By Ross Kelly
Whenever Father’s Day is on the horizon, it makes us reminisce back to sport moments we shared with our dads. The athletes below all experienced pivotal moments in their lives with their fathers right by their sides. Some of them were good moments and some of them were bad moments, but they were all unforgettable in one way or another. Here are the 12 most memorable dad moments in sports:
12. Doc and Austin Rivers
Austin has been much maligned in his time in the NBA and the controversy around him only increased once he joined his father with the Clippers. But Austin made quite the impact in his first playoffs appearance and scored 25 off the bench in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals vs. Houston. That prompted Chris Paul to go over to Doc mid-game and say, “This is the one time you can be a dad and not just coach.”
11. Jose and Robinson Cano
At the 2011 All Star Game, Robinson Cano, with his father Jose pitching, won the Home Run Derby. Jose, himself a former big leaguer, knew exactly where his son wanted each pitch and it showed in the results. Hopefully the Canos’ remember that event for a long time as I’m sure they’d like to forget the following year’s derby. At that event, Cano, as the defending champion, could not hit even one home run and was booed throughout the event.
10. Michael Jordan
The only event on this list which actually occurred on Father’s Day; Michael Jordan has arguably the most emotional moment of his basketball career. Playing in his first Finals since his father was murdered, Jordan and the Bulls cap off the greatest season in NBA history by winning their fourth championship. There was no fist pump or jumping up and down, just an outpouring of emotion over the journey and obstacles to reach this point.
9. Cal Sr., Cal Jr., and Billy Ripken
There have been many instances in MLB history in which brothers played on the same team and instances in which fathers coached their sons. However, on July 11, 1987 history was made as Billy Ripken joined his brother, Cal Jr., on the Orioles who were managed by the brothers’ father, Cal Sr. It is the only time in MLB history that a father managed two sons on the same team at the same time. The trio would spend six years together with Cal Sr. managing two years and coaching four others.
8. Hal and Brian McRae
Did you ever have one of those moments where days of built-up frustration finally came out all at once? Well Royals Manager Hal McRae had that moment back in 1993 and his son, Brian, was on hand to witness. After a loss to drop the Royals to 7-12, Hal lashed out at reporters in an epic postgame news conference. The video of the event has in a way overshadowed what was a pretty solid MLB career for Hal but it’s definitely one of those videos that always jumps to mind when discussing athletes losing their cool. Son, Brian, had a front-row seat to the action as he was on that Royals team and was just a couple of feet away in the locker room.
7. Ron and R.J. Hunter
As the exclamation point on an incredible comeback, R.J. Hunter drained a 35 footer to give dad, Ron Hunter, and the #14 Georgia Southern Panthers a shocking win over #3 Baylor. Just as memorable as the shot was the celebration of Ron who was nursing a torn Achilles. Ron fell off his chair in exuberance just as the shot went in and prolonged GSU’s tournament run.
6. Homer and Bryce Drew
The Drews get the slight edge over the Hunters due to Bryce’s shot being a buzzer-beater. Coach Homer drew up the play called “Pacer” to free up his son after a 60 foot inbound pass. Bryce got the shot off just before the clock expired and that triggered one of the biggest moments, and upsets, in NCAA tournament history. The #14 Valparaiso Crusaders defeated the #3 Ole Miss Rebels 69-67 and would eventually advance all the way to the Sweet Sixteen.
5. Valeri and Nastia Liukin
It’s not only the sons who had memorable moments with their fathers. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Valeri Liukin finished one-tenth of a point from claiming gold in the all-around gymnastics event. 20 years later, his daughter, Nastia, was able to claim gold in the all-around at the Beijing Games with Valeri coaching her every step of the way.
4. Vince and Shane McMahon
What better way for a father and son to show their love than by beating each other up with kendo sticks, steel chairs, and garbage cans? If that’s not love, then what is? The two McMahons squared off in a no-hold-barred street fight at Wrestlemania 17 with Shane emerging as the victor. It was a full McMahon family affair as daughter/sister, Stephanie, and wife/mom, Linda got involved as well. Just two years later at No Mercy, Vince would wrestle Stephanie and defeat her by choking her with a lead pipe. Love.
3. Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr.
On September 14, 1990, 40-year-old Ken Griffey Sr. hit his 151st career home run. The next batter, 20-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. then followed his father’s HR with the 36th of his career vs. the Angels. The duo would play a total of 51 games together with the Mariners and are one of only two father-son duos to be MLB teammates (Tim Raines and Tim Jr. are the others).
2. Team Hoyt
Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick, are beacons of perseverance, and for good reason. Rick was born a quadriplegic and Dick has pushed, pulled, carried, and swam with Rick in events since 1977. The two have completed over 250 triathlons, 32 Boston Marathons, and six Ironman races among their thousands of events. After 37 years of competing, Dick retired in 2014 but Rick is still going strong and finished the 2015 Boston Marathon with help from another Team Hoyt member, Bryan Lyons.
1. Jim and Derek Redmond
Perhaps the enduring moment of the 1992 Olympics, British sprinter Derek Redmond tore his hamstring during a 400m semi-finals heat and collapsed to the track. As he attempted to get up and hobble to the finish line, his father, Jim, pushed thru security to meet his son. With Derek leaning on Jim for both literal and figurative support, the two crossed the finish line to a standing ovation. The video above is a feature that Visa did on the moment prior to the 2008 Games and Jim was also one of the Olympic torch bearers at the 2012 London Games.