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The 5: Father-son sports duos and their ties to Arizona

Father’s Day is a time to honor the dads out there who don’t get as much credit as they deserve, especially those who made a positive impact on a child’s life.

For athletes, the impact may be the skillset they posses to compete at the highest level, something all sports fans could also be thankful for.

On this Father’s Day, we take a look at just a few of the father-son duos in the realm of sports who, at some point in either of their careers, made an impact here in Arizona.

Calvin and Grant Hill

(AP photos)

A 2018 NBA Hall of Fame inductee, Grant Hill made a name for himself at Duke University, winning two championships. And who could forget his full-court heave to Christian Laettner in the 1992 NCAA Tournament?

Hill entered the NBA with the Detroit Pistons in 1995, winning co-Rookie of the Year along with Jason Kidd. The seven-time NBA All-Star joined the Phoenix Suns toward the back end of his career in 2007. Even so, Hill played a key role in the Suns’ 2010 run to the Western Conference Finals, teaming up with fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire.

Hill’s athletic attributes stem from his father, Calvin, even though they played different sports.

A first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969, the elder hill was a four-time Pro Bowl selection during his 12 seasons in the NFL as a running back. In 1972 he rushed for 1,036 yards, becoming the first Cowboy to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. He beat that mark the next season, rushing for 1,142 yards.

Larry Nance Sr./Jr.

Drafted 20th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 1981 NBA Draft, Larry Nance Sr. became a prominent scorer for the Suns early on in his career. After averaging just 6.6 points his rookie season, Nance improved drastically, scoring anywhere from 16.7 to 22.5 points per game over the course of five seasons. He helped lead the Suns to four consecutive playoff appearances from 1982-85, going as far as the Western Conference Finals in 1984.

Nance will always be well-known for becoming the first-ever winner of the NBA slam dunk contest, most notably for his dunk in the final round which arguably won him the title.

The iconic slam was replicated in the 2018 NBA dunk contest by his son, Larry Nance Jr.

The current Cleveland Cavalier came into the league in 2015 when he was drafted in the first-round by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was traded to the Cavaliers just before the trade deadline in 2018, when Cleveland decided to completely revamp its entire roster.

The younger Nance averaged 8.9 points, 7 rebounds and 1.0 assists for the Cavaliers in their march to the NBA Finals.

Larry Fitzgerald Jr./Sr.

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has already made a name for himself in his 14-year career, especially when you add on the legacy he left at the University of Pittsburgh in just two seasons.

Fitzgerald caught 161 passes for 2,677 yards for the Panthers from 2002-03, becoming the first player in school history to record 1,000 receiving yards in back-to-back seasons.

Drafted in the first round by the Cardinals in the 2004 NFL Draft, Fitzgerald’s impact in Arizona has been unmatched. He remains just 390 yards away from surpassing Terrell Ownes for second all-time in receiving yards, and just 92 catches away from passing Tony Gonzales for the second-most receptions all time.

But before he became the face of the Cardinals franchise, Fitzgerald was known as the son of prominent sports writer, Larry Fitzgerald Sr.

The elder Fitzgerald has been a sportswriter for the Spokesman-Recorder in Minnesota for 33 years. In 2009, he became the first journalist to cover his own son in the Super Bowl, when the Cardinals faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The McDonough Family

(Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

The McDonough name has become famous here in Arizona and across the country. The legacy the McDonough’s have in the realm of sports starts with the eldest in the family, Will.

McDonough became a well-known sports writer for the Boston Globe in 1955, often praised for his altercation with Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn in 1979. McDonough punched the cornerback twice after he had poked him in the eye, resulting in a scuffle inside the locker room. Clayborn was fined by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle at the time for $2,000 as a result of the altercation.

The McDonough family tree extends well beyond the hard-nosed Will. Sean McDonough is a sportscaster for ESPN and is well-known for his work on Monday Night Football.

Ryan McDonough is the current general manager of the Phoenix Suns while Terry McDonough is the vice president of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals.

Bobby and Barry Bonds

Bobby and Barry Bonds (AP Photo)

Sure, the impact Barry Bonds made on professional sports here in Arizona may have been seen as a negative, but who could forget his time at Arizona State University?

Bonds played for the Sun Devils from 1983-85, hitting .347 with 45 homers and 175 RBI throughout his career. He helped lead Arizona State to two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 1983-84, tying the NCAA record with seven consecutive hits in the College World Series as a sophomore.

Bonds was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the sixth overall pick in the 1985 MLB Draft, playing eight seasons for the organization before he signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1993.

It was there in 2001 where he set the single season record for home runs with 73. In 2007, he surpassed Hank Aaron for the most home runs of all time with 756.

Barry’s father, Bobby, signed with the Giants in 1964. In just his third at-bat of his career, Bonds hit a grand slam to become the second player ever to do so in his MLB debut. Bonds spent seven seasons in San Francisco before bouncing around to various teams to finish his career. In 14 years in the majors, Bonds hit .268 with 332 homers and 1,024 RBI.

He passed away in 2003 after a battle with lung cancer and a brain tumor.


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