Some say it’s fate, some say it’s genetics. Whatever it is driving them, the kids of former and current NBA players are following in their parents’ footsteps and giving basketball a shot. Some go on to greatness. Others don’t quite get there, like Jordan Dumars, son of Joe, who withdrew from basketball due to knee issues. Inspired by the latest addition to the list—legendary point guard Gary Payton’s son—here’s the latest on what some of basketball’s up-and-comers are up to and whether they’re living up to their dad’s name, or destined to live in their shadows.
Gary Payton II
Little Gary Payton II shares more than his name with his father. The Glove’s son—affectionately nicknamed “The Mitten,” presumably to differentiate him from the former Heat and SuperSonics point guard—has just committed to play basketball at his dad’s alma mater, Oregon State, says SportsCenter’s Twitter account. According to Oregon Live, he still hasn’t signed a letter of intent. The 6’3” young buck was playing for Salt Lake CC and, yes, his dad had a bit to do with it; as Connor Letourneau wrote, the kid’s last name is a touchstone for Oregon State’s “glory days.” However, Payton II is also great on defence and rebounds in his own right, so perhaps he’s earned the right to crib off his dad’s nickname.
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
We remember when Tim Hardaway, Jr. was being hyped by Michigan’s Men’s Basketball team—just one among a dream team of other NBA sons. Now, the point guard’s son is impressing as a rookie for the Knicks in J.R. Smith’s absence, so much so that he played nearly an entire fourth quarter against the Bulls (a key obstacle to a good playoffs seed). He put up an average of 7.5 points and made three 3-pointers over 42 minutes in two games, which is certain to impress his dad one way or another.
Jon Horford and Glenn Robinson
Did we mention the University of Michigan’s penchant for name-gathering? Senior/junior Jon Horford and his silver-spoon buddy and sophomore Glenn Robinson III have both been made team captains of the Wolverines for the 2013-14 season. The son of Tito Horford, known for play with the Bucks, and brother of Al of Atlanta Hawks fame, he has played 71 career games, averaging 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, which ain’t half bad. He also sees eye-to-eye with his 6’10” brother. Robinson, on the other hand, averaged 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 40 career games. However, he reportedly has faced a lot of pressure to live up to his dad, and even his mom sees a lack of aggression on his part.
Brother of the acclaimed Steph Curry, Seth remained undrafted in the 2013 season and is currently playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA development league after a notable stint playing for Duke at the college level. The guard was waived by Golden State Oct. 25 in lieu of extending the contracts of regular players on the team after some excitement that the two will stay on together—however, he was a bit of a long shot to make the final roster along with his superstar brother, averaging 2.2 points and one assist in 7.2 minutes over six preseason games. Most recently, the brothers were seen making bets on Twitter whether Davidson or Duke will win a Nov. 8 game. The stakes? Two boxes of peach sour patch kids. Only time will tell if they’ll be in the same league—literally.
Juwan Howard, Jr.
The junior forward is currently playing for the University of Detroit Mercy Titans, which are struggling to rejoin the NCAAs, helping them bounce back from a season-opening loss to South Alabama, putting up 22 points and 10 rebounds. He might yet be Fab Five material, as he has similarly been a consistent starter for the Titans with a high shooting average from the 3-point line last season, as well as averaging nine points and 3.6 rebounds.
Forward Anthony Mason’s son, it can be argued that Antoine Mason is a bit of a one-man show—he’s the wind in Niagara University’s sails and a scoring monster with a career 16.7 points per game, and 1,088 points in just two seasons. Like his father who led the NBA in minutes played in ‘95-’97, he’s also seeing a lot of game time (he played 44 of 50 minutes in last January’s double-overtime game against the Gaels, where he scored 30 points. Niagara won). It’s hard not to compare him to his father, but he seems to take it in stride, using the pressure to fuel his motivation. Atta boy.
Like father, like son: center Manute Bol’s kid, who is only in middle school, was most recently measured in at a towering 6’5” last year. It’s no surprise, given that Manute was one of the tallest players to ever play in the NBA. With his range (and we’re assuming it’s only grown since), he’s destined to be a pure natural. If you want to feel inadequate, check out this video of the kid absolutely dominating last year. Scared yet?