Not since Sister Sledge hit the charts with "We Are Family" (1979), has siblinghood been celebrated quite so loudly as today. The bonds of blood have become big headlines — and figure to stay that way at least until one Harbaugh falls.

We have brothers in conflict: The Super Bowl pitting San Francisco's head coach Jim Harbaugh against Baltimore's John. Or is that the other way around? Anyway, by the time the hype mill is done machining that storyline, Cain vs. Abel will look like "Leave it to Beaver" by comparison.

And as of Thursday, we have brothers together in the outfield: Why, we're officially up to our armpits in Uptons, the Braves trading for Justin to join free-agent acquisition B.J. The Braves are banking much on the power of brotherly glove.

A French writer once declared that, "A brother is a friend given by Nature."

Justin Upton, the younger and more outgoing of the two, put the sibling relationship a bit more bluntly: "I wouldn't be the player I am if (B.J.) cut me any slack," he said to USA Today a few years back.

The Uptons tell a story that is oh-so common among sporting brothers and sisters, one that helps to explain why there are so many examples of family ties in athletics. There are benefits to growing up together in a sports-centric household, feeding off each other's competitive instincts, transforming the natural sibling rivalry into training for bigger games to come.

Because of the three years separating them, the Uptons played little organized ball together. Just one year on a fall travel team, the Tidewater (Va.) Mets, when Justin was a high school freshman and B.J. a senior.