Some sons hung around while their fathers played pro ball or made movies, and then went on to have that same profession when they grew up. Some simply followed their father’s steps into the realm of sports or entertainment and forged their own path to stardom.
Either way, these sons were greatly inspired by the work their fathers did, whether it be in sports, movies, music, or entertainment.
Here are the top sports stars, athletes, and celebrities that followed in their father’s footsteps.
Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr.
One of the most famous father-son duos in sports didn’t just take up the same profession—they were teammates for a bit of time too. The elder Griffey won two World Series titles with the Cincinnati Reds during the 1970s, while the younger Griffey became an MLB superstar with the Seattle Mariners after being a No. 1 draft pick. Towards the end of Griffey Sr.'s career, he joined the Mariners and played alongside his son.
By playing together, the duo set a number of milestones that will be hard to repeat: they were the first father-son pair to be on the bases together at the same time, and the first to hit back-to-back home runs in a game. The younger Griffey had a fantastic baseball career and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the 2016 class after following his father into profressional baseball.
Steph Curry and Dell Curry
Dell was a solid player for the duration of his career, while Steph has established himself as the future of the league after winning back-to-back MVP awards in 2015-2016. Dell won himself a Sixth Man of the Year award in 1994, but his son has a leg up when it comes to hardware. Curry has been on a great run with the Warriors, leading the team to a single-season record 73 wins and he is on his way to becoming as big of a star as LeBron James. Steph isn’t the only son of Dell’s who made it into the NBA—Seth Curry appeared in 44 games with the Sacramento Kings during the 2015-16 season.
Klay Thompson and Mychal Thompson
Klay has been overshadowed a bit by Steph Curry while playing for the Golden State Warriors, but he has turned himself into a great NBA player in his own right. Klay was selected to the All-Star team in 2014-15, the same season the Warriors would go on to win the championship. Klay increased his scoring average every year in the NBA from his rookie season through 2015-16 and has shown that he can carry the Warriors when Steph Curry isn’t healthy.
Mychal—a number one overall pick in the NBA draft—played for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers in his NBA career. Not to be outdone, another Thompson sibling also is in pro sports: while Trayce Thompson didn’t follow his father to the NBA, he is showing off some great athletic ability as an outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, and Archie Manning
Eli and Peyton truly followed in dad Archie’s footsteps by playing the same position in the NFL. Both brothers did something their father never did though—win a Super Bowl title. The brothers have been extremely successful in the pros—Peyton put up record career numbers and won two titles, while Eli won two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants. Archie was one of the best college football players ever while playing for Ole Miss, and Eli followed his father by playing quarterback for the Rebels too. Archie did not have as much success in the NFL, but he has been able to enjoy the success of his sons in the league.
Clay Matthews Jr. and Clay Matthews III
There have been quite a few Matthews in the NFL over the years—and it all started with Clay Matthews Sr. The elder Matthews had a short career as an offensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers, but he set the stage for both his sons—and their sons—to have NFL success. Clay Jr. and Bruce both followed their father’s footsteps into the league—with Clay Jr. becoming a very productive linebacker and Bruce developing into a Hall of Fame offensive lineman.
The Matthews family has continued to produce NFL talent, with Clay Jr’s son Clay Matthews III becoming a top linebacker with a Defensive Player of the Year award to his name, and Bruce’s son Jake getting selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the top 10 of the NFL draft. The Matthews have the NFL in their bones—literally.
Bret Boone, Aaron Boone, and Bob Boone
The Boone’s have a long history in baseball—Bob played from 1972 to 1990, while Bret and Aaron both played in the majors for over a decade each. Bret had a few stellar years with the Seattle Mariners from 2001–2005, while Aaron is remembered for his heroics for the Yankees—defeating the Red Sox with a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS to send the Yanks to the World Series.
JJ Watt and John Watt
JJ Watt did not follow his father into professional football—but he did take up the shot put in high school after his father previously competed in the sport. Watt’s skills suited him well for his future profession—he has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards in his first five seasons with the Houston Texans in the NFL.
Moises Alou and Felipe Alou
Both Alou’s played a long time in the majors—17 years each to be exact—and Moises actually played for his father while Felipe was manager of the Montreal Expos. Felipe was selected to three All-Star teams while he was playing and also led the league in hits two times. Moises had a pretty productive career while putting up a .303 batting average with 2,134 hits, 421 doubles, 332 home runs and 1,287 RBI.
Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonds
Bobby and Barry Bonds are one of the most prolific father-son duos in any sport after dominating baseball during their respective careers. Bobby had some notable achievements during his time in the majors, including being the first major league player to have 30 home runs and 30 steals in the same season. Barry of course set the record for career home runs in baseball history with 762—performance-enhancing notwithstanding—and also won seven NL MVP awards and eight Gold Gloves while appearing in 14 All-Star games.
Chris Long and Howie Long
Howie Long had a Hall of Fame career as a defensive end with the Raiders before making the transition into television studio analyst for Fox Sports Networks. His son Chris took up the same position in the NFL, starting his career with the St. Louis Rams before signing with the New England Patriots.
Kobe Bryant and Joe Bryant
Kobe Bryant’s father Joe played in the NBA for nearly two decades before his son went on to have a Hall of Fame career in basketball. Joe was nicknamed “Jellybean” and also spent time as a head coach for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. Kobe has a nickname just like his father—the self-proclaimed “Black Mamba”—and won multiple championships with the Los Angeles Lakers wnhile establishing himself as one of the best players in a generation.
Prince Fielder and Cecil Fielder
Cecil Fielder started his baseball career in the 1980s and during his time in the majors, Prince was a constant presence in the clubhouse. Prince literally followed his father's footsteps into baseball and the two share a similar skillset—they both hit the ball very hard. Cecil had over 300 home runs during his career and Prince has developed into one of the best power hitters in the league.
Luke Walton and Bill Walton
Bill Walton put together a Hall of Fame career while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Boston Celtics in the NBA. Bill had a standout run with the UCLA Bruins under legendary head coach John Wooden before being the first pick in the NBA draft, while Luke went to Arizona and was a second round pick for the Los Angeles Lakers. Luke won two championships with the team—making the two the first father-son duo to have won multiple NBA titles. The younger Walton was hired to be the head coach of the Lakers after helping the Warriors start 39–4 during their record-setting 2015-16 regular season while Steve Kerr was out with a back injury.
Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan, and Buddy Ryan
Buddy Ryan spent over 30 years coaching in the NFL and both his sons have followed his footsteps into the profession. The elder Ryan helped the 1985 Chicago Bears win the Super Bowl as the defensive coordinator before serving as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Rex won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens before becoming the head coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Rob won Super Bowl rings as an assistant coach for the New England Patriots and served as defensive coordinator for a number of teams, including the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns.
Austin Rivers and Doc Rivers
Doc previously played in the NBA for four different teams, including the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks, during his decade-plus career in the league. The elder Rivers then made the transition into into head coaching—winning a championship with the Boston Celtics before taking over the Los Angeles Clippers. Austin went to Duke University before being drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans, developing into a solid role player in the pros. The younger Rivers was traded to the Clippers in January 2016, making him the first player in NBA history to play for his father.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Rocky Johnson
Dwayne Johnson has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but before dominating the big screen, “The Rock” dominated the WWE. Johnson followed in his father’s footsteps in his first profession—Rocky Johnson was also a pro wrestler who competed in the National Wrestling Alliance and World Wrestling Federation. The younger Johnson’s nickname was inspired by his father and now he is a bonafide movie star and basically a brand all his own.
Chris Pine and Robert Pine
Chris Pine comes from a family of actors—his father Robert was an actor who was on CHiPs as Sergeant Joseph Getraer, while his mother and grandmother also were in the acting business. Pine has become a very successful actor in Hollywood with films like Star Trek, Star Trek: Beyond, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Into the Woods, and Unstoppable under his belt.
Vin Diesel and Irving H. Vincent
Vin Diesel’s step-father was in the entertainment business as an acting instructor and theater manager, and now his stepson is one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood. Diesel has turned The Fast and the Furious series into a billion-dollar franchise and has starred in other major films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Riddick, Saving Private Ryan, and Boiler Room.
Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Downey, Sr.
Robert Downey, Jr. has followed in the footsteps of his actor and filmmaker father, becoming a major movie star since starting his professional acting career. The elder Downey made low-budget, independent films as a director and writer, while the younger Downey started off as part of the cast of Saturday Night Live and was a member of the so-called “Brat Pack” in the the 1980s. Downey has been nominated for an Academy Award two times for his performances in Chaplin and Tropic Thunder, and is now one of the biggest stars in the world after appearing in films like Iron Man, The Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, and the Sherlock Holmes series.
Jaden Smith and Will Smith
Will Smith is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet and his son Jaden has already followed his father’s footsteps into the business. The elder Smith started acting at a young age and appeared in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air after breaking into the business as a rapper. Smith has starred in major films like Men in Black, Ali, Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Bad Boys, and Suicide Squad. Jaden is in the acting business as well and has starred in films alongside his father, including The Pursuit of Happyness, and After Earth.
Clint Eastwood and Scott Eastwood
Clint Eastwood has been in the entertainment industry for over five decades as an actor, writer, director and producer. Eastwood has won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture and is known for films like Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, and Dirty Harry. The younger Eastwood is paving his own path to stardom despite having an Oscar-winning father—Scott is set to appear in films like Live by Night, Fast 8, and Suicide Squad.
Kurt Russell and Bing Russell
Kurt followed in the footsteps of his actor father Bing Russell, who appeared in Bonanza, The Magnificent Seven, The Andy Griffith Show, The Twilight Zone, along with many other television shows and films through his career. Kurt started off as a child actor before breaking out as a film star in movies like Escape from New York, Silkwood, and The Thing.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Stephen Gyllenhaal
The elder Gyllenhaal is a director who has worked on a number of independent films and television shows, including Twin Peaks, Rectify, Army Wives, and Blue Bloods. The younger Gyllenhaal has been acting since he was a child and first appeared in films like City Slickers and October Sky. Gyllenhaal graduated to more serious fare like Brokeback Mountain, Nightcrawler, Brothers, Zodiac, and End of Watch later in his career—earning critical acclaim in the process.
James Caan and Scott Caan
The elder Caan has had a legendary acting career that includes roles in films like The Godfather, Thief,Brian’s Song, The Gambler, and Funny Lady. The younger Caan followed his father into the profession, starring in shows like Entourage and Hawaii Five-0 along with films like Boiler Room, Enemy of the State as well as Ocean's Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen.
Alexander Skarsgård and Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan has carved out a career as a character actor in a number of big movies, including The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Thor, The Avengers, and Good Will Hunting. His son Alexander is building a career of his own, starring in action movies like The Legend of Tarzan and Battleship along with other dramatic films like The Giver, Melancholia, and The East.
Will Ferrell and Roy Lee Ferrell, Jr.
Will Ferrell has become a dominant force in Hollywood over his career and while he didn’t exactly follow in his father’s footsteps, he ended up in a similar industry—Ferrell’s father Roy Lee Ferrell, Jr. was a musician with The Righteous Brothers. Ferrell has had some musical moments during the course of his career, including in Saturday Night Live, Step Brothers, and Elf, but his career has of course been focused on comedy. Ferrell has produced and starred in a number of major projects over the years and is one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood.
Jeremy Piven and Byrne Piven
Jeremy’s father Byrne Piven was a stage actor and director who co-founded the Playwrights Theatre Club—giving the younger Piven quite the pedigree as he found his own acting career. Jeremy’s most well-known role is the foul-mouthed agent Ari Gold on Entourage, but he has had a prolific career in film and television apart from that character. Jeremy has won three Emmy awards and one Golden Globe for his portrayl of Gold. Piven is longtime friends with actor John Cusack and has appeared in Heat, Seinfeld, Grosse Pointe Blank, Black Hawk Down, The Larry Sanders Show, and Mr. Selfridge through his career.