HOUSTON -- For many families, holiday gatherings might include a friendly game of pickup basketball in the driveway or a couple hours of low-key baseball or football in the backyard. The object? Complete some clean passes, score a touchdown or two, and, for goodness sake, try not to pull a
HOUSTON -- For many families, holiday gatherings might include a friendly game of pickup basketball in the driveway or a couple hours of low-key baseball or football in the backyard. The object? Complete some clean passes, score a touchdown or two, and, for goodness sake, try not to pull a hammy.
Those stakes may have been a little higher for members of the Maybin family, whose gene pool is something to be admired. Imagine a family gathering that includes some combination of the following: a Major League outfielder, an NFL running back, two NFL linebackers, an NBA guard and a WNBA guard.
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That's how the family tree looks to Astros outfielder Cameron Maybin, who comes from a long line of accomplished athletes on both sides. It's normal to him, but he also realizes that these kinds of ties in one family is highly unusual.
"Now that we're older, we talk about it -- 'This is crazy,'" Maybin said. "This family has so many good athletes."
Maybin's third cousin, John Avery, is a former first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins and played two years in the NFL and seven in the CFL. Another cousin, Aaron Maybin, is also a former first-rounder, a linebacker who played for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, as well as the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL.
Maybin's cousin, Marques Maybin, was a star basketball player at the University of Louisville, and Marques' son, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, is currently a linebacker for the Detroit Lions.
Maybin's first cousins on his mother's side are products of the NBA and WNBA -- Rashad McCants, a shooting guard who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings, and Rashanda McCants, a guard/forward who played for the Minnesota Lynx and Tulsa Shock during her WNBA career.
Imagine growing up in a family like this.
"It got competitive really fast," Maybin recalled.
Like many of his cousins, Maybin is also a former first-round pick. He was selected by the Tigers with the 10th overall pick in the 2005 Draft and was the youngest player in the American League when he debuted two years later at the age of 20.
Now 30, Maybin is playing in his first postseason with the Astros, who are one win away from advancing to the American League Championship Series. The series moves to Boston today with the Astros leading 2-0 over the Red Sox in the best-of-five matchup in the ALDS presented by Doosan.
Perhaps having so many relatives to push him as a kid helped Maybin develop into a solid Major Leaguer. While his early memories entail little more than being the little cousin who emulated Rashad, as the kids got older, the competitiveness was at a premium.
"Every holiday, my dad would come out and say, 'Whoa. You've got college basketball and you've got a big high school season coming up,'" Maybin recalled. "'We need to relax a little bit.'" The older we got, when I felt like I got to the point where I could hang, it got real competitive."
It was mostly Maybin and Rashad going toe to toe, until Rashanda, as Maybin said, "Came out of nowhere and was like, 'I can outshoot everybody.'"
Where did all this athleticism come from? It doesn't take more than a quick glance at the prior generation to understand the origins.
Maybin's maternal grandfather is Deacon Jones, who played briefly in the big leagues in the 1960s. His dad, Rudy, and his three brothers were all exceptional athletes. Rudy played baseball, and all the brothers played basketball and football. One of the brothers, Michael Maybin Sr., played tight end and wide receiver at Appalachian State in the 1970s.
"I guess you could say [Michael] was the most athletic of all the brothers," Maybin said. "It kind of started there and just branched out. We have a lot of athletes, even ones that may not have made it [professionally]."
The next generation may be in line for greatness, too. Maybin and some of his cousins now have kids of their own, and while it's still too early to really know where the little ones are headed athletically, the signs are already there.
"You can see it passed down through the kids," Maybin said. "My older son is 9, and he's a great little athlete. You can see the talent. And my 4-year-old is bigger than his big brother."
Rashad's kids appear to have been blessed, as well.
"See how big they are and how coordinated ... you can see it at an early age," Maybin said.
So maybe the list of first-round draftees in this family is not yet complete.
"Just being able to see and know what the gene pool holds," Maybin said. "They don't even know."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.