Born: June 23, 1979, Texas | Successful For: NFL Legend | Zodiac Sign: Cancer
“I run with heart and determination, and that’s what you can’t measure—heart.”
– LaDainian Tomlinson
Inner Keys to Success:
- LEARN TO STAND ON YOUR OWN 2 FEET AND BE INDEPENDENT: Tragedies occurred in his life which molded him to never depend on anybody. His father left the family when Tomlinson was just seven years old, never paying child support, and he would rarely see his father afterwards. LaDainian Tomlinson’s younger years were further troubled with the death of both his grandfather and brother, leaving him and his mother to support the family. He was forced to become a man far earlier than most and he learned to take care of himself. “I think about my family first. I want my family to not want for anything. I would like to make sure they have no worries.” And when his mother got offered a job out in Dallas during his high school years , it almost seemed like the opportunity he always dreamed of would slip away. LaDainian, would however, beg his mother to let him stay in with a friend, and his family while he played out his senior year. He was not one to give up or give in, but always geared towards making it happen.
- HAVE ROLE MODELS AND FIND YOUR INSPIRATION: His mother, who was a preacher, served a big role in his story as she enrolled young LT into the Pop Warners Little Scholars football program, where he scored a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. She was also extremely supportive of his playing career and instilled great values in him of faith, integrity and hard work. She once paid $750 for LaDainian to participate in the Emmitt Smith Football Camp being held at The University Of North Texas where he apparently received a handoff from Emitt smith himself. “I’m inspired by my family, especially my mother.” The experience would inspire LaDainian’s dreams of becoming a future NFL player. Football was such a big deal for LaDainian’s life that he even slept with a pigskin at night. With an absentee father he searched for role models elsewhere and was hugely inspired by many great running backs during his youth and had several childhood heroes such as Jim brown and Walter Payton who he credits with influencing his mentality and playing style.
- NEVER LOSE FAITH, STAY COMMITTED TO YOUR DESTINATION: “Faith is a strong word in my life. That’s one thing my mother has always stressed to me.” Throughout Ladanian Tomlinson’s career and youth leading to the NFL, he never gave up and remained optimistic. As mentioned earlier, LT faced many difficult obstacles which could have discouraged anyone who did not have the right mindset. When it was time for LaDainian Tomlinson to go to college, many schools recruited him. Nonetheless, he was not considered one of the top running backs, due to the fact he had only played in the position of running back since his senior year. Throughout his college career, he did not earn the respect he deserved and states “But nobody really recruited me: TCU, Baylor, North Texas, UTEP … teams like that. I went on a visit to Kansas State but they didn`t offer me. A&M was waiting on another running back and didn`t offer me. I was overlooked.” Instead, he stayed persistent, which meant his skill and attitude paid off in the end as he will definitely go down in the history books as one of the greatest running backs to play the position. “I’ve been dealing with being overlooked my whole life.”
“I believe in working hard all the time. I have faith that working hard is going to get me where I want to go.”
– LaDainian Tomlinson
Upon finishing high school, he made a promise to his mother and kept his word like his usual honest self by earning his degree in communications and would be drafted to the SD chargers as the 5th overall pick. Outside of the game, Ladainian Tomlinson is regarded to be one of the classiest and nicest players in the NFL, and is known for his acts of kindness. He donated to such charities as the operation kids foundation, his own Tomlinson’s touching lives foundation, and celebrity fight night foundation where he received the Muhammad Ali Sports Achievement Award at the 2008 event.
“I don’t worry about things I can’t control.”
– LaDainian Tomlinson
- Image: Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-17012.jpg
- Image: Creative Commons By Keith Allison http://www.flickr.com/photos/27003603@N00/2310863863
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