4 father-son duos who have won NBA championship rings

Klay Thompson and his father Mychal Thompson [Image: Scott Strazzante/The Chronicle]
Klay Thompson and his father Mychal Thompson [Image: Scott Strazzante/The Chronicle]
Omar Josef Guerrero

Wesley Matthews will have a chance to join his father as an NBA champion if the LA Lakers win the title this season. His father, Wes Matthews Sr., won two championships with the Showtime Lakers in 1987 and 1988 as a reserve guard. If he wins a championship ring in L.A. as well, the father-and-son Matthews would become the first father-son duo to win a title with the same team.

That’s still a dream for now as the 2020-21 Lakers need to win the West first, although the younger Matthews has an excellent opportunity to be part of history. The 34-year old swingman is averaging 19.3 minutes a game for the defending champs this season while averaging a humble 4.5 points.

Wesley Matthews #9 reacts after scoring a three point basket.
Wesley Matthews #9 reacts after scoring a three point basket.

While there have been numerous father-son duos who have played in the NBA, very few dads have won a championship ring with their sons following suit. In fact, there are only four of them in league annals.

Let’s take a look at who these distinguished gentlemen are!

NBA champion dads and sons leaving a legacy

4. Matt Guokas Sr. and Matt Guokas Jr.

They may be one of the least-known father-son duos to play in the NBA but they are in the record books for being the first to win a championship ring each.

Matt Guokas Sr. won his championship as a member of the 1946-47 Philadelphia Warriors who won the championship that year in the Basketball Association of America. This was before it merged with the National Basketball League and was renamed the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949. Guokas played just one year for the Warriors, averaging 1.7 points per game.

His son, Matt Guokas Jr., would enjoy a lengthier career in the NBA, playing from 1966 to 1976. He won his first and only championship ring in his first season in the league with the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers. Among the members of that title-winning team were Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Hal Greer, and Billy Cunningham. As a reserve for this very talented Sixers team, the younger Guokas averaged 3.0 points in 11.7 minutes per contest.

3. Mychal Thompson and Klay Thompson

Mychal Thompson was once a 20-point scorer for the Portland Trail Blazers before becoming a valuable reserve on the Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Showtime LA Lakers of the 80s. Thompson played backup to Abdul-Jabbar and was a major reason why they won the title in 1987 and 1988. He would average 13.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks per game for his career.

Klay Thompson #11 drives to the basket.
Klay Thompson #11 drives to the basket.

His son, Klay Thompson, is the other half of the Golden State Warriors’ Splash Brothers. The younger Thompson would go on to win three championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018 with the Warriors. He has had a more successful career than his father, who never became an All-Star despite an impressive early career with the Blazers.

Klay has managed to become a five-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA player and be named to the 2018-19 All-Defensive team. He’s also an accomplished shooter and scorer, averaging 19.5 points per contest and amassing 1,798 (20th all-time) career 3-pointers so far despite being injured the last two seasons.

2. Rick Barry and Brent Barry

Rick Barry was one of the most fiery and competitive players in the NBA during his heyday and it served him well. Among the players here, Barry is the most accomplished, having been a 12-time All-Star, All-Star MVP, Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie member, All-ABA, All-NBA, steals champ and scoring champ.

Basketball Hall of Famers Spencer Haywood and Rick Barry sit onstage during the induction ceremonies for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Basketball Hall of Famers Spencer Haywood and Rick Barry sit onstage during the induction ceremonies for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Did I mention that he led the Golden State Warriors to the 1975 NBA championship and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame? Yes, he did all this and more. In his 14 years in the league, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He’s one of the most complete players in history, and an underrated defender, too.

Barry would eventually have three sons play in the NBA after him, though none came close to his accomplishments.

Brent Barry was the best among his brothers, winning the Slam Dunk title in 1996 and NBA championship rings with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and 2007. Those two titles earned him something that his father never had: two championship rings. A journeyman for most of his career, Brent was a 9.3 points-per-game scorer in 14 years and was a gifted passer (3.2 APG) like his dad.

1. Bill Walton and Luke Walton

Bill Walton was a tower of power during his glory days with the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s the most dominant individual player on this list, having won the 1978 NBA MVP Award aside from leading the Blazers to the 1977 title. The 6-foot-11 Walton was also named the Finals MVP of that six-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Luke Walton #4 drives against Marvin Williams #24.
Luke Walton #4 drives against Marvin Williams #24.

Years later, Walton would be named the 1985-86 Sixth Man of the Year winner while playing for the NBA champion Boston Celtics. Throughout his Hall-of-Fame career, Walton would average 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 blocks per game.

His son, Luke Walton, would enjoy a less celebrated career. But just like his father before him, Luke would win two championships before he retired. He won back-to-back titles with the LA Lakers in 2009 and 2010 when Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol led them to the Promised Land.

Because they each won two titles, Bill and Luke became the first father-son duo to win multiple championships. The younger Walton would average 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game before retiring and becoming a head coach later on.

Also Read: NBA 2020-21: Top 5 3-point shooters not named Stephen Curry

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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