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Dear old Dad: Blazer Fathers and Sons

More and more children of professional athletes are playing in the association every year. Take a look at some of the dynamic father/son duos with connections to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

After 24 years of marriage, poor Mr. Team Mom is used to me missing birthdays, anniversaries, and most major holidays. Like Father's Day, which I spent working on the 2015 NBA Draft Bingo. I still feel kinda crappy for not really doing much to thank him on his special day for being super dad to our three boys. So this post is for him and for anyone else who wants to celebrate fathers and sons even though the official Hallmark holiday has passed.

Blazer dad

Chris Kaman became a father for the first time in December when he and his wife welcomed baby Barrett Kaman.

15 father/son combos with Blazer connections

My primary source was this list of Second Generation NBA Players. I checked all the fathers and sons (and grandfathers!) to the best of my ability to see if they had ever worn a Blazer jersey. Of the 71 families with sons or grandsons who have played in the NBA, I found 17 with connections to Rip City. To make this list, either the father (grandfather) or son must have played or coached the Trail Blazers.

Blazers whose fathers played in the NBA

Gerald Henderson, Sr. and Gerald Henderson, Jr. (2015-)
One of our newest Blazers, Gerald Henderson, also shares a name and a profession with his father. Gerald Henderson Sr. enjoyed a 13-year career playing for a variety of teams including Boston, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit and Houston. He won 3 championships: 2 with the Boston Celtics (1981 and 1984) and one with Detroit (who defeated the Trail Blazers in 1990). The NBA put together a nice little highlight reel and interview of the two Hendersons.

Terry Davis and Ed Davis (2015-)
Terry Davis was undrafted when he entered the league in 1989. He played for 10 seasons with Miami, Dallas, Washington and Denver. While playing for the Wizards, he was the first person to score a basket at the MCI Center (Now Verizon Center). Son Ed entered the league in 2010 as the 13th overall pick by Toronto. He also played with Memphis and the Los Angeles Lakers before agreeing to sign with the Trail Blazers in this summer.

Wes Matthews and Wesley Matthews (2010-2015)
Basketball fans in Madison, Wisconsin all knew Wes Matthews Sr. as the charismatic star of Badger Basketball, but by the time Matthews Jr. was growing up, his father was playing 1600 miles away, a Laker. In a candid 2014 interview with Chris Haynes, Wesley talks about growing up with this gap between them and how they are working on building a new relationship, as grown men.

Wes Sr's career lasted for 9 years, spending time in Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles, with whom he won 2 championships.

Jim Paxson, Sr. and Jim Paxson. Jr. (1979-1988)
Jim Paxson Sr. is the father of Jim Jr. and John Paxson. He played for two seasons in the NBA with the Minneapolis Lakers and the Cincinnati Royals. Jim Jr. played for Portland from 1979-1988 and was a 2-time All-Star. He served as an executive with the Blazers and General Manager for the Cavaliers. Jim Jr. and John now work together for the Chicago Bulls.

Derek Smith and Nolan Smith (2011-2013)
Derek Smith, father of former Trail Blazer Nolan Smith, won the NCAA Championship in 1980 with the Louisville Cardinals. Derek played in the NBA from 1982-1991 with teams including Golden State, the Clippers, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Boston. He was an assistant coach for the Washington Bullets.

Nolan was drafted 21st overall by the Trail Blazers in 2011. More recently he has played in the Croatian league and the NBA D-League.

Tragically, Derek died of a massive heart attack at age of only 35 while on a cruise with Washington Season ticket holders. His life was cut too short, but he lives on in his son and in a Louisville legend; Derek Smith popularized the term "high-five":

"It will forever be recorded in etymology books that the late University of Louisville basketball player Derek Smith popularized, if not coined, the term "high five" during the Cards 1979-80 championship season. Whereas the gesture itself started decades before, the origin of the phrase — says none other than the Oxford English Dictionary — took hold in 1980 and found its first print use in an October 1980 issue of Maclean's Magazine. Smith, it should be noted, did take credit for inventing the language."

Louisville Magazine, Jack Welch, December 2007

Ernie Vandeweghe and Kiki Vandeweghe (1984-1989)
Ernie Vandeweghe was in the Air Force, played in the NBA, and was married to Miss America. He played his whole career with the Knicks (1949-1956), during which time Vandeweghe was also attending medical school at Columbia University. You can just sit there and think about that for a minute. I'll wait.

All 4 of his children became world-class athletes including Kiki who played for the Blazers from 1984-1989. Kiki made the playoffs 12 of the 13 years he played in the league although he never won a championship. He was a 2-time All Star. He is currently Vice President of Basketball Operations with the NBA.

Sidney Green and Taurean Green (2007-2008)
Sidney Green's 10-year NBA career included stops in Chicago, Detroit, New York, Orlando, San Antonio and Charlotte. Taurean Green was drafted 51st overall by the Trail Blazers in 2007. He won back-to-back NCAA Division I championships with the Florida Gators in 2006 and 2007. He now plays in the European League.

Earle Higgins and Sean Higgins (1997)
Earle Higgins played for the ABA Indiana Pacers in the 1970-71 season. Sean Higgins played for the Trail Blazers in 1997. He was a member of the Michigan team that won the National Championship in 1989.

Blazers whose sons played in the NBA

Mike Dunleavy Sr. (1997-2001 Coach) and Mike Junior
Mike Dunleavy Sr. coached the Trail Blazers from 1997-2001. In 1999 he was named Coach of the Year. He played in the league from 1976-1990. He was on the Philadelphia 76rs team that lost to Portland in the NBA Championship in 1977. Mike Jr. played for Jesuit High School in Portland while his dad was a coach, leading the team to the 4A state championship in 1999. He won an NCAA National Championship with Duke in 2001. He has been in the NBA since 2002, playing for Golden State, Indiana, Milwaukee and Chicago.

Mychal Thompson (1978-1986) and Klay Thompson
Mychal Thompson was chosen by the Blazers as the first overall pick in the 1978 draft. He was the first person not born in the US selected as the number one pick. A movie about his life, called "The Trailblazer" ironically debuted in Los Angeles. Okay, maybe it wasn't really ironic, as LA is where he now makes his home. But a little. Son Klay, of course, is a member of the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.

Harvey Grant (1993-1996) and Jerami and Jerian Grant
Harvey Grant and twin brother Horace were popular players in the 1990s. Horace earned 4 rings with the Chicago Bulls. Harvey, who played with the Trail Blazers from 1993-1996 has 4 sons, 2 of whom are current NBA players. Jerian was selected 19th by the Washington Wizards and Jerami plays for Philadelphia.

An #EverydayDad video from the Players Association showcases Jerian and Jerami with their father.

Ron Brewer (1978-1981) and Ronnie Brewer
The Blazers selected Ron Brewer in the first round of the 1978 draft. He was selected for the 78-79 All Rookie First Team. Ronnie Brewer has played in the NBA since 2006.

LeRoy Ellis (1970-71) and LeRon Ellis
LeRoy Ellis started his NBA career in 1962 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was chosen by the Trail Blazers in the 1970 expansion draft and started in the first Trail Blazer game. He was a member of the 1971-72 Laker team that won a then-league record 69 games. The next year he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers who lost a league-record 73 games.

The Ellis family traveled the country for most of LeRoy's NBA career before settling in Portland. LeRon attended high school in Portland (Parkrose High School) before moving to Southern California. LeRon was the 22nd pick in the 1991 draft. He played with the Clippers, Charlotte and Miami, but most of his career was overseas. He retired in 2002.

Bill Walton (1974-1978) and Luke Walton
Bill Walton played with the Trail Blazers from 1974-1978. He was the MVP of the NBA Finals in 1977, the year we won our first Championship. Although plagued by a series of injuries, Walton still managed to be the only player in NBA history to win NBA Finals MVP, Sixth Man Award, and regular season MVP. Son Luke Walton enjoyed a 10-year NBA career, the majority of it with the Lakers with whom he won 2 NBA Championships. He is currently an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

Ed Manning (1970-1971) and Danny Manning
Ed Manning played for the 1970-71 Trail Blazers along with fellow NBA father LeRoy Ellis. He played for a total of 11 years in the NBA. Danny Manning was the number one overall draft pick and played for 15 seasons in the NBA from 1988-2003. Both father and son were affiliated with the University of Kansas, father as coach and son an assistant of the 2008 NCAA Championship team. He is now head coach at Wake Forest.


Ronnie Shavlik and Shavlik Randolph
Ronnie Dean Shavlik played for the New York Knicks from 1956-1958. Undrafted in 2005, grandson Shavlik Randolph has bounced around the league for 10 years including multiple short contracts with the Blazers in 2009 to help cover for injuries that the team suffered. the 2009-10 edition of the Blazers was a gut-wrenching season we would all like to forget that saw injuries to Patty Mills, Jeff Ayers, Nicolas Batum, Travis Outlaw, Greg Oden, Coach Nate McMillan (who ruptured his achilles scrimmaging with the team because they were so short on players), Rudy Fernandez, Joel Przybilla and Brandon Roy.

Fathers and Daughters

While none of them are associated with the Trail Blazers, there are three father/daughter combinations in the NBA/WNBA: Karl Malone and Cheryl Ford, Harvey and Tamika Catchings, and Nate and Natalie Williams.