The Barry’s have long been considered the largest, oldest, and overall superior family in NBA history. The great Rick Barry was an NBA superstar for the Warriors. He led the franchise to its first title in 1975. But most importantly, he fathered three NBA players: Jon, Drew, and Brent Barry, forming the legendary Barry clan of professional basketball. All three played together from 1997 to 2000. Rick’s youngest, Canyon Barry, is a senior for the Florida Gators.
But the Barry’s have a rival. Their tenure in the ABA/NBA spanned from 1969 to 1998. Wil, Major, Caldwell, and Charles Jones make up the largest band of brotherhood the league has seen.
Before we compare their careers and accolades with the Barry’s, we need to understand how this is even possible. There were eight total Jones, all of which stood over 6’3″. Six enjoyed basketball careers at Albany State. In fact, there was a Jones center on the Golden Rams’ roster for 18 consecutive seasons. Four made it to the NBA and two played minor league basketball. The oldest Jones brother, Oliver, coached at Albany State for 28 years. They are truly a dynastic basketball family.
Whereas the Barry brothers played three seasons all at the same time, for only two seasons did three of the Jones play simultaneously (1983-1985). Because their careers are so widespread, never did all four participate in the same campaign.
The preeminent baller was Caldwell Jones. A teammate of prime Julius Erving on the Sixers, Caldwell’s best performances stretched from 1973 to 1976. In that span, he averaged 15.8 points and 13.1 rebounds. Wil Jones earned the first family championship in 1975 with the ABA force Kentucky Colonels. In addition, he was a standout on the 1976-1977 version of the Indiana Pacers, recording 13.8 points/game and 8.0 rebounds/game. Alongside Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, Charles Jones found himself on the legendary 1995 championship Rockets. Like his counterpart Drew Barry, Major Jones is undoubtedly the worst of the tandem. Both endured short, unproductive careers.
To properly determine the superior basketball family, the statistics and accolades need to be discerned fairly. I don’t care. Rick Barry will not be among the Barry’s. This is a battle between the brothers: Wil, Major, Caldwell, and Charles Jones vs. Brent, Drew, and Jon Barry. More importantly, Rick’s career skews the entire analysis. He accumulated 25,279 points to the Jones’ 22,192 combined points. Also, to be included in this war of the families, at least three brothers must have reached the NBA and all three must have played simultaneously at some point. This excludes smaller duos like the Curry’s, Wilkins, and Griffins, as well as the Zellers because all three never acquired NBA roster spots in the same season. The regulations above leave just the Jones and the Barry’s.
Brothers vs. Brothers:
Obviously, the career totals stand inadmissible because of the 4 to 3 Jones advantage. The Barry’s average more points, assists, and steals. The Jones lead in rebounds and steals, and the turnovers are pretty much dead even. In conclusion, this data is fairly even and quite predictable considering the Barry’s were guards/small forwards and the Jones were centers/power forwards.
The championship total is a push at two a piece; therefore, we need to place tremendous value in the Jones’ two All-Star appearances. Not a single Barry brother played well enough to earn an All-Star selection. Furthermore, the Barry’s have undeniably the least productive player on the grid. Drew Barry competed in just 60 career games, started none, and peaked with 56 points over an entire season.
In all, it must be stated that the Barry’s exhibit the top player of the large NBA families. Rick secured both a Hall of Fame induction in 1987, and a designation in the 50 Greatest Players ceremony of 1996. However, in the battle of the brothers, the Jones are the clear winners. If Scooter Barry would have procured an NBA contract, or if Canyon finds his way to the big leagues, this may be a different conversation. The Jones boast an impressive 4-3 advantage in NBA brothers. Not to mention, they obtained multiple All-Star selections and maintained a presence on NBA rosters for 27 consecutive seasons. Clearly, the Jones are the greatest set of NBA brothers in league history.
(Photo Credit – Public Domain)