Muhammed Ali once declared himself "The Greatest" and there are few who would argue with him. He was a heavyweight boxing champion and won fights with iconic names like The Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila. Years later, his daughter Laila followed in her father's footsteps, becoming a multiple-title winner in women's boxing.
All in the family
Every sport has its share of families that have success — even if it means having to face a family foe. For example, brothers Jim and John Harbaugh have stared across at each other on opposing sidelines when the NFL coaches' teams faced off. Whether it's fathers and sons, sibling rivalries or cousin connections, here are our favorite families in sports.
Don Hasselbeck had a solid NFL career, playing nine seasons as a tight end. His big season was in 1981 with the New England Patriots, catching 46 passes for 808 yards and six TDs. Both of his sons became NFL QBs with varying degrees of success. Youngest son Tim (left) bounced around the league, appearing in only 12 games while on the rosters of five teams in six seasons. Older brother Matt (right) has played in the league 14 seasons, including 10 in Seattle, where he led the team to a Super Bowl appearance and went to three Pro Bowls. Matt will likely backup Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.
The Matthews name is in its third NFL generation. Clay Sr. was an offensive lineman who played four seasons for the 49ers. His sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., both played 19 seasons, Bruce as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Oilers/Titans and Clay Jr. (left) as a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Browns and Falcons. Clay III (center) has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons as a linebacker with the Packers and won a Super Bowl, and brother Casey (right), another linebacker, is in his second season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Before Howie Long (left) starred as an FOX NFL Sunday analyst, he dominated on the field as a defensive lineman for the Raiders from 1981 to '93. The Hall of Famer made eight Pro Bowls and played a key role in the Raiders’ Super Bowl XVIII win over the Redskins. His son, Chris, also is a defensive lineman. He was drafted No. 2 overall by the St. Louis Rams in 2008 and signed a four-year contract extension before the 2012 season.
The Mannings are perhaps the First Family of the NFL. Father Archie (left) was drafted No. 2 overall by the New Orleans Saints in 1971. Despite playing on a team that wasn’t too talented, Manning made two Pro Bowls as a quarterback. Two of his sons were destined for greater things. Peyton (center) was the first overall pick in 1998 and could be the best quarterback of his era. His 11 Pro Bowl nominations, two Super Bowl appearances (one win and game MVP) and overall dominance at the quarterback position should make him a Hall of Famer. His brother Eli is a star in his own right, winning two Super Bowls with the Giants and earning MVP honors both times.
Bill (right) was one of the greatest college players of all time, winning three National Player of the Year awards and two NCAA titles at UCLA. He won one MVP award and two championships in the NBA, though foot injuries kept him from achieving more. Luke can't measure up to his father literally (he's five inches shorter) or figuratively (he's a role player in his 10th season), but he did get a $30 million contract his dad could only dream of.
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady
For this relationship, you have to dig a little deeper into genealogy. Their grandmothers were cousins, making them second cousins, but the family resemblance on the court is uncanny. Two of the best athletes in league history, Carter and T-Mac have combined for 15 All-Star selections, two scoring titles (both by McGrady) and a Slam Dunk crown (Carter). They even played together in Toronto.
Rick Barry (left) was an underrated athlete, a surly competitor and one of the best small forwards in NBA history. He also passed down his basketball genes to his five sons, four of whom played professionally, with Brent (middle) and Jon (right) the most successful. Brent won a Slam Dunk title and two NBA championships with the Spurs, while Jon played for eight teams in 14 NBA seasons.
Pau (left) helped the Lakers win back-to-back titles following his trade to LA in 2008. The Grizzlies received four players and three draft picks in that deal, including the rights to Marc, who has made it look less lopsided by emerging as an All-Star center. He even helped Memphis win a playoff series. Together, the brothers have made Spain a threat to Team USA in international play.
Darrell Waltrip (left) has been a pivotal figure in NASCAR history, stirring up competitors with his fiery racing and outspoken nature and continuing that relationship with fans as a broadcaster. He’s a three-time Cup champion and winner of 84 Cup races and 13 Nationwide ones, a former Truck series team owner and a NASCAR on FOX personality. The outspoken Waltrip nature also is evident in younger brother Michael, who won four Cup and 11 Nationwide races in his full-time driving days and then launched a second career in the sport as a team owner. He brought Toyota into NASCAR and has moved to a part-time driving role as he focuses on Michael Waltrip Racing.
Ralph Earnhardt broke into the sport in the 1950s and was considered a genius when it came to building cars. He passed his love of the sport on to his son, Dale Sr. (right), who won seven titles. His No. 3 ride remains one of the most recognizable cars of all time. Dale Sr. went on to form his own team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., with his wife, Teresa, and ran cars for Dale Jr. (left). Earnhardt died in the 2001 Daytona 500, but his legacy continues with his son, who's been successful both on the track — he has 19 career Cup wins — and as a businessman. Dale Jr. started his own team, the Nationwide Series JR Motorsports. It’s co-owned and run by his sister, Kelley, one of the most powerful women in racing. Kerry Earnhardt, Dale Sr.’s other son, also had his own racing career. Now it is his son, Jeffrey, who is trying to establish a NASCAR career.
While many credit Richard Petty’s tenacious driving and graciousness with fans for helping the sport’s explosion in popularity, the Petty family’s role in NASCAR actually began with his father, Lee. Helping NASCAR grow from its humble roots, Lee Petty won three championships and 54 races. He was followed by Richard, who became the first driver to win seven championships and the only one to win 200 races. Petty was not only a formidable competitor on the track but also a fan favorite off of it. His brother, Maurice, built the engines. Richard was followed in the sport by his son, Kyle, who won eight races before moving into the television arena. These days, Kyle remains popular with fans and media. His son, Adam, was set to carry the Petty name into a new era but was killed in a practice crash. His legacy lives on through the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically ill children that his family created in his honor.
From the beginning, the Frances have been the dominating force in NASCAR. Bill France Sr. crafted the sport from a grass-roots favorite noted for its ties to moonshiners and racing on the beach to a national entity. His son Bill Jr. continued the trend, gaining a national audience and moving the sport across the country while maintaining its flavor with that audience. Bill Jr.’s son, Brian (pictured), entered during the sport’s heyday and introduced a landmark television contract followed by the creation of the Chase format for determining a championship. Meanwhile, Lesa France Kennedy (right), France Jr.’s daughter, took the helm of International Speedway Corp. And Jim France, Bill Sr.’s other son, has long played a pivotal role in the direction of NASCAR and ISC and now helms the Grand-Am arm of the sport.
Cecil Fielder was a power-hitting first baseman and DH who hit 319 homers in 13 seasons for the Blue Jays, Tigers, Yankees, Angels and Indians. He was a two-time AL home run champion and won a World Series with the Yankees in 1996. His son, All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder, joined his dad in the 50-homer club when he led the NL in homers in 2007. He was a three-time All-Star in seven seasons in Milwaukee and is playing for a World Series ring in his first year in Detroit. The elder Fielder reportedly has had domestic and gambling problems and is no longer on speaking terms with Prince or the rest of the family.
Felipe Alou was a major league outfielder, first baseman and manager. He was the first Dominican to play regularly in the majors and is the eldest of a trio of baseball-playing brothers that included Matty and Jesús. During his 17-year playing career, he was a three-time All-Star and was the NL hits leader twice. In his post-playing career, he became the winningest manager in Expos history. Felipe's son Moisés had an 18-year career as an outfielder, during which he was a six-time All-Star and a World Series champion in 1997 with the Florida Marlins. He even played for his dad in Montreal.
Ken Griffey was a two-time World Series champ (1975 and '76 Reds), a three-time All-Star and the MVP of the 1980 All-Star Game during a 19-year career. Griffey is now manager of the Reds Single-A affiliate. His son Ken (aka Junior or The Kid) began his major league career with the Mariners in 1989, and the Griffeys played on the same team. The father-son tandem hit back-to-back home runs on Sept. 14, 1990. Junior, a 13-time All-Star and 1997 AL MVP, retired in 2010 and is a slam-dunk first-ballot Hall of Famer with 630 homers.
Calvin Ripken Sr., who died in 1999, was a player, coach and manager who spent 36 years in the Baltimore Orioles organization, for which his sons Cal Jr. and Billy played. Cal Jr., of course, is the Hall of Fame shortstop who spent his entire career with the O's and was baseball's "Iron Man," playing 2,632 straight games. He was a 19-time All-Star, two-time AL MVP and AL Rookie of the Year in 1982. Cal Jr.'s younger brother Billy had a 12-year career with the O's, Rangers, Indians and Tigers. He's now a television analyst and radio personality.
Gordie Howe is considered one of the best NHL players of all-time, but he's not the only one with hockey talent in his family. His sons, Mark and Marty, were his teammates when the three played for the WHA's Houston Aeros and the NHL's Hartford Whalers. It was the only time a father played with his sons in the history of the NHL. If that wasn't enough, all three shared the same sports agent: Gordie's wife, Colleen. Gordie was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 with son Mark joining him in 2011.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin are twin brothers in the NHL. They were drafted second (Daniel) and third (Henrik) in the 1999 draft by the Vancouver Canucks and made their debut together in 2000. Of course, they aren't always the same. Henrik is the team's captain, but Daniel is only an alternate. And Henrik won the Hart Trophy for league MVP; Daniel has only been nominated.
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull played 24 seasons in professional hockey. His son, Brett, spent 21 seasons in the NHL. Both were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and they're the only father-son duo with more than 50 goals in a season and more than 600 NHL goals apiece. And if that wasn't enough, Bobby's brother Dennis also played in the NHL, including eight seasons alongside his brother on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tony Granato began his career in 1988 before retiring from the NHL in 2001. Granato has served as an assistant coach and head coach in the league and is currently part of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. His sister, Cammi, won a gold medal in 1998 and a silver in 2002 with the U.S. women's Olympic hockey team. She was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, becoming one of the first women to be inducted into the Hall.
When it comes to open wheel racing, there is no family as dominant as the Andrettis. Mario is an Indy 500 winner and world champion in Formula One racing. His son, Michael, was the CART champion in 1991 and holds the record for leading the most laps at the Indy 500 without winning a race. And now his son, Marco, is racing in IndyCar for Michael's Andretti Autosport team. And if that isn't enough Andrettis, Mario's twin brother, Aldo, also was a racer as well as his son, John.