In the world of sports, the bond between mothers and their athletic children is especially notable. In fact, it is not uncommon for parents to place bets on their children ‘making it’ in professional sports. MLB bets today are not just who will win the World Series, but who will play for the Boston Red Sox or win the MLB MVP award 20 years from now!
Let’s explore the top professionals who were lucky enough to have strong mothers guiding them through their early careers, and in some cases later years too.
The Williams Sisters
Before becoming globally recognized as the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus grew up in Compton, California, under the guidance of their mother, Oracene Price. Introduced to tennis by both parents, it was Oracene who fostered their resilience.
On the humble courts of Compton, Serena and Venus practiced diligently. Oracene, more than just a tennis coach, emphasized discipline, respect, determination and the value of family. Her goal was to mold them into resilient women, ready to face life’s challenges first, and from this, tennis and superstardom would surely follow.
To say that this dedication worked would be an understatement. Each sister achieved the global No. 1 ranking in singles. Over their careers, Venus secured 49 singles titles, and Serena clinched 73. Serena is considered by most to be the best female tennis player of all time — not bad for two sisters from Compton!
When you consider Ronda Rousey, the MMA fighter, you can trace her strength back to her mother, AnnMaria De Mars, a former American Judo champion. Stories of AnnMaria’s achievements inspired young Ronda, teaching her discipline and dedication.
During intense training sessions, AnnMaria taught Judo techniques to Ronda, embedding both combat skills and life values. Her mother, having faced top opponents herself, guided Ronda both in mastering Judo and in navigating life’s challenges.
Ronda Rousey used this training to her advantage. Her significant achievements include 11 first-round wins, the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight championship, Olympic bronze in judo during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and being dubbed the “world’s most dominant athlete” by Sports Illustrated in 2015.
With a net worth estimated to be around $12m today, Ronda has certainly ticked most boxes when it comes to defining what success is. We are sure that her mother is extremely proud to this day.
Kevin Durant’s success is closely intertwined with the sacrifices of his mother, Wanda Durant. Kevin emotionally dubbed her the “real MVP”, hinting at their shared journey through tough times. Wanda was more than just a mother; she provided Kevin with everything he needed to reach the top, on and off the court. The basketball court became their escape from a hard life in Maryland, where Kevin not only improved his game but also absorbed the values needed to be a professional sportsman, all thanks to Wanda’s guidance.
Kevin Durant boasts an impressive basketball career matched by only a very few. He was honored as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2014 and has been selected as an NBA All-Star 13 times between 2010 and 2023. Durant shone during these All-Star games, securing the MVP title twice in 2012 and 2019. In addition, he’s been recognized on the All-NBA First Team six times and the All-NBA Second Team four times.
The Murray Brothers
In her youth, Judy Murray secured 64 Scottish tennis championships. Although she explored a professional tennis career, she later chose the academic route. As a coach, she guided her sons, Andy and Jamie Murray, during their formative years. Beyond her sons, Judy has mentored numerous players under the Lawn Tennis Association and led the British Fed Cup team as captain from 2011 to 2016. Between her accomplished sons, Jamie has clinched seven Grand Slam doubles titles, while Andy boasts three Grand Slam victories and two Olympic gold medals. All this success would not have been possible without the knowledge imparted to them by their talented and dedicated mother.
As we can see, mothers can play a strong role in the development of superstar athletes. When a mother’s guidance and unwavering belief become the driving force behind an athlete’s success, the narrative takes on an added depth and resonance. From the courts of Compton to the home of Ronda Rousey, these tales are a testament to the unique and powerful role of maternal coaches who have left a big imprint in the world of sports through their children.