For many people, especially in sports, they would like their children to follow in their footsteps. To create sports dynasties for the ages. But, not everyone is of that thought patter. Anthony Joshua’s recent comments on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs reflect a common sentiment among parents in high-risk professions, including sports. Despite his illustrious career, Joshua would rather his son JJ pursue a safer, more stable career, like accountancy, rather than stepping into the boxing ring.

While Joshua’s perspective is understandable given the physical and emotional toll of boxing, history is replete with examples of athletes who have successfully followed in their relatives’ footsteps and carved out their own remarkable careers. Let’s explore some notable stories of familial success in sports.

Successful sports dynasties

The Maldini legacy in football

Paolo and Cesare Maldini

Paolo Maldini, one of the greatest defenders in football history, followed his father Cesare Maldini into the sport. Cesare was a legendary player and later a coach for AC Milan and the Italian national team. Paolo not only matched his father’s achievements but surpassed them. He won numerous titles with AC Milan, including seven Serie A titles and five UEFA Champions League trophies, and represented Italy in four World Cups​.

Daniel Maldini

Continuing the legacy, Paolo’s son, Daniel Maldini, is also making his mark. As a forward for AC Milan, he represents the third generation of Maldinis at the club, showcasing the enduring legacy of the family in football​​ to make them one of the most successful sports dynasties.

Sports Dynasties - The Maldini family Cesare, Paolo and Daniel

The Earnhardt family in NASCAR

Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Sr., known as “The Intimidator,” was one of the most iconic figures in NASCAR, with seven championships to his name. His son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., followed him into the sport and became a fan favourite. Dale Jr. carved out his own successful career, winning the Daytona 500 twice and being named NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for 15 consecutive years. Despite the immense pressure of his father’s legacy, he managed to build his own distinct identity within the sport​, while extending one of the greatest sports dynasties NASCAR has ever seen.

The Curry brothers in basketball

Stephen and Seth Curry

Stephen Curry, widely regarded as one of the best shooters in NBA history, and his younger brother Seth, have both had successful careers in professional basketball. They are the sons of Dell Curry, a former NBA player known for his shooting prowess. Stephen has revolutionised the game with his long-range shooting, leading the Golden State Warriors to multiple championships and earning two MVP awards. Seth, while not as decorated as Stephen, has established himself as a reliable shooter and valuable player in the NBA to make it in our list of the top sports dynasties.

Sports Dynasties - Stephen and Seth Curry in the NBA

The Pollock Family in Cricket

Peter, Graeme, and Shaun Pollock

The Pollock family is one of the more notable sports dynasties in the world of cricket, particularly in South Africa. The family’s cricketing legacy spans across generations, beginning with Peter Pollock, followed by his brother Graeme Pollock, and then extending to Peter’s son, Shaun Pollock.

Peter Pollock was a leading fast bowler for South Africa during the 1960s, recognized for his speed and consistency. His brother Graeme Pollock, considered one of the greatest left-handed batsmen of all time, played a pivotal role in South African cricket with his elegant stroke play and formidable batting average. Shaun Pollock, Peter’s son, continued the family tradition, becoming one of South Africa’s finest all-rounders. He excelled as a fast-medium bowler and was also a reliable batsman, contributing significantly to South Africa’s success in international cricket during his career.

The Williams sisters in tennis

Venus and Serena Williams

Venus and Serena Williams, coached by their father Richard Williams, have dominated women’s tennis for over two decades. Their sports dynasties story is a testament to family dedication and hard work. Between them, they have won numerous Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold medals. Serena, in particular, is often cited as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, with 23 Grand Slam singles titles including seven Wimbledon titles.

Venus and Serena Williams shaking hands on the court

While Anthony Joshua may have reservations about his son following him into boxing, these sports dynasties stories illustrate how family legacies in sports can lead to extraordinary achievements. Each of these athletes not only lived up to their relatives’ reputations but also carved out their own unique paths to success. For many, the combination of genetic talent, family support, and a deep understanding of their sport’s demands provides a strong foundation for excelling at the highest levels.

Ultimately, whether JJ becomes an accountant or a boxer, what’s most important is that he is supported in pursuing his own path, just as the athletes in these sports dynasties were. Joshua’s desire to protect his son from the harsh realities of professional boxing is understandable, but the stories of the Maldinis, Earnhardts, Currys, and Williamses show that with the right support and passion, following in a family member’s footsteps can lead to remarkable success.

For more lists like this one, check out our general section.