During the 2014 All-Star weekend, two teams with an NBA father-and-son tandem participated in the Sears Shooting Stars challenge. The first included Tim Hardaway, Jr. and his father Tim Hardaway, Sr. The second, Stephen Curry and his father Dell Curry. That's amazing in itself, but Tim Jr. and Stephen are only two of the nineteen second-generation players currently active in the 2013-2014 season of the NBA; that's nearly twice as many as a decade ago.
Looking to the future, there seems to be no shortage of progeny on their way to the NBA: Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, son of Mitchell Wiggins, and Duke freshman Jabari Parker, son of Sonny Parker, are both expected to be shoo-ins to make it to the world's premier basketball league.
Is it heredity or the basketball-playing environment that allows sons of NBA players to emulate their fathers? That's a question for scientists and fans to debate. In the meantime, here's a look at the ten highest-paid second-generation NBA players in the league today:
10 Klay Thompson / Golden State Warriors / Current NBA Salary: $2,317,920
When the son of an NBA player becomes an NBA player himself, most people might expect the father to give his son more latitude on living his life the way he wants. But that's not the case with Golden State Warrior shooting guard Klay Thompson. His father, Mychal Thompson, cut Klay's allowance (yes, Klay is still dependent on an allowance from his parents) after the player was fined $35,000 for being involved in a fight in February of 2013.
Mychal, the first overall pick of the 1978 NBA Draft and now a Lakers radio broadcaster, provides Klay with $300 a week in spending money. His son's bi-weekly NBA paycheck goes straight to Klay's untouchable savings account.
So when will the now 24-year-old get to enjoy the fruits of his NBA labor? Maybe when he equals or surpasses his father's two NBA championships.
9 Austin Rivers / New Orleans Pelicans / Current NBA Salary: $2,339,040
Basketball fans have yet to see a father and his son playing either together or against each other in an official NBA game. Perhaps, the second best thing is watching a coach go up against his son's team, an occurrence that's happened to four father-and-son pairings so far. The latest addition to the group is the tandem of New Orleans Pelican Austin Rivers and his father, current LA Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers.
On the experience of his team going up against his son's, this is what Doc had to say:
I actually didn't like it. Going against your son, it's no fun for you. When he has the ball as a parent you're like, "Don't get hurt, don't make a mistake, but turn the ball over." It's just tough. I don't get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I don't know what parent is going to cheer against his own kid.
And how about Doc ever coaching Austin? If Austin has his way, it's not very likely to happen.
I don't want to ruin the relationship. If the situation ever presented itself, I'd roll with it, but I don't think that will ever happen, to be honest with you. He's always going to have his lane and I'll have mine. We'll wish each other the best of luck until we play each other, and that's how it will always be.
8 Ed Davis / Memphis Grizzlies / Current NBA Salary: $3,153,860
In 2012, when Memphis Grizzlies power forward Ed Davis was asked by a reporter about which coach was most influential in his career, he said that it was his dad despite the fact that his father had never coached him. "He was just a person that helped me with my work ethic, got me up every morning and was at damn near all my games," he acknowledged.
Ed's father is none other than retired NBA player Terry Davis, who played for the Miami Heat, the Dallas Mavericks, the Washington Wizards, and the Denver Nuggets from 1989 to 2001.
On taking criticism from his dad, Ed admits that it was tough at times, and that he and his father would get into arguments on occasion. But Ed reiterated that without his dad's support, he wouldn't have gotten to play in the NBA.
7 Mike Dunleavy, Jr. / Chicago Bulls / Current NBA Salary: $3,183,000
Mike Dunleavy, Jr. was the second player in the history of the NBA to go up against the team his father was coaching. Of course, Mike Dunleavy, Sr. was also an NBA player from 1976 to 1977. It was as a coach, however, that Dunleavy Sr. was able to enjoy the most success, having won the Western Conference championship in 1991 and the NBA Coach of the Year Award in 1999.
2010 being the last time that that Dunleavy Sr. coached, and with Mike Jr. now 33, there's little chance that they're going to be the first father-son tandem as coach and player on the same team. Not that they would've wanted that to happen; both of them have expressed that they wouldn't enjoy the issues involved in such a setup.
6 Gerald Henderson, Jr. / Charlotte Bobcats / Current NBA Salary: $6,000,000
Don't look now, but the laughingstock of the 2011-2012 season, the Charlotte Bobcats, are currently in good shape to make the playoffs, albeit in a watered-down Eastern Conference. Without a doubt, one of the players who have been responsible for the team's turnaround is their guard/forward, Gerald Henderson, Jr. who, although not the team's superstar, has been a reliable role player.
The persona that Gerald Jr. is currently taking on with the Bobcats is similar to the role his father played when he was in the NBA from 1979 to 1992. Despite not being a major star, Gerald Sr. won two championships with the Boston Celtics (1981, 1984) and one with the Detroit Pistons (1990). Hopefully, his son will be able to win some rings of his own in the future.
5 Wesley Matthews / Portland Trailblazers / Current NBA Salary: $6,875,480
Unfortunately, not all of the stories about fathers and sons who played in the NBA are happy ones. Portland Trailblazer Wesley Matthews and his father, two-time NBA Champion (1987, 1988) Wes Matthews, have a very strained relationship.
In January of 2014, Wesley opened up that shortly after he was born in Wisconsin, his father took off, leaving Wesley before he ever knew him. Wesley narrates,
I mean, he's the man in Wisconsin. I'm carrying his name, and I knew nothing about him other than that everybody else around me loved him. And I'm having the toughest time trying to figure out why the hell he's not around.
Today, however, Wes Matthews has been making a concerted effort to reach out to his son by showing up at Wesley's road games and keeping in touch with him through text messages.
4 Stephen Curry / Golden State Warriors / Current NBA Salary: $9,887,642
The 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend probably felt like a family affair for Golden State Warriors point guard, Stephen Curry. Not only did he enter the 3-point shootout and play in his first All-Star game -- as a starter, no less -- but he also participated in the Sears Shooting Stars competition with his dad as a teammate. His father is, of course, none other than 1994 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Dell Curry.
In fact, even Stephen's little brother, Seth, was in on the action as he represented the Santa Cruz Warriors in the D-League All-Star Game.
3 Al Horford / Atlanta Hawks / Current NBA Salary: $12,000,000
Former Milwaukee Bucks center Tito Horford may stand 7-foot-1, but he doesn't mind doing some begging if it's for the benefit of his son. Tito pleaded for three years with Altlanta Hawks general manager Rick Sund to get his team a center so that Al Horford, Tito's son, could play in his natural position as a power forward. "He [Al] can't push guys out of the box like I could. If he moved to forward, he would have a longer career," Tito analyzed.
It seems that Al Horford is doing just fine, however. He's been an NBA All-Star twice (2010, 2011) although his 2013-2014 season was cut short when he tore a pectoral muscle. Nevertheless, Al is expected to show his wares once again when he comes back in time for the start of next season.
2 Kevin Love / Minnesota Timberwolves / Current NBA Salary: $14,693,906
Having been named an All-Star thrice (2011, 2012, 2014) and NBA Most Improved Player in 2011, Kevin Love is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the league today. But he wasn't naturally drawn to basketball as a young child. In fact, his father, former NBA player Stan Love, practically had to force Kevin to take up the game. It goes without saying that Stan's insistence has paid off, big time.
Kevin acknowledges the role that his father has played in honing his skills:
My dad has dropped a lot of knowledge on me throughout the years. He placed a ball in my hands from an early age, so basketball has always been in my blood. He taught me basically everything I know up to this point. Obviously, I've tweaked a few things, I've had proper coaching and proper skill work. But all that is base and everything in my skill set comes from him.
1 Kobe Byrant / LA Lakers / Current NBA Salary: $30,453,805
When Kobe Bryant was just three years old, he would run to his room, put on his Clippers jersey, grab a mini-basketball, and head to the living room. There, he would watch the Clippers game, where his father, Joe Bryant, played as the power forward/center. Every time his father would step into the court, Kobe would mimic his father's every move, shooting his ball into a plastic Dr. J basket each time Joe Bryant scored. Kobe wanted nothing more than to be just like his dad.
More than thirty years later, Kobe is an NBA player just as his father was. But he's turned out to be so much more than just that. A five-time NBA champion (2000-2002, 2009-2010), Bryant is today, the league's highest-paid player and one of the most popular sportsmen of all time.