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Like Father, Like Son: The Dad's That Did it Right

Posted by T. Adeyemi on June 21, 2009

On Father’s Day the same as Mother’s Day there should be time taken for thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the gift of life given to you by two people that hopefully shared the same vision, which in turn created the greater you. Yet, Father’s Day seems to pale in comparison to Mother’s Day not only in recognition, but in having a much less worthy grouping to celebrate.

For me, I celebrate Father’s Day not with a heavy heart, but instead with a tremendous graciousness for the men in my life who filled the void that my biological father left. For anyone out there who does not have a good relationship with their father, I encourage you not to dwell on the shortcomings of someone who theoretically should have unquestioned love for you. No, instead celebrate those men AND WOMEN who have stepped up in their absence. I decided sometime ago to turn my displeasure into a greater sense of pride for fatherhood, whenever that day comes.

In the meantime, allow us to recognize some of the famous father’s who deserve their shaving kits, tool sets, ties, and polo shirts on this Father’s Day. Isn’t it funny how every Father’s Day every man seems to only be in need of what women describe as the “manly” objects. As if wrenches and hammers go bad after 1 year, LoL. For the record we took my grandfather to a Blues concert.

Ken Griffey Sr. & Ken Griffey Jr. – With Jr. widely being recognized as the most talented player in baseball for several years in the early 90’s (before a few bad injuries) and Sr. being a solid center-fielder in his own right, this father-son duo were a lock to make the list. Considering that Jr. surpassed the 500 home run plateau and is still an everyday player since his 1989 rookie year, and Pops was a mainstay for the Cincinnati Reds “Big Red Machine” during the 1970’s the argument can easily be made that these two represent the greatest father-son duo in all of sports. Probably more impressive than either Griffey’s individual accomplishments is the one thing they’ve done together that no other baseball father-son duo can lay claim to. The Griffey’s became the first and only to date father-son combination to play in the major leagues simultaneously. And not only that, Griffey Sr. in his last season signed with Jr.’s Seattle Mariners team to make the Griffey’s the only father-son duo to play on the same team.

Eddie Levert & Gerald Levert – It is always tragic when a parent outlives their children, and that same sentiment can be concluded when it comes to the passing of Gerald Levert in 2006. Gerald like his father shared the gift of song. He not only had a quite successful solo career, but in turn lent his vocal talents to the likes of groups like LeVert and LSG. The essence of family was evident between the two men as before Gerald’s death they were working on a book that has since been released entitled, “I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep it Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship.” Indeed, Eddie’s talents were passed down to not only Gerald but his brother Sean from his days as the lead singer in the historic R&B Soul group The O’Jay’s. Gerald grew up in a place I know very well from my childhood, Shaker Heights Ohio. Rest in Peace Gerald Levert.

Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant & Kobe Bryant – Once again the son seems to carry the father, although Joe “Jelly Bean” was no slouch himself. Joe Bryant played 8 season in the NBA with several teams. He eventually moved across the pond to play overseas in Italy, where he gave birth to one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Joe’s decision to play in Italy may be his greatest gift to Kobe. Kobe has stated on several occasions that it was his commitment to the fundamentals of basketball that are strictly enforced in Europe that he most greatly remembers from his time overseas. Kobe’s list of accomplishments need not be ran down since they are still in progress, but in case you forgot his latest feat here’s your chance to flashback.

Ken Norton Sr. & Ken Norton Jr. – As an admitted admirer of the Dallas Cowboys I can’t help but remember watching the ESPN classic games of the Cowboys dynasty in the early 90’s. Especially, the way in which Ken Norton Jr. devoured running backs and receivers that crossed his path at linebacker for the Cowboys championship defense. Norton Jr’s bruising style of play must have been derived from his father’s heavy hands from his days in the boxing ring. Norton Sr. was during a time in the late 70’s one of the top heavyweight fighters in all of boxing. His most famous moment came when he broke Muhammad Ali’s jaw in one of their fights. He must of caught Ali on a night where he forgot how to, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson & Jesse Jackson Jr. – Say what you want about the elder Jackson but the man has tried to be a leader in the Black community since the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now, self-admittedly he’s made his fair share of missteps along the way that we won’t get into, but any man that can run for president twice and found the Rainbow/PUSH organization deserves at least a little recognition. Not to mention his famous trip to Syria in 1983 where he alone was sent as America’s peace ambassador and was able to negotiate the release of several hostages. His son has followed in his father’s footsteps as a civil rights and social right activists.  Most recently, he helped to elect Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States by being the co-chairman of his national campaign.

Calvin Hill & Grant Hill – As I combed the shelves of Finish Line just yesterday I noticed the Fila brand seemed to be making a comeback. Or as my boy Vance put it, “Damn, you know its a recession when Fila can still make shoes, AND they display them.” But what I was concerned with was not the brand but instead the style and the player they embodied. I can still remember having the Grant Hill Fila’s as the prime piece to my kicks collection. I almost asked if they had my size, but I digress. Grant’s golden boy image has never wavered from his time at Duke where he became famous for being the guy who threw the pass to Christian Laettner for the shot that beat Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. (Unfortunately, we all remember the play.)

Anyway, Calvin definitely passed down a great set of genes after he finished his 12 year NFL career. Calvin was a four-time Pro Bowler during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, & Washington Redskins. Calvin was at one point considered one of the best running backs in the league, some of the same athleticism I’m sure Grant drew from.

Bobby Bonds & Barry Bonds -Remember what I said about the Griffey’s being arguably the best father-son duo in baseball history? Well, here’s their biggest competition. I won’t allow my dislike of Barry to sway me away from giving both gentlemen their just due. These two truly followed the, “Like Father, Like Son” model when Bobby became the first player in baseball history to hit 300 home runs & steal 400 bases. The only other player thus far to accomplish those feats are the steroid rumored Barry Bonds. (Hey, let’s keep it all the way real.) Either way Barry is easily the most dominant player of the last two decades in winning seven National League MVP awards, eight Gold Glove awards, 514 stolen bases, and 762 home runs which ranks first all-time.

Here’s a few other father-son duos that also deserve some recognition:

Tony Gwynn & Tony Gwynn Jr.  – Bill Walton & Luke Walton – Mario Andretti & Michael and Jeff Andretti – Darryl Strawberry & D.J. Strawberry – Richard & Kyle and Adam Petty

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2 Responses to “Like Father, Like Son: The Dad's That Did it Right”

  1. Man…this was a great read. I can’t say it any better, great theme post Jeezy. As I said earlier, a much appreciated Happy Father’s Day to all those who “DID IT RIGHT”.

    OH, let’s not forget probably the greatest family of them all…THE MANNINGS.

    Archie has spawned four sons…two of which are Superbowl winning quarterbacks, the other is a doctor and the other is a lawyer. It doesn’t get much better than that!!

  2. Man…this was a great read. I can’t say it any better, great theme post Jeezy. As I said earlier, a much appreciated Happy Father’s Day to all those who “DID IT RIGHT”.

    OH, let’s not forget probably the greatest family of them all…THE MANNINGS.

    Archie has spawned four sons…two of which are Superbowl winning quarterbacks, the other is a doctor and the other is a lawyer. It doesn’t get much better than that!!

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