Underdog Stories: Players Who Finally Got Their Chance

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Mike Ehrmann

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Joshua Lasarte, SPORTS EDITOR

   With the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft, the New England Patriots took quarterback Tom Brady late in the sixth round. Brady was lightly recruited coming out of college and was mostly a backup at the University of Michigan. 20 years later Brady is known as the greatest quarterback of all time and holds the record for most Super bowl wins with six. 

 

   Brady is just one of the examples of all the athletes who weren’t highly recruited or were overlooked but ended up being one of the best players. Players are supposed to be as good as their ranking but in some cases, athletes may have peaked or they may not have developed to the next level. Some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history were backups, even Michael Jordan was kicked off of his high school basketball team. 

 

   NFL legend Brett Farve started out as just a backup for Atlanta until they traded him to the Green Bay Packers where he became one of the greatest to play the game. Farve was given the name the gunslinger for his ability to launch the ball downfield and throw the ball wherever he wanted. At the peak of his NFL career, Farve won three straight MVP awards from 1995-1997 and became an 11-time Pro Bowler. In 1997, Brett Farve led his team to a Super bowl victory over the Patriots solidifying his hall of fame career. 

 

   A quarterback who has been compared to Brett Farve is current NFL quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. In the small town of Whitehouse, Texas, Patrick, the son of an MLB player started his football career where he gained a three-star ranking in high school. He wasn’t highly recruited so he stayed home and attended Texas Tech where he lit up the stat sheets. Mahomes ended up getting drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs where he was a backup for a year. 

 

   In his two years as a starter, Mahomes has over 9,100 yards and 76 touchdowns along with an MVP award and a Super bowl victory. Owen Galvin said, “He will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in history because of his arm and dual-threat ability.” With such a short career Mahomes has become a human highlight reel and signed the largest contract in sports history, 10 years for $503 million. 

 

      Before Jimmy Butler would dawn the monicker of  “Jimmy Buckets” and lead Miami to the Eastern Conference Finals, he was a homeless 13-year-old who was kicked out of his house. Butler was only a two-star recruit coming out of high school and attended Tyler Junior College before being able to transfer to Marquette University. 

 

   Since then, Jimmy has won the most improved player award, five-time NBA all-star, and a four-time all NBA defensive team player. Radliff Jeantinor said, “His underdog mentality really helped him grow as a person and a player.” In his nine years as an NBA, Butler has earned a reputation as one of the hardest workers in the league and one of the most competitive players.

 

   Ja Morant is known as one of the best young players in the NBA, but his road to becoming one of the NBA’s most electrifying high flying players is an extraordinary one. Before winning the rookie of the year award Ja was a scrawny high school student who was under-recruited. At an AAU tournament, a college scout decided to get a snack when he heard another game at a different court and decided to poke his head in.

 

   After seeing Morant dunk all over his competition he offered him a college scholarship to the small division-1 school Murray State. In his one and only year in college Ja had an insane year averaging 24.5 points and 10 assists but was bounced from the tournament in the second round. His year was so amazing that the Memphis Grizzlies picked up Morant as the second overall pick. 

 

   Steph Curry is thought to be the greatest shooter and second-best point guard in NBA history, but he wasn’t always thought to be the star he is today. Curry was just a small skinny point guard that had great handles and was a great shooter. Only a three-star recruit the only school that had a serious interest was Davidson. After three years at Davidson, Curry was drafted seventh overall and has had one of the greatest careers in history. Curry has three championships, two MVP awards, and holds the record for most threes made in the playoffs.

 

   All these players never quit and continued to persevere through whatever was thrown at them. These guys are inspirations to millions because of how they never quit and this shows that even the best players can be overlooked.