Like father, like child
It's a trend that is evident in professional sports.
A lot of players in the NBA. NFL. NHL. and MLB follow in the footsteps their dads. The number of second-generation players in three of these four sports has increased significantly this century.
The NHL is the top-ranked league with 6.1% of the players who participated in at least one game in the last season having a father who was a member of the league. This is up from 1.5% in 2001. The NBA ranks second with 4.9% (up 1.6%), while the NFL is at 3.4% (up 1.8%). In 2001, the MLB had the highest number of second-generation athletes (2.9%), but this dropped to 1.9% in 2021.
Was it difficult to grow up with a father who was a professional athlete? How did they encourage their sons to continue their legacy? What advantages did the children have in pursuing their dream of becoming professional players?
As we head into Father's Day, Melvin and I checked in on second-generation combos Melvin.Tie and Charlie is a hockey player in the NHL. MLB and And . You can see the NFL's video to get an idea about what it's like for a father to play at the highest level, and how it may help.
Devin Booker's Journey to the TopHe or his father, who were both NBA players, didn't know it had started.
Devin would often accompany Melvin on his offseasons to Mississippi and watch him play pickup, workout, and shoot basketball. Devin was the foundation of basketball while Melvin honed his game in the Delta's scorching heat.
Melvin stated, “I just spent every minute with him.”
Melvin asked Devin a question when he was about 12-13 years old. It was the question that would shape his entire life.
Devin settled all doubts: “Dad I want to play.”
Melvin stated that it was all Melvin's passion and his love for the game. “It was my duty, as a father, former player, to show it the way.”
Melvin, who participated in 32 NBA games over two seasons (1995-1997), began to suspect that Devin might follow in his footsteps during the summer AAU circuits in high school. Devin was a star against the likes, , , And — All went on to NBA careers.
Melvin was able to step up his game as father.
Devin, a Michigan native, moved to Mississippi to attend high school. His dad was able to train him. Melvin was more that a father for the next few years. He was a coach and mentor.
Melvin stated that they were “like best friends,” spending every day together. “I was away for 10 months, so I missed a lot about Devin's lives. It was like catching up whenever we were together.
Melvin shared NBA-level coaching time with his son, something that not many of Devin's Mississippi peers were getting. Melvin showed his son how weightlifting, eating right, and how to make time for practice.
It was great that Devin had Melvin as a coach, whether he was the head coach or assistant on AAU or high school teams. Melvin would give Devin game adjustments and dissect the game to provide information at a professional level. Devin took it all in.
Devin was an example of what it meant to be a “Basketball Jones.” Melvin was determined to make Devin a NBA All-Star. He didn't push Devin too much.
Melvin said, “There is a thin line.” “I also understand that.
“We didn't have one bump on the road.”
Melvin felt it all on the bus ride from the hotel to Brooklyn's 2015 NBA draft at Barclays Center. Melvin took a seat by himself, as the bus moved in traffic. He was able to reflect on the experience while he sat there.
Melvin said, “I feel like, ‘My boy's dream' is about to become a reality,'” Melvin thought.
He began to cry.
Today, Melvin still sees Devin when he watches him on TV or in person. He remembers how little Devin was and how he used to dribble around the house.
Melvin described it as a “surreal feeling.” It's difficult to explain in words.
“He is a professional basketball player so it worked out well for him.” — Josh Weinfuss
Max Domi, center, was a close friend growing up with future NHL Hall of Famers.
Or so he thought.
They were actually his father's.teammates. Max saw the locker room as a place to play and that everyone in it was friends.
Max stated that Max didn't have a normal childhood. Max said, “I was around guys such as, , And They're my friends, I tell myself on a daily basis. I look back and think, “What the heck?” “I thought it was normal to believe Mats was my best friend.”
Tie, his father, spent the last 11 seasons of his professional career as a bruising enforcer in Toronto. This was right around the time Max was born in 1995. Max was the highly-regarded winger drafted No. Phoenix selected Max 12th overall and he has appeared in 501 games with 314 points to his credit.
Tie was with the Leafs during Max's formative years. Max learned to respect and love the game from Tie.
Max replied, “He'd say, ‘Shut down and watch and listen, and act like a sponge.'” It was how I learned most things I know today. He showed me what it took to become a professional. [player]. It's not something most people learn until they reach junior high. [hockey]. You'll have to make sacrifices for your dad if you are 8 years old. It's not easy, but it's something you're forced to do because he's your father. It was an advantage in every possible way.
Max's skills were not the same as his father's. Tie was able to recognize that Max, while he made a name for himself by burying men in boards, was exactly the top-end talent he would likely target.
Tie was a father like all fathers, he wanted his son to be safe. Tie gave Max the tools he needed to succeed, and trusted that he would handle the rest.
“It was my toughness. Tie said in his book Shift Work, “Totally opposite of Max.”.” “I was a caregiver for the top players in the world and he has always wanted to be the best. Ex-player, his father, I enjoy the fact that I have never seen him take a shift off and that he has been winning since he was a child.
Max is grateful to his father for being an unwavering instructor. Tie never misses a chance to teach his son something he thinks will be a big help.
Max commented that Max has a sharp brain when it comes to playing the game. He watches the game, and he is a good sport. [everything]. Like, he'll look at you.Oder These are the elite men. Then he will send me clips and say, “Did that happen?” Did you see that? Even though it is so simple. It's funny now, but I have learned so much from him over the years. It's something I truly appreciate.” — Kristen Shilton
Ke'Bryan Hayes tripped around first base, one of the first time he hit a T-ball home run.
His father laughs as he recalls those moments.
Charlie, who was a 14-year veteran of the major leagues and won the 1996 World Series with TheThis is the perfect illustration of his early years as a professional baseball player. Charlie stated that Ke'Bryan was his youngest son and the least gifted. However, he is the one who continues his father's legacy by being a third baseman for the Yankees. .
Ke'Bryan stated that he used to trip and fall. It's quite funny to look back and see how far I have come from when I was 5, 6, 7, 7 years ago, all the way to now. Without [my family]If I didn't, I wouldn’t even be here today.”
Ke'Bryan now plays in his third major league season. A $70M contract for eight years was signed earlier in the season. Ke'Bryan has proven that he is capable of keeping his feet on the ground when he hits a homerun for Pittsburgh, just as his dad did in 1996.
Charlie retired when Ke'Bryan is 4. Ke'Bryan has no memory of his father's professional life.
Ke'Bryan stated that while he used to have VCR tapes at his house with highlights and all, it didn't register until he was around 10, 11 or 12 years old. “… I am more reserved and quiet. My older brothers will tell everyone he played and all that stuff. He's like my mom to me, but I'm just his dad to us.”
Charlie instilled in Ke'Bryan a major league work ethic and stressed the skills that he would need to succeed as a professional.
Charlie stated, “We were in the process, not about the results.” So that's what they should be learning. They didn't have to play ball. They were keen to play but we had to make sure we did it right the first time.
Ke'Bryan sometimes didn't want his dad to coach him, even though he had Charlie's roadmap to follow. Sometimes he needed another messenger.
Charlie turned to Tyree, his middle child — who is eight more years old than Ke'Bryan.
Charlie stated that Tyree was the reason Ke'Bryan is able to catch the ball like this. “I showed him, then he showed my brother. … I basically told Tyree exactly what he had to do, and Tyree managed to convince him because they were closer friends than me, since I was the disciplinarian guy. They got along better than I did. I could tell him what Tyree would say to him, but he would see it differently.”
Charlie worked with Ke'Bryan as he grew older. He stressed versatility and good habits of practice.
Ke'Bryan explained, “Doing the whole travel ball circuit and all those, definitely having a dad that played before, that's probably gonna get you more eyes and more chances.” “… While people would argue that it's in his genes but he has to wear them, just like you have to put in the effort. — Brooke Pryor
Michael Pittman Jr., a receiver, was immersed in football as a child. His father, Michael Pittman Jr., spent 11 years in the NFL as a player and coach. And .
Pittman Jr. stated, “I always believed it was the right thing to do because to my eyes football was normal.” “I didn’t think my father was special because he played for the NFL. It wasn't there from the moment I was born. I didn't realize it until I was around 14-15, when it hit me that my dad had been playing in the league for 11 consecutive years.
Pittman Jr. was even a little scared that he would be following in his father’s footsteps and wearing his No. Playing running back and wearing No. 32 All junior thought was this. His Pop Warner days were spent with his father, who supported him and not pushed his son.
Pittman stated that he was the dad who did not force his kids to do anything in sports. I always made sure my children were good people and got good grades. Michael Jr. chose football because it was what he really wanted to do. He was very young and I didn't push him too hard. He was my focus. He was the type son who listened to everything and didn't think he knew everything.
Pittman did not really step in until his son was ready to tell him he couldn't see himself as a running back in the NFL. His father said that Pittman Jr. would have the best chance of success at receiver.
Pittman stated, “Junior was stuck playing running back because that is what I played.” He was very skilled at running back. But, seeing the game's direction, I knew he would be tall so I told him that he was going be a receiver.
After his freshman season, Pittman had his son transfer from Valencia High School into Oaks Christian High School. This was because Mike Sherrard (an ex-NFL receiver) was on the school’s offense staff.
Pittman stated that Pittman wanted his son to be around NFL players. “I couldn't coach him, so I wanted to ensure he was around others who had been there, done it, and understood what it took for my child to go where his heart desired.”
The younger Pittman was taller than his father, and he reached 6'4″ when he began college at USC.
Pittman Jr. was the right size to play receiver but he was still learning the position. His father's relationships with other NFL receivers — such as his father — are proof of this., , And many others — all came into play.
Pittman Jr. stated, “I've always had access elite players.” I had and still have instant contact with all of those guys. Because football is a game of ups and downs, they really helped me understand football. They showed me how to manage it.” Mike Wells