There have been some great brother acts in the history of sports, proving that athleticism runs in the blood.
Peyton and Eli Manning are but two fine examples of siblings that have achieved great heights.
Tiny Viking, Alberta was home to the Sutter brothers of hockey fame (all six of ’em!), which is an extreme example of successful familial sporting endeavors.
Another was the DiMaggio brothers — Joe, Dom, and Vince — who left their own great marks on the baseball world. The lists go on and on, where family and sport ties are concerned.
Not as popular, however, are those brother acts where lesser-knowns struggle in the massive shadow of their superstar siblings. Did you know that Boston Red Sox all-star infielder Nomar Garciaparra had a brother Michael who played pro ball?
We’ll bet not.
The younger Michael was drafted in the first round (36th overall) by the Seattle Mariners in the 2001 draft, but didn’t advance past AAA ball. He was out of baseball after 2010.
Here are 20 other brothers who failed to attain the lofty heights of their more famous siblings.
20. Zoran Dragic (Goran’s Brother)
There was just a little bit too much cuteness in the Dragic household in 1989. Just three years earlier, the Dragic family of Ljubljana, Slovenia welcomed future NBA All-Star Goran into the world. Then, they brought in a little brother with a rhyming name, Zoran. Goran started his pro career at 17 in Slovenia and then entered the NBA draft in 2008. Picked 45th overall by San Antonio, it took Goran a while to catch on, but he did and is currently a starting point/shooting guard with Miami, where he was an All-Star for the first time this season. Zoran started out the same way but went undrafted and played D-League with Houston in 2012. In September of 2014 Zoran signed a free agent deal with Phoenix, where he would play six games alongside his brother. Interestingly, the two were traded together to Miami, where he played the last 10 games of his 16-game NBA career. Zoran now plays professionally in Turkey.
19. Digao (Kaka’s Brother)
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite got an interesting nickname from his little brother Rodrigo, aka Digao, who couldn’t pronounce his name — thus shortened to the world renowned “Kaka.” The two Brazilian footballers would go on to become professionals, but only Kaka would be a household name off the South American continent. Now retired, the striking midfielder scored 149 goals in 462 games with big clubs like Milan and Real Madrid. He also had another 29 markers in 92 international caps for his home country. His celebrated career included Serie A Footballer of the Year (twice), a Ballon D’Or (2007) and World Footballer of the Year (2007). Digao, a center back, was a decent footballer in his own way, appeared in just one game with Milan, spending most of his 38-game career on loan to second-tier clubs, scoring no goals.
18. Jordan Rodgers (Aaron’s Brother)
Jordan’s biggest claim to fame wasn’t his NFL career as a practice squad, third/fourth string quarterback. Nope, it was being picked the “winner” of season 12 of “The Bachelorette” by JoJo Fletcher in 2016. As of 2018, Aaron’s little brother, who kept alluding to his famous brother on the reality show, was still engaged to JoJo. On the football side, Aaron has a Super Bowl ring, two NFL MVP awards, six Pro Bowl nominations, was TD pass leader in 2016 and holds numerous NFL records. He also currently dates race car driver Danica Patrick and previously dated actress Olivia Munn. Jordan originally quarterbacked at Vanderbilt University for two seasons (2011-12), throwing for 4,063 yards in 25 games, along with 24 TDs and 15 INTs. He wasn’t drafted and would spend time on the practice squads of Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Miami, before trying his hand at the CFL, where he quit after a brief tryout with the B.C. Lions.
17. Jeremy Giambi (Jason’s Brother)
At 6’3″ and well over 200 lbs. Jason Giambi was a heck of a lot bigger than little brother Jeremy, who was just 6’0″ and less than 200 lbs. The two grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and played baseball together in high school. From there, Jason went to college and was drafted by Oakland in 1992 (second round). He debuted with the A’s in 1995 and in 1996 had the first of 11 seasons with at least 20 homers. Jason was a five-time All-Star and was the 2000 American League MVP with Oakland, hitting .333 with a career high 43 homers and 137 RBI. Jeremy, on the other hand, was taken in the sixth round of the 1996 draft by Kansas City and began his career with the Royals in 1998. While he did hit 52 big league homers, Jeremy was strictly a journeyman, having short stints with K.C., Oakland, Philadelphia and Boston. He played 510 big league games to his brother’s 2,260 and had less than one eighth Jason’s 440 homer total. What they do have in common was getting caught up in PED use scandals, as well as the fact neither will likely be in the Hall of Fame.
16. Mychel Thompson (Klay’s Brother)
There are actually three sporting siblings who were sired by former NBA two-time champion Mychal Thompson. Klay and Mychel are basketball players, while Trayce is a young outfielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers system. For point of comparison, though, we’ll leave Trayce out of this one. As we know, Klay is a sharpshooting four-time All-Star and two-time champion with the Golden State Warriors. He currently leads the NBA in three-point shooting efficiency at 44.8 percent and has a lifetime average of 42.2. He’s been a fixture in the Bay Area since being drafted 11th overall out of Washington State in 2011. Mychel, who is a year and a half older, never got much of an opportunity after a pretty good NCAA career at Pepperdine. Undrafted in 2011, he signed with Cleveland and the sum total of his NBA experience was five games with the Cavs in 2011-12, where he averaged 3.6 points per game and shot 36.4 percent from three-point territory. After that, he was strictly D-League material, where he and Seth Curry were the “Splash Brothers” of that league, like their brothers Stephen and Klay were with the Dubs.
15. Chris, Gordon, Glenn And Dan Gronkowski (Rob’s Brothers)
It must have been something being at the Gronkowski dinner table when the five brother were growing up — much less the sports fields of suburban Buffalo, New York. Rob, one of the youngest of five Gronkowski brothers who include Dan, Gordie, Glenn and Chris, must have gotten his fair share of food, since he’s gone on to be a four-time All-Pro tight end and two-time Super Bowl winning football bon vivant. As for the others, three of them played football, while Gord, the oldest, chose baseball. Dan, also a tight end, appeared in 21 games in the NFL after being drafted 255th overall by Detroit in 2009. He had nine catches for 69 yards. Chris, a running back, got in 35 games with Dallas, Indianapolis and Denver, rushing for 17 yards and catching eight passes for 46 yards and a TD. The youngest, Glenn, is a fullback and has appeared in one game for Buffalo in 2016. Gord, the baseball player, was drafted in the 49th round of the 2006 MLB draft by the Angels and never got higher than A Ball.
14. Jared Staal (Brother To Eric, Marc And Jordan)
Playing hockey with three older brothers could not have been easy for Jared Staal, especially not in the blue collar town of Thunder Bay, Ontario. All four Staal brothers went from minor hockey in northern Ontario to success in the Ontario Hockey League and all were first round NHL picks, except for Jared, who went in the second round, 49th overall, to Phoenix in 2008. To date Eric and Jordan have each one a Stanley Cup and all three older brothers are still enjoying their lengthy NHL careers. Unfortunately for Jared, his career stalled in the minor leagues as he ended up playing 232 games in the AHL with San Antonio, Charlotte and Providence. Jared also skated in 97 ECHL games with the Florida Everblades and South Carolina Stingrays. He got in two lone NHL games with Carolina in 2012-13 and was last seen playing professional hockey with the Edinburgh Capitals of the Elite Ice Hockey League in the UK.
13. Cooper Manning (Peyton and Eli’s Brother)
Not many people may know this, but former NFL QB and patriarch Archie Manning has three sons who are or who have played football. Of course, the path to the Hall of Fame is paved with gold for Peyton and to a lesser degree for Eli, however, older brother Cooper no doubt had a hand in the early household competition to see who could excel at their Dad’s chosen game. Cooper was actually a wide receiver who caught passes as a high school senior from brother Peyton, who would have been a sophomore. Highly ranked out of Louisiana high school football, Cooper signed with Mississippi University, his father’s alma mater. But, before his first season even began, Cooper was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which ended his fledgling career. Brother Peyton wore his big brother’s number, 18, in the NFL to honor him. Cooper worked in football TV for a while and now works for an investment firm.
12. Seth Curry (Steph’s Brother)
As of this writing, Steph Curry‘s little brother Seth is still trying to stick at the NBA level and it will be a tough row to hoe as he has missed the entire 2017-18 season with a fractured tibia that requires surgery. Undrafted in 2013 out of Duke, former NBAer Dell’s youngest son signed a free agent deal with Golden State in August of that year. He only played D-League ball in the Dubs’ system before bouncing around with Memphis, Cleveland and Phoenix, where he played four games in two seasons. Then, in 2015-16, he got a chance to play point guard for Sacramento, starting nine of 44 games and recording 6.8 points per game. Last year, Seth signed with Dallas and had his most complete season yet, starting 42 of 70 games for the Mavericks. While he’s not near as prolific as Steph, Seth shot 42.5 percent from three-point range last season and scored 12.8 points per game.
11. Jordan Palmer (Carson’s brother)
Carson has had his ups and downs as a starter after being the first pick overall in the 2003 NFL draft by Cincinnati. But he has played in two Pro Bowls and set multiple Bengal records before going to Oakland and now Arizona. His passer rating in 2017 was around his career average of 87.9 (84.4) and the three-time Pro Bowler led the Cards to a 3-4 record in just seven games. Younger brother Jordan, however, bounced around the NFL after being drafted in the sixth round by Washington in 2007. Other than backing up his brother for a year in Cincinnati (2008), Palmer had brief stints with Jacksonville, Chicago, Buffalo and Tennessee. His career stats read 11 for 18 in pass attempts, with 66 yards passing, no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He is now a quarterback coach to Christian Hackenberg.
10. Ozzie Canseco (Jose’s brother)
Of the many brother acts in sports, few have been identical twins. The Sedin twins of the Vancouver Canucks are a good example, and both have been wildly successful. The other set that comes to mind, Jose and Ozzie Canseco, not so much. Jose was one half of the famous bash brothers with Mark McGwire in Oakland and hit 462 homers in his 17-season Major League career. If you take away the controversy surrounding PED abuse, he had Hall of Fame worthy stats. Ozzie, though, was an identical to his famous brother in looks only. He played in all of 24 Major League games with Oakland and St. Louis and never once hit a big fly. He did set the record for homers (48) in the Atlantic League in 2000 with the Newark Bears, so he wasn’t a total washout. Ozzie last played pro ball, at the age of 49, for Brownsville of the independent United League Baseball loop in 2014.
9. Brian Sakic (Joe’s brother)
Born two years apart in Burnaby, B.C., older brother Joe and younger brother Brian are about the same height and weight. Both had excellent junior careers in the Western Hockey League and played on the Swift Current Broncos together in 1987-88. That’s where the similarities end. Joe, drafted 15th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1987, scored 625 goals and 1,641 points with Quebec and Colorado, won two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe and an Olympic Gold medal (2002). He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2013. Brian wasn’t a wilting daisy by any means, as he holds the record for assists (405) and points (591) in the WHL and had his number retired by the Tri-City Americans. He did not, however, ever play in the NHL, instead putting in seven productive seasons in lower level minor league hockey (mostly with the Flint Generals of the Colonial and United Hockey Leagues).
8. Taylor Griffin (Blake’s brother)
This is a reverse case of living in a shadow, only Blake came well out of the one cast by his older brother Taylor. As fate would have it, the two sibs were drafted in the same year (2009) and both out of the University of Oklahoma. Blake was a 20-year-old sophomore phenom and was drafted first overall by the LA Clippers. Taylor was a 23-year-old senior and went 48th overall to Phoenix. Taylor recorded a career high 9.6 points per game with the Sooners in his senior season, while Blake averaged a stellar 22.7 PPG and 14.4 rebounds as a sophomore. Blake made an immediate impact his first NBA season, being named to the All-Rookie team for the 2010-11 campaign and has led the Clippers and now the Detroit Piston in many categories in his eight season career. Taylor didn’t have as much luck, getting into just eight games with Phoenix during the 2009-10 campaign and scoring 1.3 points per game. He bounced around the D-league for a while and was last seen playing second tier basketball in Italy.
7. Stephane Roy (Patrick’s brother)
Patrick Roy didn’t just cast a shadow over his younger brother Stephane, he was more of a total eclipse. Roy became arguably one of the best goaltenders ever in the NHL, racking up 551 wins (with Montreal and Colorado), 66 shutouts, three Conn Smythe trophies, four Stanley Cups, three Vezina Trophies and a Hall of Fame induction in 2006. He was most recently the head coach of the Avalanche, stepping down from the position in August of 2016. Stephane opted to play forward and was a good player in his own right. He was a fixture for the Canadian International (Olympic) team for three years in the early 1990’s, after a pretty good junior career with Chicoutimi and Granby of the QMJHL. Drafted 51st overall by the Minnesota North Starts in 1985, Stephane would play only 12 games in the bigs though, all with Minnesota and scoring one goal.
6. Dan McGwire (Mark’s brother)
Maybe, like big brother Mark, Dan McGwire should have played baseball. At 6’8″, the former NFL quarterback might have made a heck of a pitcher. Having picked the gridiron, Dan would become one of the biggest first round busts ever. He was drafted 16th overall by Seattle in 1991 (the first QB selected, ahead of Brett Favre no less) after a standout career at San Diego State. But he failed to be a factor in five seasons, completing 74 of 148 passes for 745 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions in 13 games with Seattle and Miami and was out of football by 1995. Oh, and Mark, well he went on to hit 583 homers in the bigs, 70 in the magical 1998 season when he and Sammy Sosa traded bombs. But his induction into Cooperstown has been delayed — maybe even nullified — by a big asterisk (PEDs) that hangs over his accomplishments.
5. Alain Lemieux (Mario’s brother)
During his illustrious Hall of Fame NHL career, Mario was known as Mario ‘Le Magnifique’. Not sure what moniker they would have given older brother Alain, who played the bulk of his career in the minor leagues. Maybe Alain ‘Le Moyenne’ (average)? Both Lemieux brothers starred in junior hockey, with Alain scoring 166 points (68 games) his final year with Chicoutimi of the Quebec League. He would score 72 points in 119 NHL games and played with his younger brother in his last NHL game during the 1986-87 season. Mario made his brother’s junior scoring feats look amateurish, setting league records for goals (133) and points (282) with Laval in 1983-84. Oh yah, he also won two Stanley Cups, three Hart trophies, six Art Ross trophies (scoring), an Olympic Gold medal and went into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
4. Marcus Vick (Michael’s brother)
Marcus and older brother Michael have a couple things in common. They both played quarterback at Virginia Tech and both have spent considerable time in jail. After that, there are no more comparisons. Marcus followed his brother to VT but racked up more misdemeanor charges and suspensions than school passing records (he missed the whole 2004 VT season after being suspended). He appeared briefly in one NFL game for the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and has been in and out of trouble ever since. The elder Michael, picked first overall by Atlanta in 2001, at least waited until he was pro to get into trouble and go to prison. His career, while spotty, has seen flashes of the brilliance he was drafted for, earning four Pro Bowl nominations. After serving time in prison, Vick played until 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
3. Craig Griffey (Ken Jr.’s brother)
In baseball terms, the Griffey name denotes royalty. Ken Griffey Sr. enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the majors and was an integral part of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” that won back to back titles in 1975 and ’76. His namesake, Ken Jr., was even more accomplished player, hitting 630 homers in a 23-season Hall of Fame career (he was inducted in 2016). The Kens even got to play together, with Seattle in 1990 and ’91. Younger brother Craig, though, wasn’t as gifted athletically as his famous sibling and wouldn’t be drafted until the 42nd round by Seattle in 1991. He never did get a big league at bat, making it as far as Seattle’s AAA team in Tacoma.
2. Eddie Bird (Larry’s brother)
The decade in age difference isn’t the only chasm between NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird and little brother Eddie. While they both starred at Indiana State University (Larry is the all-time scoring leader with 2,850 points and Eddie is seventh with 1,555), only Larry would go on to NBA superstardom. The “Hick from French Lick” would win three titles in 13 seasons with Boston, along with three MVP awards, nine first team All-Star awards, and later honored with enshrinement in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Eddie, who averaged 14.0 points in his 111 game collegiate career with the Sycamores, tried to catch on with Sacramento in 1991 but failed to make the cut.
1. Keith and Brent Gretzky (Wayne’s brothers)
Wayne Gretzky’s shoes were so big to fill, even two hockey-playing brothers couldn’t do it. The world knows everything about Wayne’s exploits. The scoring records, the Stanley Cups, the MVP awards, his actress wife, and social media butterfly daughter. As for Keith and Brent, well, they are known mostly for being The Great One’s younger siblings. Keith, who is six years Wayne’s junior, had a decent junior career and was selected 56th overall by Buffalo in 1985. He never played a game in the NHL. Brent, 11 years younger than Wayne, actually had a cup of coffee in the bigs, playing in 13 games with Tampa Bay, scoring a goal and two assists.