Everyone gets older. That is just a fact of nature. We might not want to think about it, but we all eventually get past our primes and become old people. Even our heroes do that. This is the reason why athletes eventually have to retire. You cannot always be on the stage, or the court, or the field competing and entertaining people for eternity. Sure, it would be awesome to watch Brock Lesnar wrestle or fight in the octagon to the end of times, or to watch Tom Brady play football forever. The same goes for other generational talents like LeBron James, Tiger Woods before the scandals, and Usain Bolt.
Unfortunately, that is not how the world works. These guys get older, and eventually, all of them will retire. There is, however, a silver lining to all of this. The same way that these guys will eventually retire and become older people, they have already gotten older and changed from the days before they were famous. And some of these changes are nothing short of spectacular. Get ready for a few laughs because we are going to show you everything from childhood pictures to yearbook photos to prove that not everyone has always looked cool. Even our heroes looked like regular people back in their heyday. Some of them you will be able to point out from the get-go, but there are pictures of professional athletes before they became famous in which they are almost unrecognizable. So, without any further delay, here are 15 hilarious photos of athletes before they became famous.
15 Brock Lesnar
If anyone thought that Brock Lesnar was just a bunch of roids held together by bones, this picture should prove that statement is not true. Even though Brock might’ve taken his share of PEDs in order to become the monster he is today, he was always a big dude. This is a picture of him in the wrestling team back in his school days. It's a picture that should be enough for us to agree that he was already a big guy before he was allowed to take whatever he took to become a mountain of muscle.
Sure, most of this was not muscle, but Brock was still a terrifying guy. We would not want to mess with him if we went to the same high school. On the contrary, we would want him to be our best friend.
14 Shaquille O’Neal
There are few things tougher to imagine than picturing a 7’1”, 325-pound beast of a man when he was a child. But it doesn’t matter how big they have grown; every professional athlete was a child before they became famous. This is perhaps one of the best exercises we can perform in order to keep ourselves from going crazy. We have to remember that professional athletes are still people at the end of every day. Even the ones who are as big as Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq was arguably the most dominant force in the history of basketball when it comes to combining tremendous size and skill. He unavoidably became a Hall of Famer, which is only fair since this little kid went on to win four NBA championships and one MVP trophy.
13 Tom Brady
A man who is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all time probably was a cool person his entire life, right? Well, not really. It turns out Tom Brady seemed to be more like the kid who would be bullied in middle school than someone who would become a great football player. In fact, most people would be lying if they said the first thought that went through their minds when they saw this picture of a young Tom Brady was that, “this kid could become the greatest quarterback of all time.”
Another surprising fact is that he was playing Little League baseball. Going by the work ethic Brady has these days, we are quickly led to assume that he has always been a football player and only a football player.
12 The Rock
Before we started this list, we already had a good idea that wrestlers would be a gold mine when it came to funny pictures of athletes when they were young. After all, the funniest thing about comparing an athlete today to how they looked before they were famous is realizing that we would have never guessed those kids would go on to become people who have legions of followers. Someone who might just be a perfect example of that is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Most people who are reading this entry probably know Johnson as one of the most famous wrestlers of his generation. Other people might just know him as one of the most famous movie stars of his time. Either way, this 17-18-year-old kid sporting that weird-looking mustache is now worth about $220 million.
11 Tiger Woods
Even when he was young, Tiger seemed to have a way of excelling with golf clubs. The guy was a sensation, and it is impossible for anyone to deny that he was one of the greatest golfers ever. He is arguably the person who did most for golf in terms of turning it mainstream and bringing more attention to the sport. Unfortunately, he was also the guy to bring infamy to the sport when the whole world found out he was nothing more than a cheating sex addict who could not keep it in his pants.
Yeah, it is tough talking about it when you see a picture of a young Tiger. And that’s the thing about people who go bad; you can never anticipate what is going to happen with someone when fame comes knocking.
10 LeBron James
After talking about Tiger Woods, we need to do a little detoxing. And what better way to do that than talking about a guy who found a way to manage fame perfectly, and became not only the greatest athlete of his generation, but also one of the greatest role models in the history of sports. LeBron James is someone everyone should have their kids look up to. Sure, he can cause drama with the media every once in a while, but at the end of the day, LeBron is one of the best people in sports.
This guy dedicates a good deal of his very expensive time to do charity work and help young people realize that they have a shot at becoming someone great regardless of their roots. After all, he is one of the biggest examples of that happening.
9 Usain Bolt
Just like we said about LeBron James, these are guys who prove that no matter where you are from or how rich you are, you could still become a legend. Sure, these two are not a typical example since they have nearly superhuman abilities, but you get our point.
Usain Bolt was just another young kid from Kingston, Jamaica. Like everyone there, he loved to run since he was a child. As fate would have it, that little kid hiding behind a wall would eventually become the fastest man in history. And when we say he was the fastest man, we don’t mean by a little. His world record time of 9.58 seconds is something that no people will probably get even close to in our lifetime. That is how ridiculous of a time that was. Nevertheless, even a man who should be on Olympus, like Bolt, was a funny kid one day.
8 Andre Agassi
One of the funniest things we find when looking for funny pictures of athletes before they were famous is that they looked nothing like they do now. But even among the many athletes we searched and found no resemblance to their adult selfs when they were young, Andre Agassi stands tall above the rest.
If you just walked up to someone on the street, showed them this picture and told them this was Andre Agassi, they would probably just laugh in your face. This kid looks nothing like the man who topped the world of tennis in the mid-'90s. Of course, the biggest difference being that he still had hair when he was a kid. The Agassi we got to know and watch win 60 titles was mostly a bald guy.
7 Peyton Manning
The one conclusion we have taken out of this list so far is that if you want your kid to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, one of the things you need to do is to make sure they do not look cool while they are still in school. Jesus, both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning went on to become football legends, but if you just looked at these guys when they were in middle school or even in high school, you wouldn’t believe how far they went.
Just look at Peyton’s face. He looks more like Eli than himself. If anything, this is just yet another great example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. You never know, that weird-looking kid in your class could go on to become a two-time Super Bowl champion and future Pro Football Hall of Famer.
6 Hope Solo
Another member of the, “they didn’t look anything like they do now” club is Hope Solo. The American goalkeeper who became an ambassador for women’s soccer around the world was actually very different when she was a little kid. Starting with her hair apparently. It turns out that the baby Hope Solo was blonde, very different from the Hope Solo we see today with her pitch-black hair.
Unfortunately, however, she is also one of those people who didn’t take too well to fame, as she quickly went from being one of the best examples of how women should aspire to become great athletes, to an example that women could also commit domestic abuse. It really is sad how someone can taint their reputation even when they are a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
5 Aaron Rodgers
Remember what we said about not letting your kids look cool if you ever wanted them to become a great quarterback? We stand by that statement. If anything, checking out this yearbook picture of Aaron Rodgers did nothing but solidify our claim. We don’t know how he would look live, but if we take the off chance that Rodgers was one of those people who actually looked “good” in a yearbook, we cannot imagine what he looked like in real life.
Now, this is all fun and games and we are joking. But we still find it hard to believe that anyone could guess that this guy would go on to become as great a football player as he is. Seriously, Rodgers is a two-time MVP and even won a Super Bowl.
4 Muhammad Ali
Many people know the story of Muhammad Ali, the man who became known throughout the world as perhaps the greatest boxer of all-time. Ali was not only one of the greatest fighters ever to compete professionally, but he was also one of the greatest people of his time. From fighting for civil liberties to charity, this guy was a great human being. He also finished his career with an astounding record of 56 wins and only five losses. Yeah, you can count on your fingers how many boxers managed to keep that form throughout their career.
But before he was the great boxer, Ali was just a child. He was Cassius Clay, a 12-year-old kid who loved boxing and already knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
3 Hulk Hogan
He might not be an active wrestler anymore, but Hulk Hogan is undoubtedly one of the pillars of the wrestling world. You will not find a wrestling fan who has not heard of this man. Hulk was one of those guys who transcended his generation. Maybe it was his skill, maybe it was his antics, or maybe it was just his looks. We don’t know, but either way, this was a man who became the face of wrestling. What he did while being the face of wrestling is not really something we should encourage people to do since Hulk has about as many scandals to his name as an entire stable of today’s WWE put together.
Still, it is hilarious to see a picture of Hogan before he was famous, still rocking a full head of hair as a high school student. The key thing that makes us laugh here is that he doesn’t have his signature mustache.
2 Charles Barkley
If you want to make fun of someone, you need to do little more than to find one of their yearbook pictures. It takes a special person not to look terrible in your yearbook photo. A testament to that is our good friend Charles Barkley. He's someone who has become one of the most entertaining faces and commentators in basketball, but he was at one time a guy rocking this sweet Afro. What Chuck didn’t realize back then was that there are people who can rock the Afro, but there are people who just look weird with it. Unfortunately for him, he was on the bad side of that equation.
Nevertheless, the Afro didn’t hinder his ability to become a great basketball player as he is a Hall of Famer and a one-time MVP.
1 Mick Foley
This is one of those times when we had to save the best for last. We could’ve tried to put the iconic picture of a young Vince McMahon here, which would have been funny, but not nearly as funny as this picture of a young Mick Foley.
Mick looks so different from what we have gotten used to seeing him like that it is almost unbelievable this is the same person. We have seen athletes who changed a lot since their youth, but nothing came even close to this ridiculous transformation. The dude literally went from looking like the captain of the math team to looking like someone who would stab you in a biker bar. We just wonder if this young Mick was about as crazy as the older Mick we got used to seeing in his wrestling days.