Item: 20-year-old Danish identical twins win successive events on the European golf tour. Nicolai Hojgaard wins the Italian Open a week after twin brother Rasmus wins the Omega European Masters. How cool is that?
Which leads me to thinking abut notable identical twins in sports, starting with the first ones I encountered, North Trenton Little League All-Stars Mickey and Ronnie Kessler, oh, about 64 or 65 years ago.
The following is not intended to be the definitive list of accomplished athletic identical twins. It’s just a list.
Tiki and Ronde Barber
This has to be the NFL’s premier identical twin duo. Tiki ran for 10,449 yards and 55 touchdowns for the Giants during his 10-year career. Brother Ronde was a decorated cornerback who spent his entire 16-year career with the Buccaneers.
Bob and Mike Bryan
The greatest doubles duo in tennis history? Absolutely. The Bryans won 16 Grand Slam titles and more than 1,000 matches, both records.
Jose and Ozzie Canseco
Forgot about Ozzie, didn’t you? Sure, everybody knows the flamboyant Jose Canseco, basher of 462 home runs who was the 1988 American League MVP and six-time All-Star. Ozzie’s big league career consisted of 24 games for the A’s and Cardinals. But perhaps he fooled a few people at a bar or two.
Phil and Paul Judson
Who? The great Jerome Holtzman, author of the controversial save rule, tipped me off on this one. The hamlet of Hebron, Ill., (2019 population: 1,469) won the 1952 Illinois state basketball championship. Yup, a “Hoosiers” deal right next door. The high school had 98 students, two of whom were twins Phil and Paul Judson. Jerome always claimed he saw one of them throw the ball off the backboard with the other one taking the carom and putting the ball in the hoop. Pretty good for 1952.
Devin and Jason McCourty
No way I was ignoring our guys. Devin will be a Patriots Hall of Famer, at the very least. On top of his obvious skills, his leadership qualities will be hard to duplicate. I can’t imagine how much fun they had playing together in Foxborough the past three years.
Pam and Paula McGee
The McGee twins teamed with Cheryl Miller and Cynthia Cooper to bring USC back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983-84. Pam is a member of the WNBA Hall of Fame, and is the mother of longtime NBA player JaVale McGee, as well as WNBA player Imani McGee-Stafford. How about that?
Markieff and Marcus Morris
They have played a combined 1,362 NBA games, each playing for six teams. Marcus is a career 12.2-point scorer, while Markieff averages 11.0.
Barry and Garry Nelson
Each 6 feet 10 inches tall and blond, they were Duquesne standouts from 1968-69 through ‘70-71. Barry spent a year with the Bucks. Reached the apex of their fame by appearing on the set with Mr. Rogers. How come? Because the show was produced in Pittsburgh; that’s why. Location, location, location . . .
Johnny and Eddie O’Brien
Now we’re talking . . . these 5-9 Jersey natives starred — and I mean starred at Seattle University in the early ‘50s. Johnny was the first man to score 1,000 points in one season in NCAA history, and was a first-team All-American as a senior. The Chieftains we’re 90-17 with them in the lineup. Both were drafted by the NBA, but neither went there. Instead, the O’Briens took their talents to Major League Baseball. Johnny played in 339 games for the Pirates, Cardinals, and Braves. Eddie’s 231-game career was spent entirely in Pittsburgh. They made history when the first appeared in the same game.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin
Vancouver’s resident twin terrors.
Henrik (1,330 games): 240 goals, 830 assists, 1,070 points.
Daniel (1,306 games): 393 goals, 648 assists, 1,041 points.
Yes, but could they conquer the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final? No. Ha!
Dick and Tom Van Arsdale
The 6-5 swing guys were the same player, with the same signature spin move during their 12-year NBA careers. Dick started with New York, but his best days were in Phoenix. Tom played for Detroit, Cincinnati/KC, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, before joining up with brother Dick in Phoenix a year after the Suns had made the Finals. But they missed the playoffs in 1977-78, and thus Tom still holds the record of games played without ever making the playoffs.
Dick (921 games): 16.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, .464 FG pct., .790 FT pct.
Tom (929 games): 15.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, .431 FG pct., .762 FT pct.
See? Same player.
What is it with Stanford? Basketball twins Jason and Jarron Collins went there, as did twins Brook and Robin Lopez. Tara VanDerveer’s reigning national champion women’s squad features identical twins Lexie and Lacey Hull. And men’s coach Johnny Dawkins had identical twins Marcus and Malcolm Allen a few years back.
OK, who’d I forget?
Bob Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.