5 Famous Athletes Who Started in Other Sports

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Throughout sports history, there have been numerous instances where exceptional athletes showcased their incredible versatility by excelling in sports different from their original disciplines. These athletes’ journeys from one sport to another are nothing short of inspiring and have left an indelible mark on the sporting world. Here are five famous athletes who began their careers in another sport.

a pile of tennis balls sitting on top of a rack
Photo by Elizabeth Dunne

Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson is the epitome of a multi-talented athlete. In his youth, Jackson was an avid baseball player and was drafted by the New York Yankees out of high school. However, he chose to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship. Bo went on to become a standout running back for the Auburn Tigers and was subsequently drafted by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite this, he pursued baseball simultaneously and later joined the Kansas City Royals. Bo Jackson became the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major professional sports and left an indelible legacy in both baseball and football.

Michael Jordan

Known as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan’s journey to basketball excellence was not the traditional route. In his early years, Jordan’s passion was for baseball. He briefly retired from basketball in 1993 and signed a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. However, he eventually returned to basketball and led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships, earning five MVP awards along the way.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese football legend, initially focused on another sport during his childhood: boxing. Ronaldo started training as a boxer before deciding to pursue football full-time. His dedication to the sport paid off, and he developed into one of the most successful and celebrated footballers in history, winning numerous domestic league titles and five Ballon d’Or awards.

Ashleigh Barty

Before becoming the world No. 1 in women’s tennis, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty was a prodigious cricketer. She excelled in the sport during her early years, even representing her country in youth competitions. However, Barty chose to switch to tennis, where she found even greater success. Her tennis prowess has earned her multiple Grand Slam titles and the adoration of fans worldwide.

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Photo by Vicky Adams

Usain Bolt

The fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt, had an unexpected beginning in sports. As a child, Bolt had a keen interest in cricket and focused on becoming a fast bowler. It wasn’t until he was 12 years old that his cricket coach recognized his incredible sprinting ability and encouraged him to pursue track and field. This decision led Bolt to win numerous Olympic gold medals and set world records in the 100m and 200m sprints.

These athletes’ journeys from one sport to another demonstrate their resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to their passions. They serve as a reminder that greatness knows no boundaries, and with determination, hard work, and a love for the game, athletes can conquer new sports and leave an everlasting impact on the sporting landscape.

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