In some households, the family business means excelling on the field of play. And in a small subset of those families, the second-generation pro athlete actually overshadows the one who came before. A number of the players on this list might are still in the thick of their careers and might move up, but let's take stock of where things stand today.
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Andrew Luck (football)
First generation: Father, Oliver Luck, spent four seasons as a quarterback with the Houston Oilers, much of the time as a backup to Warren Moon. Second generation: Most sane NFL general managers starting a franchise today, but with one eye on the future, would select Indianapolis Colts three-time Pro Bowler Andrew Luck as their starting quarterback. And the 6-foot-4, 240-pound former No. 1 overall pick just got paid like it, with an extension through 2021 for $140 million with $87 million guaranteed. If the Colts' offensive line improves and Luck learns to better avoid taking hits during scrambles, the best years are probably still ahead for the 26-year-old ping pong enthusiast.
Getty ImagesAndy Lyons
Grant Hill (basketball)
First generation: Father is four-time Pro Bowl running back Calvin Hill, the 1969 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Second generation: Injuries marred what might have been a Hall of Fame career but forward Grant Hill nevertheless played in the NBA until age 40. The Duke product is a two-time NCAA champion (1991, 1992), won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1995 (shared with Jason Kidd), earned seven NBA All-Star nods, and won a gold medal with the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Despite injuries all over his lower body after his Pistons years (1994-2000), from ages 32 through 40, Hill managed to average nearly 30 minutes per game with 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and one steal.
Getty ImagesDoug Pensinger
Misty May-Treanor (beach volleyball)
First generation: Father, Butch May, played for the 1968 U.S. men's volleyball team and mother Barbara was a former nationally-ranked tennis player and volleyball player. Second generation: May-Treanor and her longtime partner Kerri Walsh ruled women's beach volleyball for a decade from about 2002 to 2012, a span during which the pair claimed three World Championship gold medals and three Olympic gold medals at Athens, Beijing and London.
Getty ImagesCameron Spencer
Clay Matthews III (football)
First generation: Matthews hails from one of the great football families that includes his father, Clay Jr., a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker, his uncle, Hall of Fame tackle Bruce Matthews, and his grandfather, Clay, a lineman Second generation: The heat-seaking Green Bay Packers linebacker is a solid edge rusher, sure tackler and solid defender in space. The 30-year-old became a perennial Pro Bowler starting in his rookie season in 2009. The 2010 Defensive Player of the Year has recorded 67.5 sacks through his first seven seasons.
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Eli Manning (football)
First generation: Father, Archie Manning, was an NFL quarterback primarily for the New Orleans Saints (1971-1982) and a two-time Pro Bowler. Second generation: Eli's numbers haven't always been shiny but he hasn't always played in a West coast-style offense with a weapon like Odell Beckham Jr. In any case he's a two-time Super Bowl champion, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, a part-owner (figuratively) of the New England Patriots and he looks fantastic with a beach pail.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock (pro wrestling)
First generation: Father, Rocky Johnson, is a former Canadian pro wrestler. Also Rock's grandfather Peter Maivia is a member of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and the WWE Hall of Fame. Second generation: It was difficult to figure out the right spot for The Rock because he doesn't compete in a traditional sport (notwithstanding his time in football with the Miami Hurricanes). Then I realized that there are no rules here. So based on his tremendous influence and dominance between the ropes and his great crossover success in movies and TV, plus the fact that he's one of top "good guys" in sports, he goes right after (before) Matthews and Manning. He also gets bonus points for the self-deprecation on social media.
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Steph Curry (basketball)
First generation: Father Dell Curry was a longtime Charlotte Hornets shooting guard and became the team's all-time leading scorer (9,839 points). Second generation: Steph is now a back-to-back NBA MVP Award winner coming off an otherworldly shooting season in which he redefined 3-point range. Unfortunately the Warriors couldn't seal the deal on their record 73-win season that ended in epic fashion and a parade in Cleveland. Health permitting (a common refrain for any athlete but Curry has battled ankle and knee injuries), Curry will jump a few spots higher on another version of this list in the future.
Barry Bonds (baseball)
First generation: Father, Bobby Bonds, a longtime San Francisco Giants outfielder, was one of baseball's vintage power-speed players who recorded five 30-homer, 30-stolen base seasons (with four different teams) -- a 30-30 record feat matched only by his son Barry. Second generation: Bonds is obviously getting docked a few points for the cloud of steroids, which may also delay (if not prevent) his induction into the Hall of Fame. In any case, Bonds was one of the greatest and most feared hitters of all time and finished his career as the all-time home runs leader with 762 and the all-time walks leader with 2,558. It got to the point for the seven-time NL MVP where opposing managers were willing to walk him with the bases empty as a run-prevention strategy. That's part of why he finished his 22-year career with an absurd 1.051 OPS.
AFP/Getty ImagesMONICA M. DAVEY
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (boxing)
First generation: Father, Floyd Mayweather, was a welterweight boxer who compiled a 28-6-1 professional record. Second generation: Mayweather Jr.'s professional record remains a perfect 49-0 and he's claimed a title in five different weight classes. The welterweight (most recently) is certainly not the most likeable but is undeniably one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time. A skilled technician who specialized in defense, his fights didn't always create fireworks, case in point: Mayweather-Pacquiao, which by the way materialized about five years too late.
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Paulo Maldini (soccer)
First generation: Father Cesare Maldini was a defender for A.C. Milan and the Italian national team, and a captain of both squads. Second generation: Paolo’s career with A.C. Milan lasted a quarter century (1985 to 2009). A consummate leader regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, Maldini debuted for Milan at age 16 in 1985, became captain in 1997 and also served as captain of Italy’s national team for eight years (1994-2002). Among other trophies and accolades, “Il Capitano” won five European Cups with Milan, won the Serie A Defender of the Year Award in 2004 (at age 39), had his No. 3 retired by Milan and was inducted into the Milan’s Hall of Fame as well as the Italian Football Hall of Fame.
Getty ImagesLaurence Griffiths
Cal Ripken Jr. (baseball)
First generation: Father, Cal Ripken Sr., reached the majors as a coach and manager but not as a player. Second generation: On Sept. 6, 1995, the "Iron Man" passed Iron Horse Lou Gehrig's incredible streak of 2,130 consecutive games played and ran it to 2,632 games when he decided to end it in late September of 1998. Ripken Jr. was more than just longevity: the 19-time All-Star won two AL MVP Awards (1983, 1991), eight Silver Sluggers (at shortstop) and the accolades go on.
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Ken Griffey Jr. (baseball)
First generation: Ken Griffey Sr. was a three-time All-Star outfielder and a member of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in the 1970s. Second generation: The Mariners' wall-climbing center fielder had one of the sweetest and most seemingly effortless home run swings ever. The 10-time Gold Glove winner and 1997 AL MVP finished his career with 630 career homers, good for sixth all time. The Kid was inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 24 alongside catcher Mike Piazza. Recently Griffey Jr. wrote that this was the best play he ever made. There's plenty of footage with which to argue but holy heck.
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Brett Hull (hockey)
First generation: Father Bobby Hull is one of the NHL's all-time greats, a left winger who scored 610 goals (1,170 points) and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Second generation: Bobby left some pretty humongous skates to fill but Brett managed with 741 goals of his own, 1,391 points, and he won two Stanley Cups. The right winger joined his father in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2009 class, making them just one of two father-son combos to get enshrined (Gordie Howe and Mark Howe is the other).
Getty ImagesB Bennett
Richard Petty (stock car racing)
First generation: Lee Petty, a three-time NASCAR champion who won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. Second generation: Richard “The King” Petty won a record 200 races and made 712 top-10 finishes over his illustrious career spanning 35 years (1958-1992). He’s a seven time winner of the Cup Series, tied for most ever with Dale Earnhardt. Petty also has the most wins ever in a season (27) and the most consecutive seasons with at least one win (18). Petty was a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2010.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
Kobe Bryant (basketball)
First generation: Father, Joe Bryant, was a center-forward for eight seasons in the NBA (1975-1983) and internationally for nearly a decade after that. Second generation: The 18-time All Star, five-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP ranks third all-time in points in both the regular season (33,643) and playoffs (5,640). The cold-blooded Mamba checked out in pure Kobe fashion in his final game in April -- with 50 shots attempted and 60 points -- after a legendary career that probably puts him among the seven greatest NBA players of all time.
AFP/Getty ImagesEMMANUEL DUNAND
Peyton Manning (football)
First generation: See Eli's section above. Second generation: It was a pretty excruciating call between Manning and Bryant but ultimately the fact that Manning played the most difficult position in pro sports, and was perhaps the greatest quarterback ever, proved determinative. Manning was a master at reading defenses and manipulating them. The two-time Super Bowl winner (even if he was a liability in the Super Bowl 50 win) and five-time NFL MVP led the league in passing touchdowns five times and holds the records for most career passing yards (71,940), career touchdown passes, passing touchdowns (55) and yards (5,477) among other records. He also leads all athletes in funny national television commercials. The recent retiree is now out there somewhere, eating Papa John's and slugging Budweisers.