|ESPN.com: News & Opinion||[Print without images]|
The bond between a father and his daughter is always a special one, but in the case of these women, the "Daddy's girl" moniker is particularly fitting. This Sunday these very accomplished women will give an extra-big thank you to their fathers for giving them the genes and the guts to go out and make their mark in the sports world.
These gals really followed in Dad's footsteps, finding success in the same sport that made their fathers famous.
Laila Ali: No discussion of father-daughter duos would be complete without boxing legend Muhammad Ali and his daughter, Laila. The 5-foot-10 super middleweight went 24-0 in her career, winning 21 of her matches by knockout. While she never got in the ring with the top-ranked fighters of her day, she did bring publicity and popularity to women's boxing. Since her last fight in 2007, Ali has been busy taking care of her two kids with husband Curtis Conway while working as an actress and TV host, recording an album and promoting her line of skin-care products.
Jacqui Frazier-Lyde: The daughter of the legendary Joe Frazier, Jacqui didn't take up boxing until age 38. A former college basketball player, the lawyer and mother of three was inspired to don the gloves after hearing of Laila Ali's career. Both women were undefeated when they faced off in 2001 in the first pay-per-view boxing card headlined by female fighters. Ali won by a majority decision in eight rounds, handing Frazier-Lyde the only loss of her 14-match career. Frazier-Lyde is now a Municipal Court judge in Philadelphia.
Maya Moore: Mike Dabney, father of the UConn standout, was a terrific hoops player in his own right, helping an undefeated 1976 Rutgers squad make a trip to the Final Four, the first in Scarlet Knights history. An honorable mention All-America guard when he played for assistant coach Dick Vitale at Rutgers, Dabney was taken by the Lakers in the third round of the '76 draft. Moore was raised by her mother, Kathryn, and Dabney wasn't in her life until her senior year in high school. Their relationship may be new, but his basketball genes have played a role in her success since day one.
These ladies got good genes from their dads but decided to take their own talents to another field.
Diana Taurasi: The four-time WNBA All-Star and former UConn superstar is one of the greatest women's basketball players of all time, but she almost gave up on hoops. When she was a teenager, it was her dad, Mario, a former professional soccer goalie, who told her that she should choose basketball over soccer. Born in Italy, Mario spent several years as a goalkeeper in Argentina, but he believed hoops was a better choice for a girl growing up in the U.S. Good genes and good advice -- no wonder Diana grew up to be a star.
Logan Tom: An NCAA champion at Stanford, three-time Olympic indoor volleyball player, silver medalist in Beijing and co-captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Logan grew up watching her dad play in the NFL. Mel Tom was a defensive lineman who played nine seasons in the league -- seven with the Eagles and two with the Bears.
Katie Smith: The all-time leading scorer in women's professional basketball, Smith has recorded more than 7,000 career points between the ABL and the WNBA. She grew up in a family of athletes and was inspired by her father, John Jr., who was a college football player at Ohio University.
Keelin Winters: The Boston Breakers midfielder and former captain of the U.S. U-20 women's national soccer team grew up playing basketball under the tutelage of her dad, Brian. Soccer is her first love, but hoops flows through her veins, as her father is a former NBA player and a well-traveled coach. A two-time NBA All-Star, Brian has coached for the Cavs, Hawks, Grizzlies, Warriors and WNBA's Fever. Keelin quit basketball in high school so she could focus on soccer and has since been teaching her hoops-loving dad to love "the beautiful game," too.
In a few years these athlete ingenues might compete with their dads for the sporting spotlight.
Sydney Moss: The daughter of NFL wide receiver Randy Moss is headed to the University of Florida to play basketball in 2012.
Tristine Johnson: The UNC jumper is following in the hops, steps and jumps of her hurdler and triple jumper father, gold medalist, three-time Olympian and NCAA champion Allen Johnson.
Sami Fagan: The former Florida Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPN RISE first-team All-American has signed on to play softball for the Florida Gators in the fall. Her dad, Kevin Fagan, won three Super Bowls as a defensive end with the San Francisco 49ers.