Anyone who has followed Boston public schools sports the last few years probably knows the name David Stewart.
The Madison Park senior football player and basketball player made a name for himself in the Cardinals' run to the Division 1 South sectional championship as a tough-as-nails cleanup man under the boards. He was just as hard-nosed for Madison Park’s football team in its run to the Division 4A Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium this fall.
But the name David Stewart means something entirely different at South Boston High.
That’s because the Knights have their own David Stewart, a 6-foot-7-inch center playing his first season of varsity basketball.
And what most people don’t realize is that the two Stewarts don't just share the same name, they share the same father as well.
“It’s a good name, I love the name,” said the boys’ father who is also named, you guessed it, David Stewart — well David Stewart, Sr. “It’s a strange thing but it’s a good thing.
"My father always said ‘When you call one, you want both of their attention.’ ”
The 18-year-olds are technically half brothers, but judging from the frequency they text message each other and the competitiveness of their one-on-one battles on the basketball court and in video games, there’s no telling the difference.
“It’s my brother, I talk to him every day,” said the Stewart who attends South Boston and is older by a few months. “Well, really, text message; I don’t really talk to him, he gets annoying.”
Spoken like a true older brother.
But the older brother still has followed his younger brother’s career at Madison Park pretty closely.
“At the end of the day that’s still my brother, you gotta be his No. 1 fan,” he said.
They both live in Dorchester with their respective mothers but have a close relationship with their father, who also lives in Dorchester. Their grandmother calls them David 1 and David 2.
David Stewart Sr. said when the younger David's mom asked him about naming their son David, he said he already had a son named David but if she was comfortable with it he would be too.
“To me, in our family, they are brothers. That’s how we leave it, we never said 'half-brothers' but brothers,” said senior. “We treat both the same. When I go out and buy them things I buy them the same thing just different colors.
“I think as brothers they love each other, they respect each other and I’m proud of that. When they were younger, there were little rifts but nothing [major]. I’ve been pretty fortunate.”
They attended different elementary and middle schools growing up and have two different groups of friends. Eventually friends found out they had a brother with the same name. But while a joke might be made here and there, they both said nobody gave them a hard time.
When their social scenes do mixed up, nobody knows they are brothers at first because the elder Stewart mostly goes by “Bones,” thanks to his tall and skinny frame.
“At first, nobody knew we were brothers but it caught on,” the younger Stewart said. “Some people would say our name and both of us would look at them. That’s how they caught on. People are like, ‘Who named you that,' and I’m like ‘Our father.’ And they just start laughing.”
Growing up, the older Stewart always dominated his brother in one-on-one basketball, especially because he played in middle school while his younger brother didn’t pick up organized basketball until freshman year.
“He would dominate me, if we did one-on-one he’d win by three points or two points till I started practicing on my own and I got better,” said the younger Stewart, noting that he didn’t finally beat his brother until they were both 15 years old.
Ironically, the younger Stewart was always bigger than his brother until the older Stewart hit his growth spurt in 10th grade and jumped up to 6-7. His 6-3 younger brother is still nothing to sneeze at in the height department.
“I gotta look up to him now,” the younger Stewart said. “When we was younger, even though he was older, he was looking up to me.”
And now that they are both finally playing varsity athletics at the same time, they don’t get to play against each other because Madison Park and South Boston don’t play under the new division realignment for boys’ basketball in the city league.
“I’m a little bummed because I like going to Madison and playing there,” the elder Stewart said. “It’s intense and I like the competition.”
Their father is proud that both his sons have found their way athletically but he also hopes that they find their way in life as well.
“They’ve been doing pretty well sports wise and things,” he said. “I just also want them to stay focused on their learning and always have something to fall back on. I’m a contractor. I work with my hands. I think if these guys do good there’s a chance they could work with their brains and not with their hands.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.