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NBA Brothers: A Complicated History

It may come as no surprise to fans of the NBA this season, but a Curry is on his way to besting Steve Kerr’s record three-point shooting percentage this year… What may be surprising, is that I’m talking about SETH Curry, not his more successful and Hall-of-Fame-bound brother Steph.

Whereas Steph will forever be associated with championship-winning teams in Golden State, a million-dollar smile, and 40-foot three-pointers, Seth has bounced around the league for nearly a decade, playing for six different teams before finding his footing this season in Philadelphia. But he’s arguably the best shooter in the league right now and has done a nice job replacing Landry Shamet from behind the arc in Philly. (Seth’s percentage has dipped a little lately, but he is hovering above 50% for the year.)

Brothers in the NBA: Seth, Sydel, and Steph Curry - Philadelphia 76ers, (Elon Phoenix), and Golden State Warriors
Their sister Sydel was also a D1 volleyball player. The GENES in this family!

The Long History of Brothers in the NBA 

It is not uncommon for brothers to have different skill sets in the NBA, as seen with the sheer dominance of Giannis Antetokoumpo and the garbage-time minutes of his brothers Thanasis and Kostas. (Kostas does have a championship ring with the Lakers, but you get the feeling that Giannis’ is coming…) Still, the fact that brothers can actually grow up together battling in the backyard and make the NBA together is miraculous. I mean, I grew up playing basketball in my yard too, as my younger brother fooled around making films on my mom’s 120-pound 1980s VHS camera. (I got cut from my varsity team my senior year. My brother is a TV director now, go figure…)

Michael Jordan famously battled his older brother Larry in their backyard for years, only to become the greatest player of all time. Larry was gifted but stood only 5’8” and never made it past college basketball. In regards to his brother, Michael Jordan famously commented, “I don’t think from a competitive standpoint, I would be here without the confrontations with my brother. When you come to blows with someone you absolutely love, that’s igniting every fire within you. And I always felt I was fighting Larry for my father’s attention. So, my determination got even greater to be as good, if not better, than my brother.”

I’d say MJ accomplished that (though Larry could definitely jam).

Brothers from the Same Mothers in Today’s NBA

The talented Curry brothers are not alone in their sibling stardom in the NBA. Dozens of brothers have graced the league at the same time, the latest being the Ball brothers, LaMelo and Lonzo. (Third brother, LiAngelo, signed a deal with the Pistons this season. But he was cut before he played a minute in the league). The Balls are the first set of brothers to be selected in the top 5 picks of the NBA draft, three years apart. Of course, Lonzo spent a year on the Lakers before being shipped off in the Anthony Davis deal. And he was the constant focus of scrutiny based on his father LaVar’s ridiculous manipulation of the media. LaMelo, meanwhile, is an NBA darling and could be a front runner for Rookie of the Year.

Even more impressive are the Holiday Brothers, who made history on December 28, 2019, by being the first brothers to log minutes in the same NBA game. At the end, they even did a jersey exchange, which is kind of like the way I imagine them fighting over clean laundry in their house growing up. Jrue Holiday is truly the most talented of the three. But Justin has been playing at a high level lately for the Pacers.

Brothers in the NBA: Justin Holiday, Jrue Holiday, & Aaron Holiday - Indiana Pacers vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Just like the Gronkowskis, but way less CTE

And then there are the Gasols, Pau and Marc, who are possibly the best brother duo to play together in the NBA. They have made 9 All-Star games together and have 3 NBA Championship rings between them, not to mention countless FIBA titles playing for the Spanish National Team.

Twin Brothers in Today’s NBA

Not quite as successful but equally impressive are the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin. They went from dominating players together at Stanford to logging 12 years (and counting) each in the league. They famously played together on the Bucks in 2019. But they refused to share a house together because “Their cats would have hated it.”

Marcus and Markieff Morris are also twins and are constant trade bait discussions during mid-season deadlines. But have also made headlines by revealing that they actually share a joint bank account.

Other Brothers Who Have Balled Together

Some other siblings that have recently laced ‘em up in the NBA include Goran and Zoran Dragić (Zoran didn’t last too long in the league), Caleb and Cody Martin, and long before most of our readers were even born, Bernard and Albert King. (Google “Bernard King highlights” and respect the game. Also, respect the shortest shorts in the history of the NBA).

 NBA Brothers of the Past

1990s NBA basketball featured some memorable sibling duos, including Hall of Fame Hawk Dominique Wilkins and his brother Gerald, who was a high-level player for years in the NBA, but never had ‘Nique’s overall game. Quite possibly the first set of brothers I recall watching consistently were the legendary Grant siblings, the goggled-up Horace and Harold. They had similar games, powerful inside presence, and were constantly televised since Horace played on some ‘90s Bulls teams. The Collins brothers, Jason and Jarron, actually preceded the Lopez twins at Stanford. And they played some decent years in the league at the same time. And then there were the Barrys.

The Brothers Barry 

Hall of Famer Rick Barry’s (one of the NBA’s 50 greatest ever) five sons have all logged minutes in professional basketball and could be considered the league’s “first family.” Brent actually won a dunk contest back in the day alongside two NBA titles, and Jon spent some important years on the Lakers. Drew had some run too, and oldest brother Scooter won an NCAA title at Kansas.

But my favorite Barry brother is the youngest one, Canyon, who became famous for his “granny style” free throw form that he inherited from his dad. Canyon Barry shot an astounding 88% from the line at the University of Florida in 2017 with this underhanded style. Canyon currently plays for the G League Iowa Wolves. So if he puts together a decent season, he may find himself in the league after a while. It would make an impressive DNA study to see how Rick Barry sired children who played professional hoops over five decades. And I’m personally watching Canyon all season in the G.

Brothers in the NBA: Father & Son - Rick Barry & Canyon Barry - Golden State Warriors & Iowa Wolves
Apparently, the bad haircut gene also runs in the family.

If Seth Curry edges Steve Kerr for the all-time NBA shooting percentage, it will mark another accomplishment for the brothers Curry. If the 76ers stay hot, there’s a chance Seth could compete for an NBA title this year. That should make those family barbecues much less uncomfortable. Bottom line is, sibling rivalries will forever exist. And in the history of the NBA, we have seen brothers from all upbringings competing on the court. And, even if you did not make the NBA but your brother did, there is no shame in that either.

After all, for every Michael Jordan, there is a Larry…

 

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