The 5: Phoenix sports figures with famous fathers
It’s Father’s Day weekend!
Here’s a tip of the cap to all the dads out there that make a positive impact on their childrens’ lives.
To celebrate, here are five (OK, six — it’s Father’s Day…sue me!) Phoenix sports figures with dads who made a names for themselves before their children became stars.
Mistie Bass, F, Phoenix Mercury
Bass, 32, is in her 10th year in the WNBA, and her third year in Phoenix. In a reserve role in 2014, she helped the Mercury to their third WNBA championship — a sweep over the Chicago Sky.
Bass’ father is the one and only Chubby Checker, who is also the father of “The Twist” — a song which created a national dance craze when it rose up the charts to number-one in 1960.
According to a Chicago Tribune article in 2006, Bass found about her father’s fame when she was seven-years-old.
“I’ve always had a relationship with my father,” Bass said. “My mother has done a great job in making sure that I always respected my father and that there was always love there. Sometimes children can grow up having kind of animosity between the parents, and I never had that.
“I grew up loving my dad, mostly hearing his voice on the phone. [The relationship] has only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older.”
Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns
Booker was one of the pleasant surprises of the 2015-16 NBA season. Despite being the youngest player in the league, Booker was pressed into action due to injuries in the Phoenix backcourt. He played in 76 games, starting 51, and averaged 13.8 points per contest and finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting.
His dad, Melvin Booker, had a very successful career at the University of Missouri and was named as the Big 8 Player of the Year in 1994 when he led the Tigers to an undefeated conference season and an Elite 8 spot in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Arizona in the West Regional Finals.
The elder Booker went on to play professional basketball for 14 years with stops in the NBA, CBA, Italy, Turkey and Russia.
Matt Petersen of Suns.com chronicled the relationship between the two Bookers very nicely last summer after Devin was drafted in the first round by the Suns.
Bobby Hurley, Head coach, Arizona State Sun Devils
Hurley, headed into his second season in Tempe, is famous. There’s no doubt about it.
In college basketball’s unofficial “golden age” of the early 1990s, Hurley was one of the sport’s most recognizable and decorated players. The point guard from Jersey City helped lead Duke to three straight Final Four appearances and back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992, being named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament in Duke’s second championship.
He left Durham as the NCAA’s all-time leading assist man and became a first-round draft pick of the Sacramento Kings.
His ascent up the college coaching ranks has been rapid since serving as an assistant on his brother Danny’s staff at Wagner College in 2010.
But when it comes to coaching, Hurley has nothing on his dad, Bob Sr.
The 68-year-old is one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in history. Hurley has led the St. Anthony Friars to 28 state championships in New Jersey, including one this past season. He captured nine straight titles from 1983 to 1991 and four national championships.
The three-time USA Today National Coach of the Year was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, becoming just the third prep coach to earn the honor.
If coaching is hereditary, Sun Devil fans should be happy for years to come.
Ryan and Terry McDonough
There’s no other way to say it — the McDonoughs are a sports family.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is getting ready for his fourth season on the job. This comes on the heels of a decade in the front office of the Boston Celtics.
His older brother Terry is also a front office type. He’s entering his third season as the Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel.
They, along with new ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play voice Sean McDonough, are the sons of late legendary writer and media personality Will McDonough.
The patriarch of the family, McDonough got his start at the Boston Globe in 1955 and began his illustrious sportswriting career five years later.
Part of the McDonough legend was an altercation he got into with New England Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn in 1979.
After the game, [cornerback Raymond] Clayborn was snapping at writers and bumping into them on purpose. Legendary writer Will McDonough of The Boston Globe took exception, saying “Hey, Ray, there’s no need to do that.”
Clayborn reacted by jabbing his finger in McDonough’s face, poking him in the eye. McDonough then punched him twice, knocking him into a laundry cart and taking down a number of people with him.
The story immediately went into legend, with some accounts stating that McDonough had knocked Clayborn “out cold” with a single punch, and others describing more of a scuffle between the two.
McDonough had covered every Super Bowl until his untimely passing in 2003 from a heart attack.
Then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue had glowing words about McDonough after his death.
“For many decades, Will McDonough was the most influential reporter covering the NFL,” he said. “Most club executives and head coaches knew him and Will, in turn, knew almost everything that was going on in the NFL. All of us respected him as a professional; nearly all of us knew him as a friend.”
Will McDonough was truly one of a kind.
Max Domi, F, Arizona Coyotes
You know the old saying “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree,” right?
In the case of the hockey-playing Domis, that applies. But Tie, who played 18 seasons as an NHL tough guy, and Max, who currently provides highlight goals for the Coyotes, are probably different types of apples.
The elder Domi did score 104 goals in 1,020 career regular-season games for the Maple Leafs, Rangers and Winnipeg Jets, but he earned a reputation as one of the all-time great physical presences in the league. Domi racked up 3,515 penalty minutes in his career, including a league-high 347 in 1993-94.
Max earned 72 PIM in his rookie season in 2015-16, but is more known as a slick offensive threat. He notched 18-34-52 in his first year in the league and is considered one of the building blocks of a Coyotes organization that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2012.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald has accomplished many things in the NFL — nine Pro Bowl appearances, a First-Team All-Pro selection and a two-touchdown performance in the Super Bowl.
Going into his 13th NFL season, he remains one of the game’s most popular and productive wide receivers — as evidence by his career-high 109 receptions last season at the age of 32.
But he’ll always be the second Fitzgerald to make a mark in the sports world.
His father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., has been a sportswriter based in Minnesota for the Spokesman-Recorder. When the elder Fitzgerald covered Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, he is believed to be the first sportswriter to ever cover a son who played in the game.
He wrote a first-person account about covering his son for the New York Times in 2009.
I remember when I started tossing him the football when he was about 4 years old. It was kind of a worn-down N.F.L. football. He started sleeping with it. We still have it in Minnesota. I never tossed it real hard. I always told him to focus and not be afraid of it.
Yet it’s been uncomfortable lately when other reporters start challenging my objectivity or my organization’s credibility on football’s biggest stage. I have had my parenting questioned and second-guessed.