Shane Larkin’s father Barry played Major League Baseball. Photo by: Claudio Degaspari (flickr).
Shane Larkin has followed his father’s path, if not exactly stepping along in his father’s footsteps.
Barry Larkin was a baseball star. His son Shane is a basketball star with Turkish powerhouse Anadolu Efes. The 14-time league champions are annually among the favored squads in the online sports betting odds on the Turkish Basketball Super League.
In 2018-19, Shane Larkin led Anadolu Efes to the EuroLeague final, where they came up short, losing to CSKA Moscow.
Teammate Chris Singleton, like Larkin a former NBA player, described Larkin as the best player performing in the 2019 EuroLeague.
His father isn’t at all surprised to see that Shane has grown up to be a dominant player on the hardwood.
“He is maniacal about work, work, work, work, work,” Barry Larkin said of his son in the documentary InShane. “But I certainly knew as a father, and more importantly, as an athlete, that he had something special very, very early, probably (around) five, six, seven years old.
"To see the things that we worked on when he was seven, him doing now when he's 27, it's just absolutely amazing."
Barry Larkin represented the USA in baseball at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games, winning a silver medal. Shane plays international basketball for Turkey.
Barry Larkin was a 12-time NL All-Star selection with the Cincinnati Reds. Photo by: RickDikeman (Wikimedia).
While it’s clearly evident that they share common traits in terms of character, and determination, Shane took an entirely different path to athletic excellence than the one traveled by his father.
Barry Larkin played shortstop and was a two-time All-American at the University of Michigan, even though he was originally recruited to Michigan on a football scholarship. He led the Wolverines to berths in the 1983 and 1984 College World Series. The elder Larkin was named Big Ten Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985. His number 16 was retired by the school on May 1, 2010.
Turning pro with his hometown team the Cincinnati Reds, Barry Larkin was a 12-time National League All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner. He was selected MVP of the NL in 1995. The season following his MVP win, Larkin hit a career-high 33 home runs and stole 36 bases, becoming the first shortstop in MLB history to join the exclusive 30-30 club.
On June 27-28, 1991, Larkin became the first shortstop ever to hit five home runs over the span of two consecutive games. During 19 seasons with the Reds, he batted .295 with 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. In 2012, Barry Larkin was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Reds also enshrined him in their Hall of Fame and retired the No. 11 jersey he wore during his career with the team.
Another trait both father and son share is an innate ability to bring their best game to the fore in the most important settings.
Barry Larkin batted .353 as the Reds swept the heavily-favored Oakland A’s to win the 1990 World Series. He also batted. 389 for the Reds against the Atlanta Braves in the 1995 NL Championship Series.
Playing a starring role on the biggest stage is also a talent that Shane continues to display. In the 2018-19 EuroLeague semi-final match against fellow Turkish club Fenerbahce, Larkin scored 30 points to lead his club to a 92-73 victory. His Performance Index Rating (PFI) for that game was 43, a new EuroLeague Final Four record.
"He always wants the ball in his hands in the ballgame, and he always would practice on making game-winning shots,” Barry Larkin said.
Even though Anadolu Efes lost 91-83 to CSKA Moscow in the final, Shane led all scorers with 29 points, a record total for a EuroLeague championship game. His two-game total of 59 points was also a new EuroLeague Final Four standard.
“That's something, as a basketball player, it's something I believe,” Shane Larkin said. “You should always want the responsibility. That's one of the reasons I love playing in Europe, because that is my responsibility.
“The teams that I'm on, the coaches look at me and at the end of the games, they're like, ‘Alright, get Shane the ball.’”
That level of clutch performance was also delivered by Shane Larkin in the 2018-19 Turkish Basketball Super League final. Larkin scored 38 points in leading Efes to an 89–74 win and the club’s first Turkish league title in a decade. He was named TBSL Finals MVP.
In a Nov. 29, 2019 EuroLeague win over Bayern Munich, Shane scored 49 points. That’s the highest total registered by a player in EuroLeague competition since 2000.
On Top Of His Game
Shane Larkin played in the NBA before coming to Turkey. Photo by: GSankary (flickr).
Another commonality between father and son - both Barry and Shane Larkin played their chosen sports at the highest level.
Selected 18th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2013 NBA Draft, Shane spent 256 games in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.
In 2017, he turned down a $6.3 million offer from Spanish club Baskonia to sign with the Celtics. He played 54 games for Boston during the 2017-18 season.