These professional athletes may live lives of unimaginable luxury now, but believe it or not, they once worked terrible jobs too. Nothing takes the glamor out of your favorite sports superstars quite like the image of them donning a fast food uniform, but hey, at least it builds character.
Kurt Warner’s story is an unusual one, to say the least. How many now-famous athletes had to work a terrible, low-paying job even after being given the chance to play for one of the biggest sports teams in the world? Far-fetched as it may sound, that was the reality for the future NFL legend in 1994. After being signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers, the young quarterback was cut from the team before the season began, forcing him to resort to his backup plan: working the night shift at his hometown supermarket for $5.50 an hour.
NFL kicker Robbie Gould may now be hailed as a hero amongst Chicago natives for his athletic dominance, but his ascent to stardom did not always seem so inevitable. As recently as 2005, the future football star was simply a discarded NFL hopeful putting his natural athleticism and razor-sharp precision to use in a significantly less glamorous industry: construction work. Gould had been cut by both the Patriots and the Ravens when he took a part-time construction job, his hopes getting bleaker by the day. Who could have known that he would eventually become a superstar thanks to a very different kind of manual labor?
Those searching for a real-life Cinderella story need look no further: basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo’s journey to success would melt even the coldest of hearts. The 19-year-old hoops sensation has already overcome enough hardship for two lifetimes, having gone from an impoverished child selling toys and begging for money on the streets of Athens to signing million-dollar NBA contracts in just a few years. Needless to say, it is likely that the “Greek Freak” will never have to worry about feeding his family again.
After being suspended from Utah State for fighting with a teammate, Maurice Alexander’s career prospects as a professional football player seemed far from promising. Not only was he excluded from the activity at which he excelled most at a crucial time in his life; he also found himself completely unqualified to do anything else. That is when the future NFL safety opted to return home temporarily and refocus on his career, taking a job as a janitor at the Edward Jones Dome in the meantime. Two years later, Alexander was drafted by the Rams to play football at that very stadium.
As a record-holding NFL superstar, J.J. Watt is likely the source of inspiration for legions of children around the country. Ironically enough, Watt may never have enjoyed such a career in the first place if not for one child that inspired him. In college, the talented tight end had quit playing football and was delivering pizzas for a measly wage when he ran into a 10-year-old boy that recognized him. The boy asking him why he no longer played inspired him to retire his Pizza Hut uniform and get back on the field. The football pro now donates massive amounts of money and time to helping children through his charity work, fitting to character.