Canadians love a good rags-to-riches sotry, weather it involves a homeless man from Ohio (think about 3 months back) or a fictional character like Rocky Balboa or even real life characters such as Chris Daughtry of “American Idol”. Chris was eliminated in the fifth season of American Idol. Not long after his release, he was signed by RCA Records, he went on to form a band called “Daughtry” and sell over a million copies of their album. Impossible? I think not. Either way, we love these type of stories, simply for the fact, that the underdog came on top. When everyone was against them, they found a way to rise to the top.
I am sure you’ve read a few stories like this at some point and may even wonder, why am I sharing this with you? Well the answer is simple; these stories are inspirational. You may have a life long dream or a goal you are striving towards. Whatever your goal or dream, below are a few real life “sports-edition” rags-to-riches stories. I hope that some of these stories inspire you, to continue working towards your goal or at the very least put a smile on your face. Enjoy!
A guy who is short (six foot-two inches) is not your typical point guard in the NBA. On top of that, he has no college experience, a weird looking shot and hails from France. Unlikely you would think, that Tony Parker would one day become an NBA All-Star, NBA Finals MVP and win three NBA Championships. Oh, and let’s not forget, he married Eva Longoria, yet recently he recycled her back into the pond for someone younger. Hmm, never understood that, but anyways, this is about rags-to-riches.
Tony Parker was selected by San Antonio Spurs, 28th overall in the first round. In his first year, he went on to become the first born foreign player (Bruges, Belgium) to be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Who was this guy? Well no one knew, but he sure became someone.
For all you football fans, I am sure this name rings a bell. He was drafted in the ninth round by Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955. Released in the same year, he wound up playing semi-pro football for $6/game. Than his day came, a second opportunity presented it self from Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts. Johnny went on to become one of the greatest football quarterbacks to play the game. He truly became a Hall of Famer, by appearing in 10 Pro Bowls, three league MVP awards and his record of 47 consecutive games, in which he threw at least one touch down pass, still stands today.
Taken 171st overall – ninth round, in the 1984 NHL Draft, he instantly became the King of Los Angeles Kings. In his first year, he became the Rookie of the Year, by winning the Calder Trophy, tallying 45 goals, 39 Assists and 84 points. When he was drafted, he was considered undersized at six foot-one, hence the 171st overall. During the illustrious career, he played for the Kings (three times, 86-94, 97-01 & 03-06), Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings, with whom he won his one and only Stanley Cup in 2002.
Luc was also inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000 and has his number 20, retired by LA Kings. He never gave up on his dream, did not listen to the critices and did the only thing, he knew best, which is to play hockey.
He is considered the best hitting catcher of all time, yet he was almost undrafted to the Major Leagues. Eventually he was chosen by Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 Free Agent Draft. He was the 1,390th player to be selected out of 1,433 total players that year. Even then, he was only selected, because then-Dodgers manager (Tom Lasorda) was a Piazza family friend. Fast forward to now, where he is happily retired, but not before he played 16 years in MLB, was a 12 time all-star, 10 time winner of the Silver Slugger Award. Piazza went on to make millions of dollars, most notably with the New York Mets, at the end of his playing career, where he made between $12 & $16 million per season.
Save the best for last. Kurt was bagging groceries at Hy-Vee Grocery Store, for $5.50/hour and playing Arena Football on weekends. He went undrafted out of college and later he was cut by the Green Bay Packers, following a tryout in 1994. Finally he was signed by the St. Louis Rams of the NFL and assigned to Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals. Interesting enough, during his playing time with the Admirals, Jake Delhomme (another All-Star Quarter Back) was his backup. Kurt eventually wound up back with the St. Louis Rams, played for a few NFL teams and went on to become one of the highest-rated QBs of all time. He also became a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP and won the Super Bowl with Arizona Cardinals.
“It’s not where one starts, but where one ends in life that matters” – Unknown