Many fathers dream of watching their sons play in the NBA, but it's usually a pipe dream. For Mike Dunleavy Sr., though, that hope was more like a strong possibility, both for his son's strong genes and longtime reputation as a top prospect. When Mike Dunleavy Jr. was drafted by the Warriors in 2002, it was a dream come true for both. With the elder Dunleavy's coaching career, there was only a question as to whether the two would ever join up on the same team.
With the father now out of the league and unlikely to get another coaching stint soon, it may never happen. But even if the son had the chance, it doesn't seem like he'd much like to be coached by his dad. From Chris Tomasson at FanHouse:
"Not really," Dunleavy Jr., an Indiana swingman, said Sunday when asked if it's a dream to one day play on an NBA team coached by his dad, Mike Dunleavy Sr. "There could be a lot of issues with it. If it were to happen, you'd make the most of it. But it's not something that I'm trying to do... If you were on a great team and you're winning, to do it with your dad, that would be great. But when things aren't going well, it could be kind of like hit or miss.'' [...]
"There just could be issues," said Dunleavy Jr., a nine-year man with a career scoring average of 12.1. "I'd prefer not to play for a family member. But if it happens, it happens... It's not something that I don't think either one of us is trying to make happen.''
Good for Dunleavy the Younger, who realizes that basketball is a business and charges of nepotism could only make things more difficult for himself in the present and future. Firmly ensconsed in the league as a veteran, he doesn't want to waste his time with the dreams of youth.
Then again, Dunleavey the Elder seems to think there's an act of subterfuge going on. From the same article:
"He doesn't want to just come out and say that and people might think he wants his father to coach the Pacers,'' Dunleavy Sr. said on Monday, although Indiana president Larry Bird has said Jim O'Brien will coach the team the rest of this season.
Whoops, it looks like the son never told the father that he doesn't think he's a very good coach. Something tells me there might be a short moment of awkwardness at the next Dunleavy family function, although it shouldn't last long once both remember they've been making loads of money off no-better-than-decent performances for years now. The only arguments that take place between people this rich are money fights.
There's never been a father/son duo on the same team -- Coby and George Karl came the closest last season, but Coby was never inactive and George wasn't with the team while undergoing cancer treatments -- but several could happen soon. The best opportunity looks like Doc Rivers and his Duke-bound super-recruit son Austin, except Doc would probably have to change teams since Austin figures to be a high draft pick.
Regardless of whether or not this ever happens in the league, let's not assume it would all be a joyful familial union. One bad stretch, and pretty soon the son is telling the press that his father didn't hug him enough as a child.