When Cristiano Ronaldo was asked to donate his cleats for a charity auction benefitting 10-year old Erik Ortiz Cruz, who had a brain disorder that can cause 30 seizures a day. He instead paid the whole $83,000 for his surgery.
2. As a male Swiss citizen, Roger Federer was compulsorily required to serve in the armed forces. However, in 2003, despite already having become a tennis pro, he was deemed ‘unfit’ because of a back problem and was relieved of his obligations.
3. At the age of 11, Lionel Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. The treatment was far too expensive for Messi’s family. While signing with FC Barcelona at the age of 13, they offered to pay for Messi’s treatment.
4. In 1998, Serena and Venus Williams claim that they could beat any man ranked 200th or worse in a game of tennis. Karsten Braasch, who was then ranked 203th, accepted their challenge and easily beat them, 6-1, 6-2, after he played a round of golf and had a few beers.
5. Nike had conditions before giving rookie Michael Jordan a record contract: Either be rookie of the year, or average 20 ppg, or be an All Star, or sell $4 million worth shoes in a year. Jordan was rookie of the year, scored 28.2 ppg, named All Star, and Nike sold $100 mill of shoes in 1984-85.
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Usain Bolt suffered from scoliosis when he was younger and has an asymmetrical stride when he runs because his legs are of slightly different lengths. Researchers aren’t sure if this lack of symmetry is a personal mechanical optimization by Bolt that makes him the fastest human or not.
7. Michael Phelps has more Summer Olympic gold medals than 80% of countries in history even when taking into account countries that no longer exist.
8. Wayne Gretzky was so dominant in Fantasy Hockey, that many leagues split his stats into two players: Gretzky (Goals) and Gretzky (Assists).
9. During the Nigerian Civil War, the two sides agreed to a 48-hour cease-fire because Pelé was in town to play an exhibition game, and everyone wanted to be free to watch it without having to worry about the war.
10. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, had his passport revoked and faced a five-year prison term for refusing to serve in the U.S. Armed Services at the height of the Vietnam War. “I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong,” he said. “They never called me n****r.”
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised the same amount of money that Floyd Mayweather made from fighting Manny Pacquiao.
12. Maria Sharapova’s on-court grunt has been recorded at a volume of 101 decibels. That’s louder than a motorcycle, a lawnmower, and a small aircraft. In fact, it’s only 5 decibels less than a lion’s roar.
13. The morning after Muhammad Ali lost in a fight against Larry Holmes, a 14-year-old Mike Tyson promised him that when he “got big” he would take down Larry Holmes for him. 6 years later, Tyson fought against Larry Holmes and won.
14. Legendary tennis player, Rafael Nadal, plays tennis left-handed despite being right-handed. This is because of the multitude of advantages from being left-handed in tennis.
15. Shaquille O’Neal is an Honorary U.S. Marshall, a reserve officer, and a Sheriff’s Deputy in Georgia.
Tiger Woods’ affairs led to an estimated shareholder loss of $5-12 billion due to dropped sponsorship deals.
17. Junípero Serra High School JV football team recorded a historically bad season in which they failed to win a game or even score a touchdown yet they never attempted to start their backup quarterback. That backup quarterback they refused to start is four-times Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady.
18. Lebron James was so hated back in 2012 that even a captured Al-Qaeda member wrote letters expressing his disgust at his decision to go to the Miami Heat. He told his lawyer that “LeBron James is a very bad man and should apologize to the city of Cleveland.”
19. Kobe Bryant’s grandmother only came to see him play one game his entire professional career. In that game versus the Toronto Raptors, he scored 81 points.
20. Michael Schumacher donated $10 million in aid after the Indian Ocean Tsunami. This surpassed the amount given by any other individual, sports team/league, corporation, and even some countries. Schumacher’s bodyguard Burkhard Cramer, and Cramer’s two sons, were killed in the tsunami.
Usain Bolt’s resting heart rate is 33 beats per minute.
22. The 1992 Olympics US basketball team, a.k.a. “The Dream Team” has been called “the most dominant squad ever assembled in any sport.” Magic Johnson said “I look to my right, there’s Michael Jordan ... I look to my left, there’s Charles Barkley or Larry Bird ... I didn’t know who to throw the ball to!”
23. Serena Williams was around 8 weeks pregnant when she beat her sister Venus in the final to win the 2017 Australian Open. It was her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, surpassing Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22.
24. The legs of 6’4” Michael Phelps are the same length as 5’9” marathoner Hicham El Guerrouj. It is Phelps' short legs and long torso that help make him such a great swimmer.
25. Michael Jordan had a "love of the game" clause in his contract, allowing him to play basketball against anyone, anytime and anywhere.