The Kennedys are synonymous with politics, the Ringling Brothers with entertainment. In similar vogue, the Plumlees are unequivocally a basketball family.
The patriarch, Perky Plumlee, and his wife, Leslie, laid the foundation. Standing 6-7, Perky played college basketball at Tennessee Tech. Leslie stands 6-1 and played D-I ball at Purdue.
Even with the combination of the parents’ genetics and experience, who could have ever guessed that their children, Miles, Mason and Marshall would all grow up to be seven feet tall? Who could guess that the three brothers would all play for legendary college coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University? They did, and furthermore, the three brothers each won a National Championship, the two eldest in 2010, and Marshall in 2015. Even more improbably, all three brothers currently play in the NBA.
For a normal family, a son getting a raise or a new girlfriend would make for a noteworthy week. For the Plumlees, the bar is set a little higher. For instance, in an 11-day span in February, Miles, the oldest brother, was traded from the Bucks to the Hornets, Mason, the middle child, was traded from the Trail Blazers to the Nuggets, and Marshall, the youngest, was recalled from the D-League to the NBA.
“[Trades] are just part of the NBA culture,” Marshall said after a recent Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. “I’m confident in [my brothers] and proud of them wherever they’re playing so I know they’ll be just fine.”
The only parallel in professional sports to the three Plumlee brothers may be the Gronkowskis. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots has three brothers who have also played in the NFL.
“We’re similar in that we are all athletes and we enjoy what we do,” Marshall Plumlee said. “And they’re a pretty impressive and funny family. We’re not exactly like them, but I have a lot of respect for the Gronkowskis.”
Asked if there were any Gronkowski-like, Royal Rumble-esque wrestling matches between the Plumlee brothers when they were kids, Marshall smirked and said, “We used to fight a little bit, but we get along for the most part.”
Marshall is currently focused on trying to advance his career with the New York Knicks. The 7-foot center has split time this season between the New York Knicks and their D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. Marshall feels that moving between the teams has been beneficial.
“Our D-League team is [nearby] in Westchester [New York] and the head coach is extremely in-tune with what we’re doing in our NBA practices, so when I go between teams, the transition is seamless. I’m running the same offense I run [with the Knicks], so… it’s an even better opportunity to work on things that will help the team.”
Asked if he’s noticed any differences between the two teams, Plumlee said, “At the end of the day you’re getting to play basketball and do something you love so no complaints given about it. Yeah, it’s definitely a little different. You probably eat and travel nicer with the NBA. But when it comes to playing 40 minutes, both are great experiences.”