Former New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry certainly passed his athletic genes to his son, D.J.
Strawberry, the lanky yet powerful slugging outfielder, had a terrific 17-year career for various teams. He starred for the New York Mets and, alongside a young Derek Jeter, won multiple championships with the late-1990s Yankees.
D.J. also pursued a career in professional sports, but his success came on the basketball court. As a rookie, the young Strawberry even played alongside Steve Nash and Shaquille O’Neal on the Phoenix Suns.
Darryl Strawberry is an all-time Mets great
Darryl Strawberry had a stellar career, but he remains one of baseball’s great what-ifs.
The No. 1 overall pick in 1980, Strawberry hit .259 with 335 home runs and 1,000 RBIs in a 17-season career. Strawberry won NL Rookie of the Year in 1983, made eight All-Star games, and won four World Series rings.
The what-if portion comes from Strawberry’s admitted substance-abuse issues. Strawberry served three suspensions for violating the league’s drug policies.
Strawberry wasn’t the only member of the 1980s Mets with those issues. Ace pitcher Dwight Gooden’s personal demons have continued through retirement.
The eight-time All-Star later turned his life around and became a beloved member of the baseball community. Strawberry entered the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.
His son, D.J., briefly played in the NBA
Much like his father, Darryl Eugene Strawberry Jr. — better known as D.J. — had his eyes set on playing sports.
Standing 6 feet 5 inches and just over 200 pounds, Strawberry played shooting guard and small forward growing up. Strawberry played at Maryland from 2003-07, even dabbling at point guard, and earned second-team All-ACC honors in his senior season.
The Phoenix Suns used the 59th and penultimate selection in the 2007 NBA draft on Strawberry. In 33 games as a rookie, Strawberry averaged 2.2 points on 31.5% shooting. He also averaged 0.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 8.2 minutes per game.
The Suns famously acquired Shaquille O’Neal midway through the season. Unfortunately for Phoenix, the duo of O’Neal and veteran point guard Steve Nash didn’t reach the NBA Finals in their two years together.
D.J. Strawberry continued his career overseas
Darryl Strawberry never played baseball on a full-time basis overseas, but his son has made a living doing just that in basketball.
D.J. Strawberry has played everywhere imaginable over the last decade, from French to Puerto Rico to the EuroLeague. He’s spent time in Croatia, Israel, Lithuania, and other countries.
Now 35, Strawberry is still going strong and has a contract with UCAM Murcia, a team in Spain. Liga Murica plays in Liga ACB, the top-ranked Spanish basketball league.
D.J. Strawberry didn’t get a chance to win championships stateside like his father did. What the son has on his dad, though, is having played all over the world and in various cultures.
It might be too late for the younger Strawberry to ever play in an NBA regular-season game again. But if he ever intends to return to America, both the Knicks and Nets should consider bringing the son of one of New York’s most beloved and celebrated athletes home.