The NBA is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world and I have been a fan for nearly three decades.
Kobe and Joe Bryant
Kobe retired as one of the all-time greats. He is perhaps the closest we will ever come to the second coming of Michael Jordan. Kobe tried to emulate "his Airness" in every conceivable way—from the bald hairstyle, to the jersey number, to his mannerisms and signature moves.
Coincidentally, the Lakers were also coached by the legendary Phil Jackson and his assistants Jim Cleamons and Tex Winter who were the coaches during Jordan's heyday with the Bulls.
The Lakers were also coincidentally able to three-peat with a young Shaq and Kobe. When Shaq departed, the Lakers were in shambles and Kobe was left to pick up the pieces. The Lakers then worked to assemble the right pieces that would fit around Kobe. Kobe almost got a second three-peat but this was derailed by a hot Dallas Mavericks team which promptly swept the defending champs.
Kobe's Lakers had some good talent such as Trevor Ariza, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, and Lamar Odom.
While Kobe stayed relatively healthy throughout his career, his last few years in the league were beset with injuries. To compound this, the Lakers were no longer in championship contention and were barely in playoff contention.
Kobe was still able to close out his career on a high note. He scored a season-high 60 points against the Utah Jazz in his final NBA game.
Joe Bryant was a popular player in the Philadelphia area. He was a player who was ahead of his time. During a time when most big men were slow-footed and mostly relied on points in the paint, Joe was more like Magic Johnson or Kevin Durant. He was a 6'9" giant who could dribble the ball and shoot jump shots. He was not the tall guy playing bully ball.
Someone like Joe would easily thrive in today's game with the game being more positionless. Big men are not merely confined to scoring in the post, rebounding and protecting the paint. They also now bring the ball down the court, shoot mid-range jumpers and shoot from the three point line.
It is too bad he came before Magic Johnson. This was when players with Bryant's playing style were not yet appreciated. He was too ahead of his time. Joe Bryant had a brief 8-year career in the NBA playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers, and Houston Rockets. Though everyone could clearly see Bryant was talented, he was not given that much playing time and was never able to fulfill his potential.
Bryant also had stints in the ABA and Italy. Joe spent seven seasons with different Italian clubs and was a star player. He played for Italian club Sebastiani Rieti in 1984 to 86, Reggio Calabria in 1986 to 87, Pistoia in 1987 to 89 and Reggio Emilia in 1989 to 91.
Bryant's first coaching position after returning from Europe was in 1992–1993 as the head coach of the women's varsity team at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. In June 1993, Bryant left Akiba and accepted an assistant coach position at his alma mater, LaSalle University.
He later tried his hand in coaching professionally and was the coach of the Los Angeles Sparks.
Basketball is truly in Joe Bryant's blood as he is married to Pamela Cox, the sister of
former NBA player Chubby Cox. Joe himself is a former professional player in the NBA and in Italy. Joe's son Kobe is a Los Angeles Lakers legend.
Klay and Mychal Thompson
Klay is one half of the famed "Splash Brothers" of the Golden State Warriors. This is deemed by many as one of the best shooting back-courts of all time. At any given night Klay Thompson and Steph Curry can easily score 30 and demoralize the opposition with a barrage of three-pointers. While known mostly for his skills as a marksman, Klay is a key cog in the Warriors' defensive schemes. He is tasked to guard the best players in the NBA on a nightly basis.
Klay used to be the second option in the Warriors' offense but became the third when Kevin Durant arrived. Despite the demotion in terms of offensive role, Klay kept his cool and did not whine or complain about the number of shots he got.
What is admirable about Klay is that he recognizes that his popularity and endorsements are the results of the Warriors being dominant. If Klay were stuck in some small market with a losing team, he would not be as big as he is.
A lot of players with Klay's level of talent would already hem and haw about their lack of shot opportunities and about their role in the system. This is Klay Thompson we are talking about not Carmelo Anthony.
Mychal was the first overall pick of the 1978 NBA Draft. He spent his first eight seasons with the Portland Trailblazers. He was then dealt to the Spurs in the 1986-87 season and spent half the season there. He was traded midway in the season to the "Showtime" Los Angeles Lakers. The already loaded Lakers were further bolstered by Thompson's presence.
Imagine the luxury of having a former number one pick coming off the bench for you. Mychal was brought in to back up an aging Kareem and to help defend Kevin McHale —one of the best power forwards of all time.
Mychal was no longer the focal point of the offense unlike his time in Portland. Despite limited minutes, Mychal was still a very productive player. He was the scorer, rebounder and rim protector of the Showtime Lakers' second unit.
With the Lakers, Mychal was able to capture two NBA championship rings. It was a luxury for the Lakers to have a quality player like Mychal come off the bench for them. Mychal is now part of the Lakers broadcasting team. While he is happy that his son Klay is part of a dynasty in Golden State, he has long been campaigning to have his son wear the purple and gold.
Luke and Bill Walton
Luke was never expected to be the star player his father was but nevertheless he still had a solid basketball career. Luke did not have to be away from friends and family as he was drafted in the second round by the hometown Lakers.
Being with the Lakers, Luke had the chance to play alongside some of the greatest players the game has seen in Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O' Neil, Karl Malone and Gary Payton.
Luke was a key reserve in the 2009 and 2010 championship runs. He was never a stats guy but always provided energy off the bench. He was always about hustle and this endeared him to Los Angeles fans.
Walton had his finest statistical season in 2006–2007 as he averaged 11.4 PPG, 5 RPG, 4.3 APG and 1 SPG. Luke was a starter and played an average of 33 minutes and he made the most out of those minutes.
Luke would not end his career as a Laker though. He spent his last seasons as a Cavalier. He and Jason Kapono were dealt to the Cavs in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga.
After his playing days were over, Luke spent his time as a broadcaster and coach. Luke has had a rich coaching experience at a relatively young age. He served as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis., a player development coach for the D-League, an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Sacramento Kings.
Bill Walton was one of the best big men to ever play the game. He would have ranked higher in the pantheon of big men had his career not been injury riddled.
Bill was the defensive center that every team of his era would covet. He was an awesome rebounder and shotblocker. He and teammate Maurice Lucas formed a deadly duo that were able to topple superiors teams like Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
In their run to the 1977 NBA championship, Portland was the Cinderella story of the NBA. They swept the Kareem Abdul Jabbar-led Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals and came back from a 0-2 deficit from the Julius Erving led Philadelphia 76ers.
For his spectacular efforts, Walton was name the Finals MVP. He was a beast during the 1977 playoffs averaging 18.2 PPG, 15.2 RPG and 3.4 BPG.
Bill and Maurice were so close that he named his son Luke after Maurice Lucas.
Unfortunately, the next few years of Walton's career would be frustrating as he was in and out with injuries. He would blame the Blazers front office for their unethical practices in treating injuries and signed with his hometown Clippers team. He would spend four seasons there.
Walton then got another chance at glory when the Boston Celtics took a gamble on him and traded Cedric Maxwell and a first round pick for him. Even with Walton's injury history, Red Auerbach knew what he was doing and needed someone to back-up Parish and McHale so he took a flier on Walton.
During this era, quality big men were at a premium so getting a quality backup like Walton to defend against the Jabbars and Olajuwons of the world was a logical move.
In his first season with the Celtics Walton was extremely durable and actually played 80 games. He even won the 6th Man of the Year Award with solid averages of 7.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.3 BPG. The Celtics even won the 1986 Finals versus the Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson led Houston Rockets. This was one of Walton's better years in the league.
After this seemingly miraculous season, the injury bug struck again the next season and Bill was limited to ten games the next season. He was able to successfully come back in time for the playoffs but spent the entirety of the next season back in the injury list.
He tried to come back in 1990 but could not and decided to hang up his sneakers and retire.
Brent and Rick Barry
Brent Barry is the most successful of Rick Barry's offspring. While Brent, Scooter, Jon, Drew and Canyon all played basketball just like their father did, Brent was the standout among all of them.
Brent was originally drafted by the Denver Nuggets but ended up with the Los Angeles Clippers after a draft-day trade involving Antonio McDyess.
Barry made his name initially as a high flyer. He won the 1996 Slam Dunk Contest with a Julius Erving dunk from the free-throw lane.
After nearly three seasons with the Clippers, he was traded near the trade deadline to the Miami Heat.
Brent did not stay long in South Beach and signed with the Chicago Bulls. He spent a few months with the team and was shipped to the Sonics for Hersey Hawkins and James Cotton.
Brent would flourish in Seattle and become one of the league's premiere marksmen. He transitioned his game from being a high flyer to a shooter. After his stint with Seattle, Brent took his talents to the San Antonio Spurs. He won two championships there and was a good complimentary piece to Tim Duncan's inside game.
Barry ended his career in Houston and became the third Barry to do so. His father Rick and brother Jon both played for the team.
Rick was one of the best players in Warriors' history. He was an eight-time All-Star, a one-time scoring champion,a one-time NBA champion, a one-time Finals MVP and a Hall-of- Famer. He led the Warriors to prominence and to an upset of the heavily favored Washington Bullets. Before the Steph Curry era "strength in numbers" mantra, there was a strength in numbers in terms of the Warriors' depth.
While Barry was a dynamic scorer during his prime, he is more known for popularizing the underhand free throw or "the granny shot." It may not look pretty but Barry shot more than ninety percent in his career using this shot.
Many advocates of the shot urged Shaquille O' Neil to use it to improve his abyssal free throw shooting but he never did it as he felt it was not manly.
While Barry was a brilliant basketball mind, his people skills leave much to be desired. He clashed with teammates as a player and with players as a coach. He also did not resonate with the viewing audience as a commentator as his commentary had a negative tone.
Barry was basically a charisma vacuum.
Steph and Dell Curry
Steph Curry is proof that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Much like his father, Steph is a marksman of the highest order. Steph is perhaps the greatest shooter of all time well exceeding even his prolific father.
As it stands, Steph owns four of the top ten records of three point field goals made in a season. He has the highest at 402, the second most at 324, the third at 286 and fifth at .272. Steph does not only shoot in bunches , he is accurate as well at a career 43.6% clip.
Steph does not only make three pointers look like free throws, he does so with flair. Whether it be with a defender up his grill, falling out of bounds or making a shot from 30–40 feet away, Steph is your guy.
Steph's high skill level makes him someone you need to account for and becomes a distraction for opposing teams. With him distracting the defense, his teammates can easily make their shot from the outside or attack the rim for a thunderous dunk.
Steph is a two-time MVP and the only unanimous MVP the league has ever known. With him at the helm, the Golden State Warriors have gone from the basement to the penthouse. What was a team that could barely make the playoffs, became the team to beat in the finals.
What makes Steph deadly is his dribbling ability. He has one of the best handles in the league and uses this skill to mesmerize the opposition and throw them off balance. Steph can easily step on the gas and take it to the hole, dish it to a teammate or stop and pop for a picture perfect jumper.
Dell Curry or "Pops" as Steph would call him, shot slightly above 40% for his sixteen year career. While Dell has played for five NBA franchises, he is best known for his time with the Charlotte Hornets and has teamed up with some of the greatest players the franchise has ever known in Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, Rex Chapman and Kendall Gill.
While Dell was instant offense from the bench and would be the anchor of the offense once the starters take a breather, Dell only won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year only once and that was in 1994.
Dell was no slouch in the free throw department either. He shot a very respectable 84.3% for his career.
While Dell was warming up during games, one could notice a very young Steph Curry emulating his dad. While many wanted to be "like Mike," Steph wanted to be "like Dell."
Dell may not be a superstar, but he is an above average player and is one of the most notable in the history of the Charlotte Hornets. Upon retirement, Dell was the franchise's leading scorer at 9,839 points.
Best Father-son Duo
© 2018 Jan Michael Ong
Jan Michael Ong (author) from Metro Manila, Philippines on May 28, 2019:
Possible. LeBron plans to play long enough so his son can join him play.
Konstantine Ribeiro on May 28, 2019:
Do you think an NBA player from today if he has a son do you think his son will be in the NBA just like his father