Fathers and Son’s can be inseparable in some cases, sometimes son’s copy a father’s every move. Throughout sports history, there have been several instances where pro athlete father(s) have had their son(s) take the copying to a whole new level. Copying them in their career path to the pro league(s) of their respective sports.
Some sons have lived up to, or surpassed their fathers legacy/career (The Griffeys, The Mannings). While others missed the mark, whether by a little or a lot. That’s what you’ll find in this article. I will shine a light on those not-so-stellar athlete sons. Don’t get me wrong, these guys could be stellar people off the field/court, but when on they just didn’t have what it took.
For sons who have at least made it to the pros, I don’t know if the discrepancy can get much bigger than the Ewing’s. The father, Patrick Ewing Sr., is NBA and New York Knicks Royalty. “Big Pat” is an NBA Hall of famer, was the #1 overall pick in 1985, an 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, and 3x DPOY. Just to name a few accolades.
Whereas Patrick Jr., played less games (7) than I have fingers (10), in the NBA. That led to stat totals of 19 minutes played, 0.4 PPG, 0.3 REB, 0.3 AST and a 0.0 FG%. Yes, all 3 points that the former 2nd round pick scored in the league, came from Free Throws.
The only thing this father/son duo have in common, besides their name(s), is the college they went too. They are both former Georgetown University Hoyas. Coincidentally enough, the two also have jobs at the aforementioned University now. Patrick Sr. is the Head Coach of the Men’s team. While Patrick Jr. was the Director of Basketball Operations. But is now the alumni relations co-ordinator, while being Head Coach of the Newfoundland Growlers of the CEBL (Canadian Elite Basketball League).
Hopefully, Ewing Jr. can be a more successful CEBL coach than he was an NBA player.
Walter Payton AKA “Sweetness”, is arguably (to some) the greatest running back in NFL history. The former #4 overall pick was a 9x Pro Bowler, 1x MVP (1977), and is an NFL Hall of Famer. His son, Jarrett, played the same position as his legendary father. So, you might think that he would be around the same ability as his father. Since he grew up around/watching his dad hone his craft.
Well, if you thought that way, you would be utterly wrong and disappointed. Walter’s career spanned 13 seasons in the NFL, solely for the Chicago Bears. While Jarrett’s career spanned 13 games. Walter scored 2+ TDs in a game more than 20 times. Jarrett scored 2 TDs his whole career.
After his NFL career didn’t go anywhere, Jarrett moved onto the CFL. Where he was more successful, but he still only lasted a couple seasons. He now works closely with Chicago-based charities/organizations, including his own, as well as hosts a sports radio show.
Out of the three sons on this list so far, Simms had the longest career. Which subsequently means, he also had the best career of the three guys i’ve named. His dad Phil, is also the dad on this list with the most championships (2 Super Bowl wins).
Chris was a pretty good QB in college at The University Of Texas. A lot of people thought he’d be a pretty solid NFL QB. Which is why he was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 3rd round (2003). But, you don’t get on this list from being a good player. The 6-foot-4 lefty, bounced between three teams in five seasons. Playing in barely over a full seasons worth of games (23). Amassing a 7-9 W-L record, and 12 TDs to 18 INTs with a 58.1% completion percentage.
Luckily for Chris, he has become very successful as an NFL analyst for NBC. His father, happens to be fairly successful as an NFL analyst himself for CBS. So, at least Chris lived up to his dad’s career down one of two possible career paths.
Rounding out the list, is a guy that could rival Patrick Ewing Jr. as the son with the biggest discrepancy between him and his father’s career. Tony Gwynn Jr., is of course the son of arguably the best pure hitter in MLB history. The late, great, “Mr. Padre” Tony Gwynn Sr.
Gwynn Sr. played 20 years in the MLB, solely for the San Diego Padres. Which is why he’s aptly named “Mr. Padre”. Through those 20 years, he accumulated 15 All-Star nods, 7 Silver Slugger awards, 5 Gold Glove awards and 8 Batting Titles. Ending his illustrious career with over 3,100 hits, over 1,100 RBIs, and a .338 Batting Average. He stands 22nd all-time in career Batting Average.
Gwynn Jr., went to the same college as his dad (San Diego State), and once played for the same team his dad once did (Padres). But didn’t get anywhere close to winning an award, or getting 3,000 hits etc., The now 40-year old son, played in 685 games, getting 381 hits in 1600 At-Bats. Which led to a measly .238 Batting Average for his career.
With what seems to be a recurring theme for this list, Tony Gwynn Jr. is now a radio/TV Baseball analyst for the Padres Radio/TV networks.
While these 4 sons might not have been able to hold a candle to their father’s careers, they did/do have talent. Just not the right type of talent to make it long/do well in the pros.