Unless you were listening closely at the draft or caught Tina Cervasio's summer league interviews, you might not know that Toney Douglas isn't the first professional athlete in his family. In fact, his older brother Harry is going into his second year as a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. As youngsters, both Douglas bros were multi-sport stars, and Jonathan Abrams' piece in the Times profiles the co-development of a pair of top-flight athletes focusing their talents.
Their brotherly bickering was largely limited to the one-on-one games. While growing up, each excelled at basketball, football and baseball. Together, they made a two-man show on the basketball team, and fans packed the stands in the tiny gym at Jonesboro High School so tight that the fire department routinely turned people away. But Harry craved more contact than is common in basketball.
Toney’s decision was simpler and based in the same casual manner that one would choose a shirt to wear in the morning.
"I don’t like the sun like that," he said, smiling. "I can play football and baseball, but I decided on basketball. And there’s a lot of action in basketball. In football, you’ve got to wait; in baseball you’ve got to wait."
"His brother really is his role model," their father said. "He’ll tell him what he should be doing and what he’s not doing. Toney really takes it well. He takes it better from his brother than me. With his brother playing professional football and seeing his brother do what he did, that really inspired him to prove he can do it, too."
Any other older brothers out there feeling kinda mediocre now? While Harry Douglas was pushing his brother to stardom, I was pushing my brother down the stairs. True story. Anyway, despite nearly falling out of the first round, Toney Douglas looks every bit the professional, both on and off the court. At least some of that must be attributed to having a good older brother who's one step ahead of him in the process and ready to impart wisdom and/or noogies whenever needed.
(Sidenote: If Nate Robinson stays a Knick, how long will it be before he tells Toney he could shut down his brother?)