The game of basketball runs in our blood — sometimes literally. For a lot of people in the world, basketball is a family matter where your first 1-on-1 matchup was most likely against your brother or sister. This familial competition can drive people to be the best version of themselves.
However, some families have taken their brotherly competition to another level — the NBA to be exact. The NBA is a huge community where players come and go, so it does not come as a surprise to see literal brothers in the NBA. In fact, some of these brothers end up playing against each other in the Playoffs while some even team up for a season or two. Let’s talk more about them today.
How Many NBA Players are Siblings?
The NBA is home to many basketball families and it’s not uncommon to see brothers, cousins, or even father-son tandems play in the league. As of the start of the 2022-2023 season, there were 13 sets of brothers in the NBA.
Out of the 13, 11 are pairs while two sets are composed of three siblings — specifically the Antetokounmpo brothers and the Holiday brothers. Four pairs of brothers actively played in the same team for the season and those were the Wagner brothers from the Magic, the Mobley brothers of the Cavs, Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo from the Bucks, and lastly, Justin and Aaron Holiday for the Hawks.
Interestingly enough, in the 2022-2023 season, there were three sets of twins — the Morris twins, the Lopez twins, and the Martin twins.
Brothers Currently Playing in the NBA
Some of the NBA that we know of are a little more famous — or notorious — than others. These NBA brothers caught the attention of the community for various reasons including stellar play, off-court status, and even for making history together.
Let’s have a rundown of these big names in the league.
At one point in 2023, there were four Antetokounmpo brothers in the NBA — Alex, Kostas, Thanasis, and of course, Giannis. Their eldest brother, Francis, played professional football. The Antetokounmpos are Nigerians who immigrated to Greece. Their tight bond and success story inspired a lot of people and served as the subject of a Disney+ biopic titled Rise.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniably the most successful among all his brothers in the NBA. He was drafted 15th overall in the 2013 draft and would go on to win back-to-back MVPs in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, Giannis brought the Bucks their first championship in 50 years.
Giannis’ older brother, Thanasis, was also part of that 2021 championship roster. He was drafted in 2014 as the 51st overall pick. Their younger brother, Kostas, was drafted in 2018 and also won a ring with the Lakers back in 2020. Lastly, the youngest Antetokounmpo brother Alex briefly signed with the Bucks in 2023 — making the Antetokounmpo brothers the first sibling trio to be part of the same NBA team.
If the Antetokounmpo brothers have Rise on Disney+, the Ball brothers had a reality show that ran for 3 years called Ball in the Family. The life of the Ball brothers did not lack media attention and they have been a household name in the basketball community for various reasons, one being LaVar Ball — the Ball patriarch.
Currently, two of the three Ball brothers are in the NBA. The eldest Ball, Lonzo, was drafted 2nd overall by the Lakers in 2017. The talent is obviously there for Lonzo but bad breaks have taken a lead in his career in the NBA so far. He currently plays for the Chicago Bulls and is expected to bounce back next season. Next to Lonzo is LiAngelo Ball who, unfortunately, hasn’t seen a lot of success professionally due to on-court and off-court issues. The youngest, LaMelo Ball, plays for the Charlotte Hornets and was named an All-Star just in his 2nd season in the league.
As individuals, the Ball brothers have the potential to be the most successful siblings in the league’s history. Here’s to hoping that the injury bug stays away from these amazing talents.
Of course, how can we forget? Stephen and Seth Curry are the sons of legendary shooter Dell Curry. This sibling duo followed the steps of their dad — both made it to the NBA and both established themselves as the best shooters in today’s league.
Steph Curry needs no introduction. He was drafted 7th in 2009 by the Golden State Warriors as a skinny kid who had endless range. Little would they know that Steph would be the main weapon of arguably the strongest dynasty in modern NBA and, in the process, would change the game as we know it. Steph is a 4x NBA champion, 9x All-Star, and the only unanimous MVP in the history of the NBA. He is no less than the greatest shooter of all time.
Seth, the younger Curry, has been a solid role player in the league. He went undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft but made his way into the league. He currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks and is one of the most efficient shooters in the NBA today.
Brothers Who Played in the NBA
Much like any other player, siblings come and go in the NBA. And, throughout the history of the league, some brotherly duos have made a lasting impact in the league before they called it a day in the NBA.
The Wilkins brothers, Dominique and Gerald, saw action in the 80s. Dominique Wilkins was drafted in 1982 as the 3rd overall pick whereas the younger Gerald was selected as the 47th pick in the 1985 NBA draft. Interestingly enough, the two retired in the same year, 1999.
Dominique Wilkins needs no introduction. Anyone who knows basketball knows what this NBA legend is capable of — even getting the moniker of Human Highlight Film during his career. He was a 9x All-Star who was considered as one of the best dunkers in the history of the NBA.
Gerald Wilkins, on the other hand, spent a huge chunk of his career starring for the New York Knicks. He served as the 2nd leading scorer for the Knicks behind NBA legend Patrick Ewing.
Van Arsdale Brothers
Before the Morris twins or the Lopez twins, there was Tom and Dick Van Arsdale. These two brothers took their facial similarities up a notch by having almost identical careers as well. The twins were drafted consecutively in 1965 — Dick was drafted at 10 while Tom was drafted 11th. Both also made it to the 1966 All-NBA Rookie team and were both 3x All-Stars. After 12 years in the league, both Dick and Tom ended their careers in the same season and the same team. Talk about twins.
As things stand, Pau and Marc Gasol make up perhaps the most successful sibling tandem in the history of the NBA. As individuals, the Gasol brothers made prolific careers in the NBA and on the world stage. These two are the prides of Spain and were both unstoppable at the height of their careers.
Pau Gasol was the older hermano. He was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2001 and came into the league as a prodigy who embodied European basketball — a lanky big man who played with finesse and had all the fundamentals nailed down to the core. By the end of his NBA career, Pau was a 2x NBA champion, a 6x All-Star, a Rookie of the Year in 2002, and an absolute Laker legend.
The younger Marc Gasol was drafted 48th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007. He would later on get traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he would make a name for himself playing for the notorious Grit and Grind Grizzlies. He was a bigger defensive threat than his older brother and was also a stronger force in the paint. Marc won his one and only ring with the Toronto Raptors in 2019 where he was a solid veteran contributor. He was also a 3x All-Star, a member of the 2015 All-NBA First Team, and was the 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Other Notable Cousins in the NBA
Basketball can also run in the blood of cousins in the NBA. Aside from brothers, the league is also filled with players who are related to one another through their extended families.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Shai and Nickeil are two of the best young talents in the NBA today. As the name suggests, the two are related through the Alexander family where Shai’s father is the brother of Nickeil’s mother — making the two first cousins. Shai and Nickeil practically grew up together and chased their basketball dreams together. Eventually, Shai was drafted in the NBA in 2018 whereas Nickeil entered the league in 2019. They also both play for the Canadian National Team.
In his young 5-year career, Shai has already been named an All-Star and was part of the 2023 All-NBA First Team. Nickeil, on the other hand, is still finding his footing in the league and is currently playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Nick Young and Kevon Looney
We have to admit, this one caught us a little by surprise. If you compare them side by side, Nick Young and Kevon Looney have nothing in common. Nick Young is a spitfire guard who can score with ease and flair. On the other hand, Kevon Looney was an underrated big man who rebounds and defends for a living. Personality-wise, the two couldn’t be any further as well with Nick Young or Swaggy P being expressive and borderline boastful while Looney is timid and serious. However, all these won’t change the fact that their mothers are sisters.
Young was drafted 17th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2007 NBA draft and peaked with the Lakers in the mid-2010s. Meanwhile, Kevon Looney was drafted 30th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Looney clawed his way to get heavy minutes and is now one of the most important pieces of the Warriors dynasty — earning three rings in the process.
Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter
Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter were known as the best dunkers of their time and their stint with the Toronto Raptors showed an unmatched chemistry that powered one of the deadliest duos of the 2000s. Well, it turns out that they literally had chemistry because they were cousins — and they didn’t even know until the year they were drafted into the NBA. To cut the long story short, T-Mac attended a family reunion that Carter coincidentally skipped. Carter then receives a call from his grandmother only for him to be greeted by none other than Tracy McGrady.
Pound for pound, T-Mac and Vinsanityare arguably the most successful cousin duo in the NBA. McGrady is a 7x All-Star, 2x All-NBA First Team, and a 2x scoring champion. Carter, on the other hand, is an 8x All-Star and was the 1999 Rookie of the Year.
Wrapping Things Up: Brothers in the NBA: Who are Brothers Playing in the NBA?
With the size of the NBA community, it’s not surprising to see relatives play each other or even team up. Our brothers are often our first matchups and the same goes for some of our favorite players.
During the 2022-2023 season, the NBA saw 13 sets of brothers play, headlined by the Antetokounmpo brothers, Curry brothers, and the Ball brothers. Successful brother duos have also graced the NBA through the years, including the Gasol brothers. Apart from brothers, some cousin duos also found success in the league such as the high-flying pair of Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady.
I guess it just goes to show that to some people basketball is more than just a sport — it’s a family affair.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.