As many know, it is hard enough to be a successful basketball player when playing in high school, college, or in the professional leagues. Well, try being a successful player with the added pressure of having a Hall of Fame Mom and Dad!
That’s exactly the burden that Richmond University’s T.J. Cline and University of Florida’s Canyon Barry faced when starting their basketball careers. T.J. is the son of Hall of Famer, Sacramento Kings Assistant Coach and NBRPA Board Secretary Nancy Lieberman and Canyon is the son of Hall of Famer and NBRPA Board Member Rick Barry.
Even with high expectations due to legendary DNA, both sons took the challenge head-on and are handling them with great results.
This past week, T.J. was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year. He finished the regular season averaging 18.6 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, and 5.7 assists per game. He was also only one of two Division I players to post multiple triple-doubles.
Speaking to Richmond.com, Nancy beamed about her son’s work ethic and commitment: “I’m just really proud of how he transformed his body and his mind,” she said. “He was ready for his senior year. He did the work. He wanted to be a leader in a lot of different areas.”
Over at Gainesville, Canyon’s accolades aren’t so shabby either. The 23-year-old senior was recently named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year as well as the NCAA Division I Academic Player of the Year. Despite coming off the bench, Canyon is second on the team in scoring averaging 12.5 points per game and leads the team in free throws made in just 22 minutes per contest.
Watch a game of Canyon and you will notice one striking resemblance to his father in his play: his free throw shot! Like Rick, Canyon also shoots his free throws underhanded. “They can’t laugh at you if you make them,” Canyon told The Miami Herald.
In a recent article in Sports Illustrated, Rick remarked of his happiness in watching his son’s accomplishments: “I’m proud of Canyon for so many reasons, and basketball is the least of them,” he told the publication.
Though T.J. and Canyon are honored about their individual accolades, both now have their sights set on leading their teams to glory in their respective tournaments. T.J. will lead Richmond University in the NIT Tournament and Canyon will lead University of Florida in the NCAA Men’s Tournament. Along with their Hall of Fame parents, the NBRPA wishes T.J. and Canyon the best of luck in their journey, said Board Chair Dwight Davis.
About the National Basketball Retired Players Association
The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, WNBA and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to develop, implement and advocate a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA was founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Arnie D. Fielkow is the President and CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Dwight Davis, Vice Chairman Mike Glenn, Treasurer Casey Shaw, Secretary Nancy Lieberman, Rick Barry, James Donaldson, Spencer Haywood, LaRue Martin Jr., David Naves, Johnny Newman and Eldridge Recasner.