Sports Star Kids Who Hit The Genetics Jackpot

Being a brilliant athlete takes self-discipline, dedication, and the ability to be a team player, but some sports stars have that something extra special thanks to an athletic gene passed down from their parents.

Brothers and former NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning had an advantage by having their father, Archie Manning, star as an NFL quarterback for 13 seasons. Peyton and Eli grew up playing football (as well as their eldest brother Cooper Manning, who had to quit playing after he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis), and made their way into the National Football League, winning numerous awards, with both brother's having surpassing their father's legacy by not just making it to the Super Bowl, but winning them, too. At his Hall of Fame Speech in April 2021, Peyton was given the prestigious award by his dad and touchingly shared, "My favorite quarterback. My hero. My role model. My dad." 

From making it to the NBA, the NFL, and even the Olympic games, the athletes below might have felt the pressure of living up to their parents' names, but they managed to hold their own. Some of these athletes are only just getting in the game, while others have been making history and breaking records in their sport. These sports star kids are making their parents proud but they are definitely thanking them for giving them that athletic gene they needed to succeed.

LeBron 'Bronny' James Jr. is following in his dad's footsteps

LeBron James is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, and his eldest, LeBron "Bronny" James Jr., is gearing up for that torch pass. As of this writing, Bronny is a high school student who will become a senior at Sierra Canyon, a private school in Los Angeles, during the 2022-2023 season, per The Sporting News

According to ESPN's recruiting program, if the point guard decides to go to college and play for the NCAA, he'll have plenty of offers with schools like North Carolina, Kentucky, and Duke all interested in the young star. By the age of 10, Bronny was already being scouted — and his dad was not on board. The NBA star told CBS Detroit's Mike Sullivan, "It should be a violation, you shouldn't be recruiting 10-year-old kids." 

Bronny won't be eligible for the NBA draft until 2024, but when he is, his father told The Athletic that he plans to end his career playing with his son, wherever that may be. "I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year," he said. "It's not about the money at that point." LeBron definitely doesn't have to worry about that after being officially named a billionaire in June 2022, per Forbes. And, how cool would it be to watch him play ball with his son? 

Will Romeo Beckham score winning goals like his dad?

Romeo Beckham, the son of soccer star David Beckham and singer turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham is the spitting image of his star-studded parents. What's more, the teen happens to be following his father's lead — and no, we're not talking about their matching bleached-blond 'dos. Rather, he's started playing professional soccer. 

As it turns out, footy isn't the only sport that Romeo has given a go; for some time, he was serious about tennis. Eventually, Romeo pivoted away from tennis and went all in on soccer. In September 2021, ESPN reported that Romeo joined Fort Lauderdale CF, now known as Inter Miami CF II, a soccer club part of MLS Next Pro, and owned by his father's club Inter Miami FC.

Phil Neville, the coach of Inter Miami, the sister team of Inter Miami CF II, shared his thoughts on Romeo's first time out on the field. "He has got a lot of pressure and expectations on his shoulders, but what he has got is he has got his feet firmly on the ground," Neville shared, per Fox SportsVictoria and David are also parents to Brooklyn, Harper, and Cruz Beckham. 

Scotty Pippen Jr. joined the NBA

Scottie Pippen played 17 seasons with the NBA with most of his career spent with the Chicago Bulls from 1987 to 1998. Pippen, who played alongside NBA legend Michael Jordan, won six NBA championships with the Bulls throughout the '90s. Pippen's eldest son, Scotty Pippen Jr., is now working toward achieving such greatness in the NBA. 

Scotty played basketball for the Vanderbilt Commodores for three years before signing a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in June 2022. He shared the exciting news on Twitter and wrote, "Dreams do come true. Let's get to work." According to People, Scotty was not selected during the 2022 NBA draft, with SI reporting that Scotty will likely play for the Lakers G League during the 2022-23 season before potentially making it on the Los Angeles Lakers' roster. 

Mom Larsa Pippen was overjoyed upon hearing the news of her son's future with the Lakers. On Instagram, "The Real Housewives of Miami" star shared a photo of Scotty and captioned it, "Congrats my love!!! You're going to your fav team. I couldn't be more proud of you."

Laila Ali became a boxing champ right away

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali once shared on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1972 that he did not want his children to throw on gloves and throw punches. Having not known how valuable an education was when he was a kid, the late Ali shared that he'd much rather have his kids hit the books than step inside the ring. However, one of his kids wouldn't listen to their famous father and would go on to have an impressive career in the world of boxing. 

The heavyweight champ's daughter Laila Ali entered the professional boxing world at the age of 21. Her victorious first match set the tone for the rest of her career: Laila would win all her matches, including winning a match against legendary boxer Joe Frazier's daughter Jacqui Frazier-Lyde in 2001. (Joe Frazier so happened to be the first boxer to defeat Laila's father.) Laila ended her boxing career in 2007 with a 24-0 record.

On her website Laila shared, "My father, the great Muhammad Ali, didn't even know I was boxing when I first started. It wasn't until I focused on my champion mindset, finding my confidence and strength to speak up, that I shared with him my passion for the sport. An undefeated record and 4 world titles later, I realized that truly taking care of your physical and mental health is how you become a champion." Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 in June 2016. 

Nastia Liukin's father was an Olympian

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, gymnast Nastia Liukin, a member of Team USA, became a five-time Olympic medalist. The athlete took home the gold medal for the women's all-around event at the age of 18, but retired shortly after when she did not qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Despite no longer showcasing her stunning moves on the floor and on the balance beam, she is a gymnastics legend who can thank her father for getting her into the tough sport. 

Nastia's parents are both athletes who inspired her to become a gymnast. According to Britannica, her mother, Anna Kotchneva, is a rhythmic gymnastics champ, while her father, Valeri Liukin, is a four-time Olympic medalist. Winning the Olympic gold in 2008 meant everything to Nastia and her parents, especially her father, who lost the gold in the men's all-around final during his Olympic run. She told ABC News, "To share that Olympic gold with him made all the difference in the world to me."

Nastia is working as an entrepreneur and started her own influencer business. On her website, the athlete shares ways to inspire women to achieve their dreams, as well as sharing health and wellness tips and updates on her latest fashion trends.

Shareef O'Neal hopes to forge his own path

Shaquille O'Neal is the proud father of six children, but his eldest son, Shareef O'Neal, is already making headlines after he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in June 2022. Even though he was not selected in the 2022 NBA draft, ABC News reported that the athlete will play for the NBA team's Summer League which will decide Shareef's future on the team. 

In a video conference, Shareef shared that his father, who is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, hasn't always been so sure about his kid starting down this road just yet. Having played for UCLA and later transferring to LSU, he said, "We kind of bump heads about this process. He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this." When asked about living up to his father's achievements in the NBA, Shareef said, "I went through some things that he didn't go through. He was the No. 1 pick in the draft. I kind of had to grind to get here. I had to grind a lot ... I don't really look to be in his shadow." 

Shraeef joined NBA legend Scottie Pippen's son Scotty Pippen Jr. when the pair were both signed by the Lakers, per People

Gina Carano's dad was in the NFL

Before Gina Carano became an actor and starred in action films like the "Fast and Furious: 6," "Deadpool," and "The Mandalorian," she was kicking a** in real life as an MMA fighter. From 2006 to 2009 Gina competed in EliteXC and Strikeforce where she went 7-1. As a top contender in women's MMA fighting, she was labeled the "face of women's MMA," even though she neglected that title, and her 2009 fight between MMA fighter Cris Cyborg would become the first-ever women's fight headlined at a major MMA event, per MMA Junkie

Although she has since switched up careers, Gina has a family background in sports. Her father, Glenn Carano, was a backup quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Per Stats Crew, he was drafted in the late '70s, and after seven seasons he left the team — and the whole league — to play in the United States Football League. He spent one season with the Pittsburgh Maulers. 

Gina definitely got her athletic genes from her dad. That said, Glenn admitted to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he has mixed feelings about her chosen sport. "As a father, I didn't enjoy watching her fight. But she's a great athlete, a great competitor and a great spirit," he shared.

The Rock is proud of Simone Johnson

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's daughter Simone Johnson is officially a part of her family's wrestling legacy, signing with the WWE in 2020. Although she has yet to make her first appearance in a WWE ring because of injuries, she is the company's first fourth-generation wrestler. Her father is, of course, The Rock, an eight-time WWE champion. Her grandfather Rocky Johnson and his tag team partner, Tony Atlas, were the first Black wrestlers to win a WWE (then WWF) championship. Her great-grandfather Peter Maivia was a WWF star in the 1970s and was a promoter for the NWA.

In February 2020, Johnson shared the news that she would start a career in the world of wrestling on Instagram, writing, "To the little girl who fell in love with wrestling & said 'this will be my life one day,' this is for you. I'm humbled, grateful & ready to work. Let's do this." In May 2020, Simone's father told Jimmy Fallon how proud he was of his daughter, stating, "It blows my mind. First of all, what an honor that my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps ... but she actually wants to create and blaze her own path, which is just so important."

According to Essentially Sports, fans will hopefully get to Simone in the ring soon after changing her name on her Twitter account to her wrestling persona, Ava Raine. 

Charlie Woods is a carbon copy of his dad

Charlie Woods is dad Tiger Woods' mini-me. Not only does Charlie resemble his professional golfer dad, he plays just like him, too. From his golf swing to his fist bump game, a video created by the PGA Tour shows just how identical father and son are. It was even shown to Tiger, who smiled and shared, "Two things that stick out: the timing of the twirls. and the pick up of the tee."

As of this writing, Tiger is tied with golfer Sam Snead for the most PGA wins in history. His son is just in his early stages of his golf career, but he's already making a name for himself. In August 2020, Charlie won a U.S. Kids Golf event and that same month, won the South Florida junior golf circuit at the age of 11. In December 2021, Tiger and his son entered the PNC Championship where they took second place behind John Daly and John Daly II. This was Tiger's big return to the course after getting into a serious car crash in February 2021, per CNN

In his "My Game" video series for Golf Digest, Tiger spoke about being on the course with his young son. "I've kept it competitive with his par, so it's been just an absolute blast to go out there and just be with him. It reminds me so much of me and my dad [growing up]," he shared. 

Stephen Curry's family is full of NBA stars

There's no question that Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry is one of the best shooters in NBA history. There are countless compilation videos of his incredible skills and basketball fans are just in awe at his talents on the court. In May 2022, Steph and his team won the NBA Championship, making it his fourth championship win with the Warriors. Although Steph probably knows just how good he is, he hasn't forgotten the man that helped him achieve all his success: his father, Dell Curry, who played in the NBA for 16 years and won the Sixth Man of The Year in 1994. 

Per the Daily Mail, the MVP told a crowd in 2018, "I saw my dad and how he carried himself as a professional and it helped me transition into the NBA." What's more, Del has always made an effort to foster his kids' talents. As the patriarch told Fatherly, "It's important as a father that you're flexible and open-minded, supportive of your child's interests." He also got into what an impact a parent's presence can have when it comes to helping children succeed. Dell not only roots for Stephen, but his other son, Seth Curry, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets

Trinity Rodman is making history in women's soccer

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman's son DJ Rodman is all about his dad's sport and as of this writing, is playing basketball for the Washington State Cougars for Washington State University. But he's not the only athlete in the family. Rodman's second-eldest, Trinity Rodman, didn't pick up a basketball like her dad or brother, but she did find a love for soccer. Oh, and she has already gone pro. 

At the age of 18, Trinity was drafted by the Washington Spirit in 2021, As NBC Sports noted at the time, she went from being the best high school forward to being the youngest person to land a spot in the National Women's Soccer League. Trinity and her team won the 2021 NWSL championship and she was awarded Rookie of the Year. It also doesn't hurt that she's the highest-paid player in the league, per ESPN

Although most people recognize her famous father, Trinity is finding her own path to success. She shared with ESPN, "People do know Trinity Rodman sometimes before Dennis Rodman now. That's a cool thing for me. I'm not trying to overcome what he accomplished, I just want to build my own story, and I think I'm doing a really good job."

Chase Elliott thanks his dad for his NASCAR success

Chase Elliott has become a fan-favorite in NASCAR. He's been awarded Most Popular Driver four years in a row and is a top driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, marking his 15th win in June 2022 when he won at the Nashville Superspeedway. His passion for racing is undeniable but it definitely had something to do with his genes. Chase's father, Bill Elliott, is a NASCAR Hall of Famer who had plenty of accomplishments. 

Bill Elliott competed mainly throughout the '80s and '90s and has won the Daytona 500 twice. His son will have to keep on racing if he wants to surpass his father's "Most Popular Driver" awards too, with his dad nabbing 16 of them. Understandably, Chase is proud of his pop. In an interview with the "Cut To It" podcast, "My dad was one of the stars of the show and I just thought that was just the absolute coolest thing ever. Those moments were the ones that I'm like, 'Dang, I want to do that.'" And when asked about his hopes for his own legacy, he said, "I think knowing the family history certainly pushes me to want to keep that family name around racing, because I think it belongs." 

Christian McCaffrey comes from a family of athletes

As the Panthers website notes, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has broken NFL records, and in 2019, he became the third player in NFL history to complete a season with over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards. He's a favorite among Fantasy Football players and when he's healthy, he's maybe the best running backs in the league. 

Christian's father, Ed McCaffrey, was drafted by the New York Giants in 1991, and won three Super Bowls, one with the San Francisco 49ers, and two with the Denver Broncos. He retired in 2004 after playing in the NFL for 13 seasons. His mother, Lisa McCaffrey, played soccer for Stanford University, the same school both Ed and their son Christian attended. And that's not all: Christian has three other siblings who are also big in sports. The eldest, Max McCaffrey, played in the NFL for three years, and, as of this writing, Dylan McCaffrey plays football for the Northern Colorado Bears, while the youngest brother, Luke McCaffrey, is a quarterback for the Rice Owls at Rice University.

Speaking with NFL 360, Ed shared how his sons learned the ins and outs of football at an early age just by being around him, his teammates, and the locker room. "They saw the work ethic, and they saw what it took to put a team together, and win a Super Bowl, and how players had to be unselfish, and had to work hard, and the expectations we had for each other," he said. 

Thaddeus Moss' dad is an NFL Hall of Famer

NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss was one proud father when his kid Thaddeus Moss was set to make his NFL debut with the Cincinnati Bengals during Week 12 of the 2021 season. Randy, who played 14 seasons with the league, became an NFL analyst with ESPN in 2016, rose from his seat during "Sunday NFL Countdown" to root for Thaddeus when the news was announced. Although he did not end up playing because of an injury, it was still a big moment for his father.

Thaddeus, who played for the Louisiana State University Tigers, went undrafted in the 2020 NFL draft, but was picked up by the Washington Commanders, per USA Today. After he was cut by the team, he was picked up by the Bengals in April 2021, with high hopes that he could showcase his skills. According to the Bengals website, as of February 2022, Thaddeus was placed on the offseason roster, which means it's uncertain if he'll make the active roster, but there's still a chance. 

Speaking about being his HOFer father, Thaddeus told reporters, "Having the last name that I have, a lot of people think that I was handed a lot of things or that I was given a lot of things, but that's actually the opposite. ... Whatever my NFL career is, whether that be one year, two, three, four, five to 10, you're going to have to respect it because I worked for everything. I wasn't given anything."