A Late Fathers Day...

This past week, with the 55th pick the 2024 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bronny James - the son of the greatest active basketball player in the world, LeBron James.

By drafting Bronny, the Lakers have made the decision to continue the legacy of one of their most iconic players, and will become the first NBA team to ever have a father and son duo playing together on the same court. 

Throughout the last half-decade as Bronny’s star rose through the high school and college ranks, LeBron has publicly expressed his desire to play alongside his son. It’s another first for LeBron, who has all but cemented the Lakers as the last stop in a storied career before his inevitable retirement.

Will Bronny fill his shoes? No one knows (yet), but the mentorship and guidance he’s received from what many would consider the greatest athlete of his generation could accelerate Bronny's development and adaptation to the league very quickly. 

While this is the first time a father/son pairing will play together, the connection between the past, present, and future is something we’ve seen many times before. In this, the 138th installment of Shiny Thing$, we take a look at the greatest father/son athletes throughout history, with an eye on the upcoming 2025 NBA season and what could become one of the most important sports legacies of all time.  

Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning

The Mannings are undoubtedly one of the most athletically talented families in all of sports. Even the Mannings you may have never heard of have storied histories in high-school and college (Peyton and Eli’s nephew Arch Manning actually had one of his college trading cards sell for over $100,000 last year).

Arch’s grandpa, Archie Manning, excelled more in college than as a professional quarterback, but he still had a notable NFL career, earning two Pro Bowl selections and induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Peyton Manning quickly outshone his father, amassing 12 Pro Bowl selections, four MVP awards, and numerous NFL passing records along with a Super Bowl.

Eli Manning may not match Peyton's passing statistics, with (only) three Pro Bowl selections, but he has two Super Bowl wins, including one of the greatest Super Bowl comeback drives of all time to beat the undefeated New England Patriots in 2008 (and then again in 2012 - representing 66% of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl losses) making him a New York legend.

Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr.

Many believe that if it weren’t for injury, Ken Griffey Jr. would have been the best player in the history of Major League Baseball. But before Jr., there was another Griffey that was in the spotlight.

Ken Griffey Sr. played a pivotal role in the Cincinnati Reds' Big Red Machine, winning two World Series titles and earning three All-Star selections.

Jr. surpassed his father's achievements, establishing himself as a premier player on both sides of the ball. He was selected for 13 All-Star games, won 10 Gold Gloves, earned an AL MVP award, and hit 630 home runs throughout his career. By the numbers, its hard to disagree that his later years would have been far more statistically significant had it not been for the multiple injuries, many to his hand and wrist, that hampered him both offensively and defensively.

Bobby and Barry Bonds

Bobby Bonds was a trailblazer, becoming the second MLB player to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases, earning three All-Star selections. He was a star, but still, he never won a World Series and teetered on the cusp of Hall of Fame glory, never quite making the cut - something that he himself expressed unhappiness over. A great all-around player who maybe didn’t get his due, Willie McCovey once called Bonds' exclusion from the HOF "a sin."

Barry Bonds never had to live in his father's shadow. He won seven NL MVP awards, was a 14-time All-Star, and earned eight Gold Gloves. Barry also set major league records for walks, intentional walks, and the highly coveted home run record. At one point, you simply couldn’t pitch to him because anything close to a strike had a high probability of getting sent out of the ballpark.

A wild stat: from 2001-2004, Barry Bonds played in 573 games and reached base in 539 of them. That’s 94% of his games. Even so, with steroids being attached to his name, he too, like his father, is not in the Hall of Fame. They are the only father-son combination that has more than 1,000 home runs.

Dick and Pete Weber

The Weber family has a rich bowling legacy. Dick Weber was a pioneering figure in the sport, winning 30 PBA Tour events and six PBA Senior Tour events over six decades, earning a spot in the PBA Hall of Fame.

Pete Weber, following in his father's footsteps, became a PBA Hall of Famer as well, winning 37 PBA Tour events, including 10 major titles, during his illustrious career. He’s also bowled an insane 85 perfect 300 games. 

But the Weber name is also famous for a moment that was captured in February of 2012 in a victorious outburst as Pete won his 5th US Open title. As he bowled his last frame for the win, Pete screamed into the camera “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?? I AM!!” and set the internet on fire. The back story of that moment speaks to the relationship with his dad, who won 4 US Opens as a pro bowler. With Pete’s 5th, he passed his late father, and became the only bowler to ever achieve 5 Open titles.  

Bobby and Brett Hull

Bobby Hull is hailed as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He was a 10-time NHL All-Star First Team selection, won the Art Ross Trophy three times, and the Hart Trophy twice.

Brett Hull followed his father's path to greatness, ranking third in NHL history for goals and tying with Wayne Gretzky for the most game-winning playoff goals. They made history as the first father-son duo inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Of all the pairings on this list, these 2 could likely be considered the best combo pound for pound, both having left their mark on the sport with a style of gameplay and records that still stand today, and 3 Stanley Cups between them.

BONUS: Man o' War and War Admiral

Horses are possibly the most athletic animals on the planet (humans included), and their lineage and bloodline are huge factors in their success on the track.

Man o' War is often regarded as the greatest thoroughbred racing horse ever, with a career record of 20-1. His lone defeat is believed to have inspired the term "upset."

While Man o' War sired several well regarded racehorses during his stallion career, one son stood out from the rest.

War Admiral inherited his father's talent, winning 21 races and completing the Triple Crown in 1937. His career earnings were $273,240, which was a ton of money at the tail end of the Great Depression, and would be equal to over $6M today.

Until Next Week…