If you are a fan of basketball or baseball, you might have heard of two players with the same name: Kenny Lofton. One is a former MLB center fielder who played for 11 teams in his 17-year career, and the other is a current NBA forward who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. But are they related? The answer is no, they are not.
Kenny Lofton Sr: A Baseball Legend
Kenny Lofton Sr was born on May 31, 1967, in East Chicago, Indiana. He grew up playing basketball and baseball, and attended the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship. He was part of the Wildcats team that reached the Final Four in 1988, where he played alongside future NBA stars Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr.
Lofton did not join the baseball team until his junior year, but he impressed enough to be drafted by the Houston Astros in the 17th round of the 1988 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 1991, and was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1992. He became a star in Cleveland, where he played for nine and a half seasons, helping the team win six division titles and reach two World Series.
Lofton was known for his speed, defense, and leadoff hitting. He was a six-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and a five-time AL stolen base leader. He ranks 15th on the all-time stolen base list with 622. He also played for 10 other teams in his career, including the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago White Sox, the San Francisco Giants, and the New York Yankees. He retired in 2007, after playing his final game with the Indians.
Lofton has been involved in various business ventures since his retirement, including film production and sports broadcasting. He also runs a charity foundation that supports youth education and health. He was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2010.
Kenny Lofton Jr: A Rising Star
Kenny Lofton Jr was born on August 14, 2002, in Port Arthur, Texas. He is not related to Kenny Lofton Sr, but he shares his name because his father was a fan of the baseball player. He played basketball for Memorial High School in Port Arthur, where he won a state title in his sophomore year. He averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists per game as a senior, earning All-State honors and a McDonald’s All-American nomination.
Lofton Jr signed with Louisiana Tech University to play college basketball. He had a stellar freshman season, averaging 12.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and winning the Conference USA Freshman of the Year award. He improved his numbers as a sophomore, averaging 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, and making the First Team All-Conference USA.
Lofton Jr declared for the 2022 NBA draft after his sophomore season, but he went undrafted. He signed a two-way contract with the Memphis Grizzlies on July 2, 2022. He made his NBA debut on October 22, 2022, scoring four points in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He has been playing mostly for the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, where he has been dominating with his size and strength. He was named to the G League’s inaugural Next Up Game, and won the G League Rookie of the Year award. On April 8, 2023, the Grizzlies converted his deal into a standard NBA contract.
Lofton Jr is listed at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, making him one of the heaviest players in the NBA. He plays as a power forward or center, and has been compared to Zion Williamson for his physicality and explosiveness. He has also shown a versatile skill set, with an ability to score inside and outside, pass, rebound, and defend.
Kenny Lofton Jr and Kenny Lofton Sr are two different athletes who happen to share a name. They are not related by blood or by marriage. They both have impressive resumes in their respective sports, and have earned respect and admiration from fans and peers alike. They are examples of hard work, talent, and perseverance in their fields.