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Top 15 Athletes Who Were Bullied As Children

All across the world, in classrooms, on schoolyards, and nowadays, on social media, an epidemic is thriving. We’re talking, of course, about bullying—an issue that, according to a recent UCLA study, over 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 have experienced.

Yes, every day, children and teenagers are driven to tears, depression—and in the most severe instances, suicide— by the ruthlessness of their peers. It’s a real problem, and unfortunately, not a new one either. The bullying epidemic is a long-standing one, affecting kids today just as it did their parents, and their parents before them.

And no kid is exempt from the problem. Even children who have gone on to become tremendously successful adults have dealt with bullying. That, of course, includes those kids who evolved into the most imposing athletes of today’s sporting landscape— from NFL quarterbacks, to boxers, to wrestlers, to NHL enforcers to NBA powerhouses. No, you wouldn’t know it looking at them today, but some of the most talented figures in modern sports were bullying victims. And now, using their fame as a platform to combat the issue, many of those athletes have opened up on the traumatizing experiences of their respective youths.

So, without further ado, here are 15 successful athletes who began their lives as bullied children.

15 Eve Torres

via fanpop.com

14 Adonal Foyle

via orlmagicstuff.com

13 Drew Brees 

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

12 Chris Bosh

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

11 Sheamus

via fanpop.com

10 Junior dos Santos

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

9 Gerald Green

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

8 Ronda Rousey

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

7 Dave Schultz

via youtube.com

6 John Cena

via onlineworldofwrestling.com

5 Michael Phelps

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4 Tiger Woods

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

3 Wayne Gretzky 

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2 Georges St-Pierre

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

1 Mike Tyson

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

If the people who bullied Junior dos Santos, Ronda Rousey and Georges St-Pierre were crazy, then the people who bullied Mike Tyson were absolute lunatics. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but even the iconic heavyweight boxer once fell victim of the bullying epidemic. It was this bullying, however, that eventually led Tyson to the fight game. In an interview with New York Magazine, Tyson claimed that one time, a bully stole one of his pet pigeons. When he asked for the pigeon back, the bully ripped its head off and threw it at him. The rest, as they say, is history. The event, not surprisingly, marked Tyson's first fight, and the first of the many, many ass-kickings he would dish out as a professional boxer. The fact remains, however, that not even the most fearsome athletes on the planet were immune to the ills of bullying as children.

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Top 15 Athletes Who Were Bullied As Children