. Rocky had a respectable career that saw him competing primarily in the NWA. He also had a brief stint in the WWF. But the things that Rocky did in the ring, definitely never came close to the accolades that Dwayne Johnson pulled off in between the ropes.
While we don't know if Dwayne's father takes quite as much of an interest in his acting career, as his time as a full-time professional wrestler, we're sure he is happy that his son has found a new passion that he loves. And considering Rocky is 73 and wrestled for close to 30 years, we're sure he would be the first person to tell you that wrestling isn't exactly kind on the body. Especially because Dwayne Johnson can always tap in his stunt double if things ever got too intense on the movie set!