Genetics are a funny thing. For me, genetics means that I have a big head and a predisposition to alcoholism. For other people, it means that they are big and fat, or perhaps skinny and gawky, and then there are those people whose genetics predisposes them to be godly in the field of athletics. Unfortunately, the latter group seems to be the exception to the rule, but for sports fans, that group has provided us with some of the best and most memorable moments in sports.
Wouldn’t it be great to belong to that elite group that is genetically predisposed to be athletic? Being six feet tall in the second grade and already being able to throw a ball half a mile? Well that’s the reality for some people, and they’ve been able to translate their abilities to professional sports. And if genetics have been good to them, why not expect the same from other members of the same family?
There are sporting families that we all know about. We all know that Archie Manning quarterbacked for the New Orleans Saints and sired two Super Bowl winning sons, Peyton and Eli. We all know about the Sedin twins who play on the same line for the Vancouver Canucks. But beyond these well-known sports families, there are also a bunch of other families working in sports that are lesser known. .
It’s not like these family relationships are meant to be kept secret, but they’re just not talked about as much as the obvious ones. For their families, it has to be pretty cool to be able to boast not one but two (or more) professional athletes in the family. Just imagine what those family dinners must be like.
Here’s the list of the 15 athletes you didn’t know were related.
15. Nick and Holley Mangold
Nick Mangold is the starting center for the New York Jets, but did you know that he has a sister who is a powerlifter? Holley competed at the 2012 London Olympics and actually tore a tendon in her wrist before she lifted, but was also able to avoid serious injury in a car crash by pushing on the steering wheel forcing it to crumple. Nick has been starting for the Jets since his rookie season and was even considered for the 2006 Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year Award.
14. Chris Chelios and Nikos Tselios
Chris Chelios and Nikos Tselios were cousins, but their last names were spelled differently. While they did in fact share a last name, Chris’s father Gus had changed the family name from Tselios to Chelios after arriving in America from Greece. Their names were pronounced the same, but Tselios represents the Greek spelling.
Chris as we know, is one of the best defensemen of all time. Nikos struggled throughout his career, as he was mostly stuck in the minors.
13. Barry and Shane Larkin
Barry Larkin enjoyed a Hall of Fame baseball career. He patrolled the infield for the Cincinnati Reds from 1986 to 2004 and was eventually inducted into Cooperstown in 2012.
His son Shane did not follow in his footsteps, instead carving his own path in the NBA. His NBA career is still young, as he was drafted back in 2013. He has struggled to find home in the NBA, already playing on his third team, the Brooklyn Nets.
12. Dan, Chris and Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski is the prolific tight end for the New England Patriots and is famed for not only his dominant play on the field, but also his frat boy party lifestyle off the field. Well, he also has two brothers who have also played professional sports and embody his off-the-field persona as well. Dan Gronkowski played tight end as well, but had a short-lived career in the NFL, while his brother Chris found a bit more success at full back. Chris bounced around the league for a bit until he was put on injured reserve in 2013 by the San Diego Chargers and was subsequently released.
11. Mark and Dan McGwire
Mark McGuire was involved in one of the most exciting events in MLB history when he was in a race to hit the homerun record in the same year Sammy Sosa was on pace to beat the record. It resulted in a race to see who would break the record first. What is less known is that McGwire also had a brother who played in the NFL.
Dan McGwire was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Dan’s career in the NFL never took off so that’s probably why you’ve never heard of him. The McGwires have a third brother, Jay who wrote a tell-all book which divulged that Mark allegedly use PEDs throughout his career.
10. The Cromarties
The Cromartie cousins have both had solid careers in the NFL but are also known as much for their off-field issues as they are for their talents on the field. Ironically the two now both make a living in the same stadium, with Antonio manning the secondary of the Jets alongside Darrelle Revis, while Rodgers-Cromartie leads a weak secondary with the Giants. Still, both have made the Pro Bowl in their careers and continue to display their talent, even if they’re not consistent.
9. Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair
Another set of basketball cousins, Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair were both at one point promising NBA stars. Marbury’s career eventually tailed off with the Knicks, while Telfair had a promising start out of high school, but proved to be a bust.
Both have since taken their talents to China, where Marbury continues to be a superstar there. Telfair played in the NBA as recently as the 2014-15 NBA season, but will likely have to resume his career overseas.
8. Jackie and Mack Robinson
Jackie Robinson was kind of a big deal in the history of sports. Jackie was the first African-American man who was allowed to play in the MLB, and he didn’t let that honor go unrequited. Only two years after breaking the color barrier, Jackie won the league’s MVP award and is listed as number 44 in Sporting News’ top 44 baseball players. Jackie also had a brother who was an incredible athlete in his own right.
Mack Robinson won the silver medal in the 1936 Olympics 200 meter dash, finishing only 0.4 seconds behind Olympic legend Jesse Owens.
7. Howie, Chris, and Kyle Long
In his day, Howie Long was a terrifying force for the Oakland Raiders. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1982 and played 13 seasons with the club, earning a Super Bowl ring and eight Pro Bowls. You probably know Howie better as one of the panelists on Fox’s pre-game show. Howie has two sons playing in the NFL today. Kyle Long plays on the O-Line for the Chicago Bears and has become one of the faces of the franchise. Chris Long plays defensive end and was just signed by the New England Patriots, but he was drafted second overall by the St. Louis Rams.
6. Vince Carter & Tracy McGrady
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady formed a duo that sparked Toronto’s love for their Raptors. They were one of the most dynamic duos in sports history, but what you may not know is that they were actually cousins.
The step second cousins played together for the Raptors and on the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team. It’s a shame they couldn’t stay in Toronto longer, as McGrady moved on to Orlando.
5. Joe and Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was one of the most dominant players in the NBA for 20 years. Bryant played his entire career with the L.A. Lakers and took home five NBA Championships, including the threepeat. He also attended the All-Star Game a record-setting 18 consecutive times. His father, Joe Bryant, also played for the NBA for nine seasons, and ended his playing career in Europe. Joe is currently a coach and most recently took the helm for the Rizing Fukuoka, a team in the Japanese bj league. Joe is also taller than his son Kobe, standing at a towering 6’9”.
4. Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose
Jimmy Walker and Jalen Rose sadly never actually met, despite Walker being Rose’s biological father. Walker was an All-American in college and was a two-time NBA All Star, after being drafted first overall in 1967.
Rose carved out a decent career for himself, being a first round pick in 1994 and going on to become an analyst once his basketball career ended. Walker died in 2007, having never met his son.
3. The Matthews Family
Clay Matthews III is the current sack leader for the Green Bay Packers, but you may not know that he comes from a long line of NFL players. His dad, Clay Matthews Jr., played for the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons and was a four time Pro-Bowl selection. Clay Matthews Jr. has a brother, Bruce Matthews, who played on the O-Line for the Oilers/Titans franchise and attended 14 consecutive Pro-Bowls and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. Casey, Kevin, and Jake are also members of the Matthews clan, and are waiting to make their mark on the sport.
2. Dell, Seth, and Steph Curry
You’d have to be living under a rock to not know who Steph Curry is. The most recent NBA MVP is helping lead his team, the Golden State Warriors, to their second consecutive NBA Championship. Steph also has a brother named Seth who plays for the Sacramento Kings. Their father, Dell, played 16 years in the NBA, in which he became the Charlotte Hornets all-time points and three-point field goal leader. Dell currently works as a color commentator.
1. Jon, Chandler and Arthur Jones
Here’s a group of brothers that I would not want to mess with. Jon Jones is the unorthodox MMA fighter who is the current interim UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Jon Jones boasts a 22-1 record in professional MMA. Chandler Jones played four seasons as outside linebacker with the New England Patriots and attended the 2015 Pro Bowl and owns a Super Bowl Ring. He was just traded to the Arizona Cardinals. Arthur Jones is a defensive end with the Indianapolis Colts and got a Super Bowl Ring of his own with the Ravens in 2012.
The Jones brothers are truly incredible, being a family that not only has three brothers reaching the rank of professional sports, but all three being champions. To cap it off, please watch the most simultaneously adorable and terrifying water fight you’ll ever see.
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