Fathers of the Best in Sports-Not a Coincidence
A few weeks ago I did a blog about the famous who were fatherless. My meaning was to tell anyone who is fatherless that you can still become something special as long as you put in the work. In this blog, I’m going to change the narrative and talk about 4 special people in sports and explain how each of these men had a special respect for their fathers and explains how important having them in their life, made then the men they are today.
These men are Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wayne Gretzky, Emmitt Smith, and Barry Bonds. What is so special about these men?
Well, Kareem is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time leader in assists and goals, Barry is the MLB’s all-time leader in home runs and Emmitt Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards.
So, how can this be possible that all of the greatest in their sports had a father around to guide and support them? The father’s presence should not continue to be ignored. Even if you study the next 2 on each list from each sport you would find that they too had a strong father presence in their lives. Check and see.
Let’s see some of the non-major sport and see if this trend continues:
Michael Phelps-a true superstar arguably the best swimmer of all-time: he didn’t have a strong relationship with his father and he did extremely well. But did he? He writes in an article that he struggled from this his entire life and he never told anyone about it, not even his mother.
Hear what a child says to his mother about how hard it was growing up without his father at this VIDEO!
Mark Spitz- if Phelps is not the greatest then Mark is. His dad was very instrumental in his career and he praises him for it.
Serena Williams-Dad in her life
Tiger Woods- Father in his life!!
Dale Earnhardt Jr-Dad in his life
Ken Griffey Jr-Dad in his life
Mike Tyson-No dad, major struggles in life
Jachai Polite-No dad, major struggle. The kid never played a game with the NY Jets in 2019, as a 3rd round pick.
And the list goes on. Whether they were best in their sport, those who had their fathers in their life appreciated them, those who didn’t struggle because of it.
Now back to my Big 4. All of these men had extraordinary respect for what their dads brought to the table. They are the best of the best and they did it with a father’s involvement. These fathers may have not been perfect but the mere presence of them being in their children’s lives made them who they are today. They were not only the best in their sport back then but they are all great people today. The importance of a father should not be overlooked.
I’m going to start with KAJ because he was my favorite sports figure of all-time. Some of his stats are impressive. Of course, as mentioned earlier, he is the all-time leading scorer in the NBA with 38,387 points. In addition, for his career, Kareem averaged 24.6 ppg, 11.2 RPG and 3.6 APG. In his first 6 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, he averaged 30.4 ppg and 15.5 RPG. He also was a 19x all-star, 6x NBA champ, 6 time MVP, 2x finals MVP, 11x all-defensive team, 15 All-NBA, 4x blk champ, and 2x scoring champ playing 20 seasons. Pretty impressive!
I say this because I’m that his father’s presence during his entire career, even though he was estranged from his family for a while because of his religious beliefs, he still says his father was an instrumental part of him being who he is.
Next, Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player to ever play the game. His stats prove it. He set 62 records during his 20-year career that ended in 1999. Today 61 of them still stand. The amount of goals and assist he has, compared to the next player, is unbelievable. There is no argument here about how great he was!
Gretzky speaks about how important having his dad around during his time as a child. His father instilled in him that he had to be the best and he made sure he was. Stories like this are everywhere but not much press is given to it.
We need to hear more stories like this especially when the son or daughter expresses it from their heart.
Next up is Barry Bonds and his relationship with his dad Bobby. First, his stats are off the charts but he has an asterisk next to his career, but what I saw a man was patience at the plate and could hit the ball anywhere inside or out of the park.
My point with Barry was that he always got a lot a slack about his career and how he was with the media, but the man was a great person.
His father was really hard on him and I believe this is what made him a great as he was. His dad was the type who would never allow him to rest even if he had a good game. It was sort of like the next game up mentality or the “this game is over what are you going to do next” way of thinking. Bobby was hard because he wanted Barry to be the best he could be.
It has been written that Barry asked his dad why was he so hard on him and the answer he got was because he loved him so much and wanted him to never relax at where he was.
The final big four is Emmitt Smith who is the all-time rushing leader in the NFL. He had a unique relationship with his father. His dad played football in his early days and when he got hurt he couldn’t play again. This left him with sadness in his heart.
When Emmitt made it to the Hall of Fame, his dad felt vindicated because he accomplished his dream he always wanted. To have is a son in the Hall and to know he had an impact with it must’ve made both of the proud. The daddy's love should not be allowed to go unnoticed.
Emmitt also had an extremely close relationship with his mom also. Both of them were instrumental in developing the man he is today.
He finished his HOF career with 18,355 yards and 164 TD's with most of his time with the Dallas Cowboys and his last 2 years with the Arizona Cardinals.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog about the 4 major sports leader athletes and how their fathers impacted their lives. Please leave a comment on your thoughts about this blog topic. I’d like to hear from you and please share!
https://youtu.be/5zytMQoLBLc -Emmitt Smith
https://youtu.be/kyPGJeG9KcA -Barry Bonds
https://youtu.be/q8jxZwxjyLo -Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
https://youtu.be/zqSHJIfBp_o -Wayne Gretzky
* As of Feb 2023 LB James became the all-time leading scorer and he did have a lot of positive male role models as a child.