Is It Something In The Water?
By: Jesi Breen
To achieve a career in professional sports is a difficult task. One might call it an impossible dream. Only 1 in 168 baseball players are drafted out of high school into MLB and 1 in 2,451 basketball players are drafted out of high school into the NBA. The average career lasts only 3-5 years and injuries are almost always guaranteed. There is a less than 2% chance for a college senior to make it in professional sports upon graduation. For families to have multiple children in professional sports? Only that much more difficult, but there are definitely outliers. Let’s take a look at a few of the most well-known sports siblings:
1. Serena and Venus Williams
The most successful siblings to grace the courts, the sisters hold multiple Grand Slam titles together and separately in doubles. Some would say they are each other’s biggest competition and always have been.
2. Stephen and Seth Curry
These NBA stars grew up shooting around on the Charlotte Hornets court when their dad, Dell Curry, played there. The superstar for the Warriors, Steph, is also teammates with his brother-in-law, Damion Lee, who married sister Sydel Curry in 2018. Safe to say they’re a basketball family.
3. Eric, Marc, Jordan and Jared Staal
This family of 4 hockey players from Canada have all had stints in the NHL, with eldest Eric setting the bar. The boys, who were raised on a 600-acre farm, were all drafted no lower than 49th overall. Eric and Jordan were even teammates at one point on the Carolina Hurricanes.
4. Peyton and Eli Manning
Both #1 overall picks, Super Bowl Champions and MVPs, these brothers learned from their dad, Archie Manning, who was in 2 Pro Bowls and elected to the New Orleans Saints’ Hall of Fame. They have been called the greatest quarterback trio of all time.
5. Gordie, Dan, Chris, Rob and Glenn Gronkowski
Out of these 5 brothers, 4 have had careers in the NFL and 1 in professional baseball. Most famously, Rob is a four-time Super Bowl winner. five-time Pro Bowl selection and known for his outgoing personality and friendship with current teammate, Tom Brady.
6. J.J., Derek and T.J. Watt
Another football family, these brothers are all currently playing in the NFL. J.J. Watt, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and his younger brothers Derek and T.J, have made names for themselves as linebackers and fullback. T.J. has said that him and J.J. are so similar that they even share the same brain.
7. LaMelo, LiAngelo and Lonzo Ball
The newest of superstar athlete brothers, these basketball brothers are all affiliated with the NBA, and who’s father, Lavar, has all confidence they will be the faces of the league. It’s definitely a possibility, with Lonzo and LaMelo getting drafted No. 3 and No. 2, respectively, and LiAngelo signing with the Pistons G League team.
8. B.J. and Justin Upton
These baseball brothers are the only two in MLB history to be selected as No. 1 and No. 2 of the drafts in different years AND join the 20-20 club (20 home runs and 20 stolen bases). They even played together on the Braves and the Padres.
We discuss sports, the teams, and the people that play them (or own them) on a daily basis. Do these players just come from good genes and have the natural ability? Is it a strong work ethic instilled in them by their parents? Does their birth order play a part in how successful they’ll be? Is it something in the water? It could very well be a combination of these things.
Pros to Being the Younger Sibling?
Studies have shown that younger siblings are more prone to succeed in sports due to the “little sibling effect.” The younger sibling strives to outperform and compete with the older sibling, upping their level of play and sharpening their physical and psychological skill set at an earlier age. Parents also tend to be more relaxed with every child when it comes to letting them play contact sports, a 40% more likelihood. What do Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Tom Brady have in common? That’s right - they’re a younger sibling.
There are multiple theories on these types of professional athlete and how they got to be where they are. All we can do is watch them, enjoy their talents and question why we weren’t born into one of these families.