Genes take a lot of importance when it comes to some athletes, inheriting a lot of features from their folks like their height, strength and quickness, making them prime candidates to continue their father’s legacy and be yet another great player in the family tree.
But of course, it takes way more than just genetics to make it into the NBA, as hard work, a strong mentality, talent and adjusting to how much the league has changed over the past few decades is also quite important if you want to become as good as your old man.
Sadly, more often than not, the seconds in line aren’t nearly as impressive as their dads were during their time in the Association, being huge flops or not even making the league at all. Today, we’ll take a look at the top 11 NBA players that were waaaaay better than their sons.
11. Tim Hardaway
Hardaway was one of the most crafty and talented point guards of his era, spending 14 seasons in the NBA as a member of the Warriors, Heat, Pacers, Nuggets and Pacers, winning an Olympic Medal with Team USA and leaving career averages of 17.7 points, just over 3 boards, and 8.2 dimes per game.
His son came in with a lot of praise, drafted to the New York Knicks as one of the new faces of the franchise, being way more athletic than his dad ever was, but not even half as talented as Tim Bug. After being sent to the doghouse and later to the Hawks, it seems like TH Jr is finally flourishing as a productive player off the bench, although he’s still ages away from being a regular and consistent NBA player.
10. Ralph Sampson
Sampson was the 1st overall pick of the 1983 NBA draft after a long season of tanking by the Houston Rockets, spending 4 seasons there to form the “twin towers” alongside Hakeem Olajuwon and winning the 83-84 Rookie of the Year Award, leaving career averages of 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a power forward/center.
On the other hand, we got Ralph Sampson III, an undrafted player during the 2012 NBA draft that hasn’t even set foot on an NBA court despite playing the very same position as his old man, going around several D-League teams while also playing some pro ball in Finland.
9. Glen Rice
Rice had a very interesting 15 season NBA career and even managed to become an All-Star on 3 different occasions, winning one All-Star MVP, while also being a part of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers as a lethal guy from beyond the arc, being drafted 4th overall during the 1989 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat.
And then we got his son, Glen Rice Jr; a second round pick out of Georgia Tech that couldn’t even last in the NBA after a failed stint with the Washington Wizards where he was only able to make 16 appearances before being sent to the D-League, and is now playing for the Halcones de Ciudad Obregon in Mexico.
8. Hersey Hawkins
The 6th overall pick of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers was a very interesting prospect out of Bradley University at the shooting guard spot, although he was never able to take his game to the next level, being the second guy on offense behind Charles Barkley and then seeing his production take a dip.
Still, Hawkins had a way more successful career than his less talented son, Corey Hawkins; an undrafted rookie during the 2015 NBA draft that hasn’t been able to make his professional debut on an NBA court, spending most of his time in the D-League as well as overseas.
7. Anthony Mason
Anthony Mason had a pretty decent 13-year NBA Career as a defensive standout and regular Sixth Man of the Year candidate, even winning that distinction in the 94-95 season, as well as making it to one All-Star Game and making one All-Defensive team selection due to his versatility and ability to play at both forward spots and also the center position.
The defensive specialist had a couple of balling sons, although neither of them were good enough to actually make it into the NBA during the draft, so they wound up settling for poor offers from mediocre teams to play overseas.
6. Juwan Howard
Before being an assistant coach on Erik Spoelstra’s Miami Heat, Juwan Howard was a pretty decent power forward in the NBA, spending 19 seasons in the Association, coming out of Michigan as the 5th overall pick of the 1994 NBA draft by the Washington Bullets, making it to 1 All-Star game while also winning a couple of championships.
Sadly for him, his son Juwan Jr is yet another NBA son that couldn’t even be drafted, not being selected during the 2015 Draft and having to settle with some summer league games before heading to Spain to try and make a living out of basketball as his old man did.
5. Mychal Thompson
The 1st overall pick of the 1978 NBA draft and key member of the Showtime Lakers also makes our list, being one of the most talented players of his era and winning a couple of rings with Los Angeles, leaving career averages of 13.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 dimes per game in more than 900 games as a pro.
Besides, he had a couple of sons, an undrafted small forward called Mychel that has spent his entire career in the D-League as a way below-average baller that couldn’t make the Cavs roster, and the other son who's even better than he ever was, Golden State’s Klay Thompson.
4. Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp was one of the most dominant, physical and intimidating presences the NBA court has ever seen as a power forward for the Seattle Supersonics, being able to put up a lot of numbers and highlights in a heartbeat before completely flushing his career down the toilet due to several off-court incidents.
On the other hand, one of his many sons; Shawn Jr, was yet another son of an NBA legend that couldn’t even be drafted during that 2015 NBA draft, being forced to play in the NBA-D League ever since with not much hope of ever making it on an NBA roster.
3. Gary Payton
We all remember how quick and dominant on both ends of the floor “The Glove” was with his smooth defense and his great ability to read the game, although he was yet another player that couldn’t win a ring before retiring.
Well, his son recently made it to the NBA as an undrafted rookie, even earning some playing time during the playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks and providing some interesting things for Budenholdzer’s squad, especially on defense. Still, it’s pretty clear that Payton Jr isn’t half as talented as his dad, and he’s going to mightily struggle to find consistency in the Association.
2. Patrick Ewing
Born in Jamaica, Ewing was one of the most dominant players in the NCAA and the 1st overall pick coming out of Georgetown to the New York Knicks as their new hope for the future, instantly taking the league for assault and winning the ROY award and being a regular All-Star with his physical presence and great talent.
Sadly, his son wasn’t even close to that and had to settle to play for Jamaica’s national team as a role player, also failing to last in the NBA, making just 7 appearances through his career after several failed D-League stints, also playing in Europe and even in Qatar.
1. John Stockton
One of the best point guards in the history of the game wasn’t a star out of the blue, and he had to work hard to reach stardom after a couple of seasons where he barely got the chance to prove his value, but wound up being the ultimate playmaker and backcourt defender during his prime in the Association.
Now, we have his son David Stockton, an undrafted player out of the 2014 NBA Draft that was only able to make 3 appearances for the Sacramento Kings in a desperate hope the youngster was nearly as good as his old man. Needless to say, if you can’t even make it with the Kings, then you’re not an NBA caliber talent, so he had to settle with some offers in Croatia, Australia and the D-league.