35 Hilarious Photos of Your Favorite Athletes Near Their Rookie Days

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIApril 13, 2012

35 Hilarious Photos of Your Favorite Athletes Near Their Rookie Days

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    There's nothing quite like seeing the evolution of an athlete in the public eye.

    As you can clearly see, Shaq has fallen off the wagon a bit since his days in Orlando.

    Please enjoy the next 35 hilarious images of your favorite athletes before their prime. 

    (Many of these images were taken from the best Twitter account this world has to offer, Andy Gray @si_vault. If you love sports and its vast, unrelenting history, follow Andy Gray. You will most certainly not be disappointed.)

Chipper Jones

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    Atlanta Braves legend Chipper Jones didn't make it through the Richmond Braves days without slammin' down donuts and chocolate milk before games. 

Kobe Bryant Part I

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    Remember Kobe when he wore the No. 8? This photo of he and the lovely Tyra Banks was taken in 1999, just before the incredible "three-peat" by Kobe and the Lakers. 

Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, and Honest Baseball

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    Nothing like a good ol' friendship on the diamond, eh? Here's what Canseco had to say about Clemens in his masterpiece Juiced:

    "It was the pitchers that kept the 'B12' joke going. For example, I've never seen Roger Clemens do steroids, and he never told me that he did. But we've talked about what steroids could do for you, in which combinations, and I've heard him use the phrase 'B12 shot' with respect to others. A lot of pitchers did steroids to keep up with hitters. If everyone else was getting stronger and faster, then you wanted to get stronger and faster, too. If you were a pitcher, and the hitters were all getting stronger, that made your job that much more difficult. Roger used to talk about that a lot. 'You hitters are so darn strong from steroids,' he'd say. 'Yeah, but you pitchers are taking it, too. You're just taking different types,' I'd respond. And sometimes Roger would vent his frustration over the hits even the lesser players were starting to get off good pitchers. 'Damn, that little guy hit it odd the end of the bat and almost drove it to the wall,' he would say. He would complain about guys who were hitting fifty homers when they had no business hitting thirty. It was becoming more difficult for pitchers all the time, he would complain. I can't give chapter and verse on Roger's training regimen. But I'll tell you what I was thinking at the time: One of the classic signs of steroid use is when a player's basic performance actually improves later in his career. One of the benefits of steroids is that they're especially helpful in countering the effects of aging. So in Roger's case, around the time that he was leaving Boston - and Dan Duquette, the general manager there, was saying he was 'past his prime' - Roger decided to make some changes. He started working out harder. And whatever else he may have been doing to get stronger, he saw results. His fastball improved by a few miles per hour. He was a great pitcher long before then; it wasn't his late-career surge that made him great. But he certainly stayed great far longer than most athletes could expect. There's no question about that." - Jose Canseco 

    Juiced, pages 211-212

The Birth of Vinsanity

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    On February 23, 2012, President Obama visited Vince at a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser event at which Obama said Vince's game "has been a real treat for me to watch ever since he's been playing for the Tar Heels." 

    Remember those unreal UNC teams back in the '90s? Vince's days in Durham were near the tail end of 1990s, but he still put up All-America numbers, helping UNC to consecutive ACC championships and Final Four appearances: 

    Vince could certainly slam like no other; too bad the Warriors' front office dumped him on draft day.

Draft Day in Dallas

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    In case you have absolutely no idea who these people pictured are, from left to right: Dirk Nowitzki, Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson and Steve Nash. 

    John Shannon of Sportsnet Canada confirmed that the Toronto Raptors GM (at the time), Glen Grunwald, denied a trade that would have sent Vinsanity and Antonio Davis to Dallas in exchange for two blonde kids—Dirk and Nashty. I can only imagine the heartfelt replies Raptors fans would send Grunwald's way nowadays...  

Vintage LT

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    Here's a shot of my man Lawrence Taylor laying out Cowboys QB Gary Hogeboom during a 1985 Giants-Cowboys matchup.

    LT was dubbed as one of the "10 Most Athletically Talented Drug Users of All Time"—something to bring home to Ma, perhaps. 

Peyton Man Thing

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    Before the undefeated season and the sibling rivalry in the NFL, Peyton was just a football genius with extreme expectations at Tennessee.

    Could you imagine if the Colts took Ryan Leaf over Manning in the draft? They'd run out of prescription drugs! 

Those Oakland Boys Are Looking a Bit Leaner Than Usual

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    (L to R): Cecil Fielder, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and "The Natural" Ken Griffey Junior. 

    This shot was during the 1990 MLB All-Star game at Wrigley Field. Funny how things change, eh McGwire?  

Sergei and Anna, Sitting in a Tree...

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    This is what Anna Kournikova looked like at age 13. She can be seen sporting her autographed No. 91 Sergei Federov Detroit Red Wings jersey.

    Word around the Web is they "may or may not" have been married

Get to Know Bo

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    This is Bo Jackson posing for a University of Auburn football program. Bo was the second of three Auburn Heisman winners, the other two being QBs Pat Sullivan (1972) and Cam Newton (2010). 

    Bo is regarded as one of the best multi-sport athletes in history. This visual gives you a slight inclination of why...

Sparky Anderson

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    Sparky won two World Series managing the Cincinnati Reds (1975, 1976) and one with the Detroit Tigers (1984), but this image is of him during his playing days with the Phillies in 1959. That all-American, clean-cut military look never gets old... 

    He spent nearly his entire playing career in the minors yet was recognized for his baseball IQ and named manager of the Reds in the wake of the "Big Red Machine" era. During his Hall of Fame speech in 2000, he stated that he was a "genius" because he had good players and let them win a lot by staying out of the way. 

    Sparky looked a bit different more recently, before his death at age 76 in 2010. 

The Pyramid of Success Begins with a Haircut

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    Coming off a Naismith Player of the Year award and a national championship with UCLA, Walton returned to campus for the first practice only to be kicked out by the legend himself, Mr. John Wooden.

    "The Wizard of Westwood" was known to inspect the players, allowing their hair to be no more than two inches long. Wooden gave Bill 15 minutes to ride his bike to get a haircut or he wasn't allowed to return for practice.  

The Dukes of Augusta

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    Driving in his General Lee 1969 Dodge Charger is 2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson with NASCAR superstar Carl Edwards in a rare appearance riding shotgun. 

Kobe Bryant Part II

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    This is where Kobe learned that amazing game he has developed, playing against far older Italian men while his father played professionally. 

A 'PG' Favre Picture

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    Due to recent "events," Favre is nothing but a victim of many, many hilarious jokes. 

    This image is of Brett Favre is back in his high school days at Hancock North Central High. No one loves Favre more than his hometown of Kiln, Mississippi. 

True Throwback

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    Pictured are NBA stars LeBron James and Sebastian Telfair, way back in their high school days.

    Both superstars were drafted in the first round of their respective draft classes straight out of high school—King James out of St. Vincent-St. Mary's in Akron, Ohio; Sebastian out of Abraham Lincoln in Brooklyn, New York. 

    Both have awesome documentaries out that brilliantly depict the true hardships of entering the NBA out of high school—James' More Than A Game and Telfair's Through the Fire

Pele Posted Poolside

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    Soccer legend Pele just hanging out by the pool with his acoustic guitar, way back in 1970.

    Check out the official Pele account on Twitter

Black Diamond Slopes on Yawkey Way

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    This is former Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell skiing on the pitcher's mound in 1953. 

    Honestly, how many people can say they've skied Fenway Park? 

Ralph Sampson, Hall of Fame Class of 2012

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    Here's former University of Virginia and NBA All-Star Ralph Sampson with the iconic Coach Knight at the 1979 Pan American games in Puerto Rico. Sampson was drafted No. 1 overall in 1983 to the Houston Rockets and is a member of the 2012 Hall of Fame class.

    Cheers to the 7'4'' phenom!   

    Let's all agree that Coach Knight was not really known for his dress...

Speechless Wayne Gretzky

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    The Great One has never looked so cool. I am still contemplating which is more hilarious: the Jofa gear, the hideous couch or that gnarly mop of his. 

    Fun Fact: Ulf Samuelsson knocked out Wayne's wife and got away with it...

Lob Township

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    Here's "Lob City" co-founder in 2007, back when it was just "Lob Township" at the 2007 Jordan Brand Classic.  

Mr. Elway at His Finest

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    Meet the man who traded Tim Tebow during his post-draft day tenure with Denver. 

Vintage I3

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    Allen Iverson is greeted by Michael Jordan and Stephon Marbury after Game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals. 

I Want Michael Irvin's Number the Big 8 8

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    Here's a shot of Randy Moss likely complaining to Brad Johnson that he wasn't given "the Big 8 8" for his jersey number. 

Dr. J

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    This photo of Julius Erving dominating Fordham resonates through the UMass alumni. 

Shaq Being Shaq

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    Most people I know would be incredibly happy to meet the Legend John Wooden. Shaq, on the other hand, not so much. 

Teddy Ball Game with Yaz

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    Here's a truly rare baseball photo that deserves to be in Cooperstown.

    I believe the exact dialogue was "Hey Yaz, here's how you hit for the Triple Crown."

Dwight Dominating in High School

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    Some of Dwight Howard's blocks in the NBA are hilarious because it seems like only a matter of time before he KOs the popcorn guy in the sixth row. This photo, however, makes me ponder what it would have been like to play against him in high school. 

Top 10 Hair Style of All Time

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    That is current 40-year-old Philadelphia Flyer Jaromir Jagr on the left and current Penguins owner Super Mario Lemieux after winning the 1992 Stanley Cup finals. 

    The most memorable moment of that series was without a doubt Jagr's incredible goal, apparently the eighth-best goal in NHL history.   

2001 Draft Class

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    (L to R): Troy Murphy (Notre Dame), Gilbert "Agent Zero" Arenas (University of Arizona), Jason Richardson (Michigan State) after the 2001 NBA draft. 

    In case you were unaware, the Warriors have a bit of history on draft day, having traded Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale to Boston in exchange for Joe Barry Carroll, as well as Vince Carter for Antwon Jameson. 

    Not one of these three players pictured are current Warriors, as Murphy is a Laker, J-Rich is on the Magic and Gilbert is finally back in the league with the Memphis Grizzlies. 

100-Point Night

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    Pictured is University of Kansas track star Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, where he ran a 10.9-second 100-yard dash, won the high jump and shot-putted 56 feet en route to three straight Big Eight track and field championships.

    That's how long ago it was—it hadn't even become the Big 12 yet. 

    Wilt occasionally played basketball as well. 

Why the Original Six Were a Treat to Watch

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    Here's legendary Canadien forward Jean Beliveau tussling with legendary Detroit Red Wing Ted Lindsay in 1955.

    In case you'd like to see how either of these teams hits nowadays, it looks more like this.  

Fair or Foul?

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    Here's Greg Ostertag, one of the University of Kansas' all-time leaders in blocks, fouling an Iowa State player. 

    Ostertag helped the Jayhawks to yet another Final Four appearance in 1993. 

Jackie Robinson at UCLA

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    Pictured here is one of the most talented multi-sport athletes in sports history.

    Jackie played basketball, baseball, football and ran track for UCLA from 1939-1941.  

Indiana's New State Bird

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    At the time, the Indiana State Sycamores had never been to the NCAA Tournament. Then Larry Bird showed up.

    Larry B took the '79 Sycamores all the way to the finals in what turned out to be the highest-rated NCAA basketball game in television history, as the Bird-Magic rivalry was born.  

    If you think I missed any great rookie images, or you feel like complaining that my writing is sub-par, send your thoughts to me on Twitter @kevry88.