In the sports world, every GM and coach is looking for that one player that will put them over the top in their respective sport. They all need that one or two players that can lead them to the promised land, that championship, and the bonus money that comes as a result of winning. But what happens to the late bloomers in the process, the players who don't shine above the rest in their age group for whatever reason, whether it be from a lack of confidence, phyical development, or rather their skills just haven't caught up to their potential? Those unfortunate few either flounder and are left behind to never truly realize who it is that they can become or some coach misses out on a once in a life time type of player.
Everyone has heard of the most famous late bloomer. A kid who was cut from his high school basketball team, only to go back to the drawing board and work harder than ever to make that team a year later, be recruited to North Carolina and help the Tarheels win a National Championship. He would later be drafted by the Chicago Bulls to become the basketball icon that we know today as Micheal Jordan. Jordan is now known as the greatest basketball player ever, who boasts numerous NBA records, six NBA championships and a name brand that has spanned decades and is possibly the most recognized brand and label in the world. But where would Jordan be if he let his dreams be cut short simply because he lost confidence in himself for being cut from his high school team initially? What if one of his championship teammates, and my favorite player of all time, Dennis Rodman, were never discovered, already almost into adult hood, and given a chance? He averaged over thirty points a game and double digit rebounds at South East Oklahoma State University and is possibly the greatest rebounder in NBA history.
We would have been robbed of two of the greatest athletes in sports history. And all because they didn't show promise as young kids, or atleast not as much promise as thier peers at the time who garnered more attention. Star Midfielder Paul Pogba was never given much of a chance with the first team at Manchester United under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson as a 18 year old. There were times were there were injuries with regular first team players, and Ferguson chose to play a defensive player out of position in the midfield rather than give Pogba a chance. Manchester United even let Pogba leave on a free transfer to Juventus after his contract with them expired. Now several years removed from this decision, Manchester United are in rebuild mode with the midfield now a weakness and looking for players to fill the role and twenty one year old Pogba is an international star whom many call the number one midfielder in the world with pundits claiming that it would take a record fee to pry Pogba from Juventus.
That's a steep rise for a player who was let go for free just two to three years prior. Young Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans is considered by many to be the number one NBA player to build a team around and the future of the NBA after Lebron James. There are claims that Davis will surpass James in skill, star power, and production in the very near future. Davis was the number one draft pick in the NBA draft when he chose to declare from the University of Kentucky in 2012. But most don't know that Davis wasn't heavily recruited until his senior year of high school after he hit a growth spurt. Before becoming the six foot ten bag of skills and tricks that he is now, he was a spindly six foot two guard the year before who garnered very little attention from major universities.
You see, the thing about diamonds and jewels is, most of the time you overlook them because they are covered in dirt and much of their shimmer is hidden underneath. All to often you dismiss the prize as dispensible rock or trash, not knowing that you have crossed paths with a once in a liftime find. So the next time you see that young kid whose trying to work on themselves athletically or academically and you see them as nothing but ordinary, keep in mind that you have to be ordinary before you become spectacular and you have to be a caterpillar before you grow into a butterfly.