We all know a real-life example of an obsessed sports parent who pushes their kid to be the best. In many cases, this is to make up for their own lack of athletic success, choosing to live their dreams through their offspring.
Sometimes these kids flame out early on, but sometimes they make it to the main stage — where their insane sports dads gain national recognition.
Below you can see 10 such fathers, including #2, who’s gaining even more attention than his famous kids right now.
1. Marv Marinovich – Father of NFL QB Todd Marinovich
Have you ever wondered how good of an athlete somebody could be if they were literally fed sports right out of the crib?
Todd Marinovich is the ultimate womb-to-pro-sports product, with his crazy father, Marv Marinovich, serving as the mastermind.
Marv was a lineman and captain of the USC football team in the early 1960s. However, he ruined his chance in the pros by overtraining and becoming too bulky.
He then set out to study Eastern Bloc weight-lifting techniques, became the NFL’s first strength-and-conditioning coach under the L.A. Raiders, and opened his own training research center. The latter would become Marv’s evil laboratory for applying training techniques on poor Todd.
The son was taught sports before he could walk, forced into speed and flexibility tests as a kid, and prevented from eating sweets and anything else unhealthy.
While Todd had a successful career at USC, and was drafted by the Raiders with the 21st overall pick of the 1991 NFL Draft, he quickly fizzled out and began abusing drugs. Still rebelling against his crazed father decades later, Todd was arrested after a skateboard chase with cops, and now embodies the PacSun image.
2. LaVar Ball – Father of Basketball’s Lonzo, DiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball
If you want to see the extent of LaVar Ball’s insanity, you can read his top 10 quotes here. In all truthfulness, I probably wrote this too early because the father of soon-to-be NBA star Lonzo Ball, and Chino Hills High (CA) phenoms LaMelo and DiAngelo Ball, is a nonstop quote machine.
LaVar isn’t a made-for-TV sports psycho like Marv Marinovich, but rather more of a hype man for his kids. LaVar trains his kids as well, but he gains more attention for saying things like:
- Lonzo is better than Steph Curry.
- He immediately wants a $1 billion shoe deal for his three sons combined.
- He himself could’ve “killed” Michael Jordan one-on-one. LaVar averaged 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds as a deep reserve for the Washington State Cougars.
- Charles Barkley would’ve won a championship if he thought like LaVar.
Only time will tell how this story plays out. But it’s clear that LaVar Ball is enjoying the headlines in the process.
3. Jim Pierce – Father of Tennis’ Mary Pierce
While all of the sports dads on this list are a little nutty, only one is so deranged that his kid put a restraining order on him – Jim Pierce, father of retired WTA tennis pro Mary Pierce.
From yelling at his daughter to “kill the bitch” she was playing against, to getting banned from all WTA events, Jim was the ultimate nutcase.
He was also abusive and hit Mary after tennis tournaments from the time she was 10. Things got so bad that Mary filed a restraining order against Jim, checked into hotels under different aliases, and hired bodyguards.
4. Ron Holmes – Father of NBA Player Shabazz Muhammed
Much like Ball and Marinovich, Ron Holmes groomed his son, Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Shabazz Muhammad, to be the ultimate athlete from the time he was born. And just like Ball, Holmes’ kid would end up attending UCLA.
Holmes’ methods included setting up AAU teams that played to his son’s strengths, and even lying about Shabazz’s age so he could enter one AAU event.
Muhammad stepped onto UCLA’s campus as one of the most-hyped basketball recruits in history. While he played well, few could’ve lived up to the intense pressures put upon Shabazz, which stemmed from his dad’s sideline boasting.
Ron Holmes and his son still have a solid relationship. But as Muhammad says, “He’s not in my basketball (life) anymore.” As of 2014, Holmes is serving prison time for a mortgage fraud scheme.
5. Floyd Mayweather Sr. – Father of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
As a great boxer himself in the 1970s and 80s, Floyd Mayweather Sr. passed these skills onto his son. Floyd Jr.
But their relationship deteriorated and uncle Roger Mayweather became Junior’s trainer. Things got so bad that Sr. trained Oscar De La Hoya for a fight against his son.
It wasn’t until the 2010s that the father-son relationship was mended and Sr. became Jr’s trainer again. But we still have this legendary argument to remember their divide by, which includes Sr. threatening to kick his son’s ass.
6. Stefano Capriati – Father of Tennis’ Jennifer Capriati
While many passionate sports fathers push their kids into the matter at an early age, Stefano took this to a new level by forcing his daughter, Jennifer, to play professional tennis at age 13.
Capriati seemed prepared for the rigors of the game, making the 1994 French Open semifinals at age 14 — the youngest to ever advance this far. But after a first-round loss in the 1993 U.S. Open, she took a 14-month hiatus from the sport. This same time period saw her arrested for marijuana possession and shoplifting.
While Capriati would recover after this down period of her life, it was clear that she was pushed too hard, too fast, so much so that she contemplated suicide in 1994 and overdosed on prescription pills.
All the while, Stefano was behind the scenes doing the pushing. As the Sun Sentinel describes, he used his daughter as an ATM during her early career.
The good news (or bad) is that, unlike some of the other fathers on this list, Stefano maintained a relationship with his daughter throughout her career.
7. Cecil Fielder – Father of MLB’s Prince Fielder
As the only father-son duo to each hit 50 home runs in a season, you’d think that Cecil Fielder and his son, Prince, would have plenty in common. But they didn’t at one point in time…in fact, they weren’t on speaking terms for a decade.
It started after Cecil negotiated his son’s first contract, then claimed that he should be paid just like a normal agent. He then helped himself to $200,000 of Prince’s $2.4 million signing bonus without asking.
The good news is that they patched things up in 2012, and the signing bonus incident is behind them now.
8. Domir Dokic – Father of Tennis’ Jelena Dokic
Lesson #1 from this list – don’t be a tennis father! Domir Dokic is the third to make this list based on a number of crazy incidents, many of which embarrassed his daughter, former Serbian-Australian tennis pro Jelena Dokic.
First off, he was kicked out of the 2000 Wimbledon championships after breaking a journalist’s camera. In 2009, he was sent to prison for threatening to assassinate the Australian ambassador to Serbia with a hand grenade.
Domir was ejected from the U.S. Open after raising cane over how much they were charging for salmon. He also claimed that WTA officials fixed the 2001 Australian Open so that Lindsay Davenport would win. Finally, Domir said that he’d kill himself if he found out Jelena was a lesbian.
9. Stan Love – Father of NBA’s Kevin Love
A former NBA player in the 1970s, Stan Love passed his talent down to his son, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love.
Stan’s craziness began in 1982, when, as a bodyguard to his cousin and Beach Boys member Brian Wilson, he was fined $750 for assaulting his other cousin Dennis Wilson, a late Beach Boys member.
When Mark Shoff – Kevin’s high school coach at Lake Oswego, Oregon – was accused of verbal abuse against former players, Stan passed out “Fire Shoff” bumper stickers and briefly thought of having Kevin transfer to another school.
10. Minna Wilson – Mother of Boxer Tony Wilson
We end this list with not a dad, but rather a mother. Minna Wilson, mother of British light heavyweight champion boxer Tony Wilson, climbed into the ring and started hitting her son’s opponent, Steve McCarthy, with a shoe in 1989.
According to Wikipedia, Minna’s shoe opened up a cut on McCarthy’s face, and he didn’t want to continue. Referee Adrian Morgan insisted that the fight continue, with Wilson getting a technical knockout when McCarthy refused.
Wilson would win just 2 of his last 10 fights after his mother’s interference.