Each NBA team can have a maximum of 15 players, meaning that a maximum of 450 players are in the League at any one time. It is definitely hard work to get to the world’s premier basketball league, and players take a variety of routes to the top.
The Professional Progeny
Symbolic player: Stephen Curry
Over the course of their careers, NBA players naturally pick up some tricks of the trade. After their playing days, they often transition into a family-focused lifestyle, where they get to share these tricks with their children. Unsurprisingly, there is a proliferation of parent-child duos in professional basketball, as in most other sports. Notably, NBA superstar Stephen Curry grew up under the watchful eyes of renowned marksman Dell Curry, and his younger brother Seth has ended up in the League too.
With the financial stability provided by their parents’ careers, these youths usually do not grow up in conditions of abject poverty. Instead, they may lead more affluent lifestyles and attend private schools in furthering their education and their games. Of course, this comes with its own tradeoffs. Expectations are elevated, with the public all too eager to tear them down at the first sign of weakness. Living under the shadows of two Chicago legends in Sonny Parker and Doc Rivers proved challenging for high school phenoms Jabari Parker and Austin Rivers, who were criticized for their defensive flaws and ball-dominant nature even as they ran riot in the prep ranks.
Although the younger Parker and Rivers both went on to play for the prestigious Duke University, as did Seth Curry, the path is not as smooth sailing for everyone. Stephen Curry only managed to star for an overlooked Davidson squad due to his slight frame while Klay Thompson played for mid-major Washington State despite being the son of former number one draft pick Mychal Thompson. A famous last name is no guarantee of success at the college level, as Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan found out from being the offspring of arguably the greatest player ever.
For the ones who do make it under the pressures of the public eye, they usually display a cerebral approach to the game and uncanny similarities with their parents’ games, be it Gary Payton II’s defensive intensity, David Stockton’s pass-first approach or Domantas Sabonis’ versatile post play. Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of having a professional in the household only has to look at the track record of Rick Barry, whose five sons all played professional basketball, including Jon, Brent and Drew in the NBA. This season, rookies Jalen Brunson and Jaren Jackson Jr will aim to do their families proud by continuing the trend.