To make it in pro sports you not only need to have athletic ability but the determination to become successful. For many pro athletes, their biggest supporters are the people around them every day. But what if one of your friends was a potential star in his own right? The following famous athletes grew up together and could include a few you had no idea about.
Baron Davis and Paul Pierce
These two former NBA superstars grew up in Inglewood, California and have been friends since elementary school. A 10-time All-Star, Pierce won a championship with the Celtics and made four All-NBA teams. He averaged 19 points and nearly six rebounds per game for his career.
Davis was one of the league’s best combo guards. The two-time All-Star helped lead the No. 8 seed Golden State Warriors to upset the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks, spoiling the postseason for league MVP Dirk Nowitzki.
Lamar Odom and Ron Artest (Metta World Peace)
During the ’90s, New York City was widely considered the mecca of the basketball world. There was so much home-grown talent that you were bound to see future NBA players face each other on the court. One friendship between future pros involved Ron Artest and Lamar Odom. Both were highly touted prospects in their respective drafts, and the two won a championship together with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Marshawn Lynch and Josh Johnson
When you think of memorable plays in NFL history, Lynch’s playoff run against the Saints — the one that caused a Seattle earthquake — stands out as one of the best. A bruising player out of Cal, Lynch quickly became one of the NFL’s great young running backs. His cousin Josh Johnson played for the San Francisco 49ers. Together, the two founded a charity in 2011 and hosted several fundraising events in California.
Mike Conley and Greg Oden
When Ohio State signed Mike Conley Jr., there was a big chance they would also land Greg Oden. With once-in-a-generation talent, Oden combined the skill of Patrick Ewing on offense with the defense of Bill Russell. Conley was a pass-first point guard with a toughness on defense.
Together, the two helped Ohio State get to the NCAA Men’s basketball championship game, where they lost to the Florida Gators. Both were drafted in the top five of the 2007 NBA Draft. While Conley has had a great career, injuries stole Oden’s ability to make a huge impact on the game.
Gary Payton and Jason Kidd
Gary Payton is viewed as one of the NBA’s most famous trash talkers. His father coached Jason Kidd’s basketball team when he was five years old, so the younger Payton took Kidd under his win and showed him the ropes of the Oakland basketball scene. The two remain close to this day. Payton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. We expect Kidd to be right behind him when he becomes eligible.
Which pair surprises you the most?
After looking at our list of famous athletes who grew up together, which duo is most surprising? Our pick is Gary Payton and Jason Kidd. Playing basketball together in Oakland could’ve easily made the two athletes resent each other, so we’re happy to know they’re still friends.