How Athletes Made Their Way From the Bottom to the Top

LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1984. His mother, Gloria James, was only 16 years old when she gave birth to him and his father, Anthony McClelland, was rarely present in his life since he spent time most of his time in jail. Because of this, Gloria tried to raise LeBron on her own, but struggled greatly. James had to move constantly and lived in as many as six locations in a single year. He hardly attended school and was exposed to drugs. “I saw drugs, guns, killings; it was crazy,” LeBron stated in an interview. However, when his coach, Frank Walker, offered to give James a stable and safe home, his life changed forever. He was now able to attend school and play the sport he is extremely talented in. 

Luka Modric´ was born in Zadar, Croatia, in 1985. At 6 years old, he and his family became refugees due to the Bosnia war and thus had to escape. His father, Stipe Modric´, was a mechanic who fixed cars for the Croatian soldiers so he had a decent job to support his family. They settled in a cheap hotel and Luka spent his days kicking a soccer ball in the hotel parking lot. He was in constant danger since the sounds of bombs were never that far away and had to watch for landmines in every step he took. Nonetheless, Modric´ explained in an interview how the war made him stronger even though it was a traumatic experience for him and his family. He did not let the war stop him from playing soccer, and now he is a greatly, recognized, professional soccer player. 

Novak Djokovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1987 during wartime. He was raised in poverty and his family did not have access to basic necessities such as food and water. Despite that, Djokovic stated that growing up in an environment like this helped him become “stronger and hungrier for success” ; he manages to keep winning in pressure situations because of what he went through during his childhood.

Mike Tyson, a former professional boxer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1966. He was born into a low-income family and in a dangerous neighborhood. His father abandoned them, and his mother was left with the burden of raising three children on her own. Tyson explained in an interview how he was molested as a kid which forced him to be tough. Because of the high crime rate in his neighborhood, he had to learn self-defense since violent fights were common. The skills he attained would later become fundamental in becoming a boxing icon. 

Sadio Mané, a professional soccer player, was born in Sedhiou, Senegal, in 1992. He grew up in a small village and had to live with his uncle because his parents had more children than they could take care of. Because they could not afford to send him to school, Mané played soccer all day with torn shoes. When his parents had enough money to send him to school, they prohibited him from playing soccer because they wanted him to focus on his studies, but because Mané did not stop, his parents decided to support him. Mané always dreamed about playing in the Premier League, and now, he is living his dream.

Ariana Montero

My name is Ariana Montero. I am a sophomore who loves playing soccer. I am from Bolivia. My favorite food is barbecue. A word that would describe me would be diligent.

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