Best Throwback Thursdays from Athletes

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2013

Best Throwback Thursdays from Athletes

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    Instagram.com/russwest44

    Personally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of the whole "Throwback Thursday" thing that has seemed to gain popularity on Twitter and Facebook these past few years.

    Don't get me wrong, I love going through old pictures just as much as the next guy, but having to actually dig one up each week seems like a bit of a chore more than anything.

    But I have to admit that it's pretty cool to see some of our favorite athletes do it—which is why I'm giving you some photos of the best Throwback Thursdays.

Paul Bissonnette

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    Image via Instagram.com/biznasty

    The man known as "Biz Nasty" might have a way with the ladies now, but the day Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette was drafted back in 2003, it didn't seem like many girls were flocking to him. Instead, he chose to stand by his dad's side.

    The whole Jheri curl look doesn't work on anyone, bro.

Floyd Mayweather

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    Image via Instagram.com/floydmayweather

    First off, this is seriously a tight picture of Floyd Mayweather knocking the spit—literally—out of a dude in an early fight in his career.

    Second, the fact that he's wearing "Philthy Rich Records" trunks—Mayweather's former record company—has to draw a smirk from some people.

    Indeed, the dude has always been a solid promoter.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

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    Image via Instagram.com/therock

    He may be jacked up now, but back in his early days of wrestling, "The Rock" was just another oiled up meathead trying to make it as a pro.

    Of course, he did more than just take over the wrestling world, becoming one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood today, so this is just a good reminder to everyone that he hasn't always been so Herculean.

James Harden

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    Image via Instagram.com/jharden13

    We all recognize this guy thanks to his beard, but before the Rockets' James Harden had opponents fearing getting burned by a few of his whiskers, he was rocking that clean-cut look back in his grade school days.

    Honestly, Harden looks completely different now, doesn't he?

Johnny Manziel

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    Image via Instagram.com/jmanziel2

    We all may know Johnny Manziel as the brash, trash-talking defending Heisman Trophy-winner, but deep down, he's just a normal dude.

    "Johnny Football" showed that after posting this pic of his sister and him at one of his high school games, giving her a big hug.

Kelly Slater

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    Image via Instagram.com/kellyslater

    As an 11-time ASP world champ, it's safe to say that Kelly Slater got his start in surfing at a pretty early age.

    Slater posted this photo of a buddy and himself at an age when he'd probably already done things on a board that you or I could only dream about even attempting at our age now.

Michael Phelps

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    Image via Instagram.com/m_phelps00

    I just had to add this one of the greatest Olympian ever because it's reminiscent of the Alex Rodriguez, Details photo shoot from a few years back.

    I'm sure this was for some magazine too, but Michael Phelps looks like he's trying out for an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog or something.

Mike Tyson

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    Image via Instagram.com/miketyson

    And you thought that Mike Tyson didn't have a soft side when he was a boxer?

    This picture "Iron Mike" posted on his Instagram proves otherwise as, while still just a young fighter trying to break through, he flashed his gold-grilled teeth before beating the snot out of some training partner, I'm sure.

Kyrie Irving

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    Image via Instagram.com/k1irving

    I love Kyrie Irving since he plays for my hometown Cleveland Cavaliers—but I never thought I would have seen him like this!

    As a former Rookie of the Year and No. 1 overall pick, Ky often makes opponents cry with his sick game—just as he bawled his eyes out when he was a toddler.

DeSean Jackson

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    Image via Instagram.com/jaccpot10

    The Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson has always had serious swag, just epitomizing what cool looks like on the football field.

    Dude has the game to back it up, too.

    This photo of him from back in college at Cal-Berkeley is one that shows why he's not just fresh, but impossible to guard.

Russell Westbrook

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    Image via Instagram.com/russwest44

    Oh, Russell Westbrook.

    We've all had those awkward school pictures before, and don't think that just because a guy's good at hoopin' that he's immune to those.

    Russ looks like he's just really happy to be in front of the camera—but at least he isn't wearing what he does these days.

Richard Sherman

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    Image via twitter.com/RSherman_25

    Would you have ever thought that this innocent-looking tee-baller would grow up to be one of the most feared defensive backs in the NFL?

    The Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman might not be posing in the sport that he gets paid a lot of money to play nowadays, but I'm sure it wasn't too long after this that he realized that wearing pads and a helmet was much more comfortable.

    I wonder if he was as big of a trash-talker on the diamond as he is on the gridiron?

Patrick Patterson

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    Image via Instagram.com/pdpatt

    I can't say a single thing about Sacramento Kings forward Patrick Patterson that you probably aren't already thinking yourself.

    Who in the hell gets a 'fro as wicked as P-Patt at such a young age?

    Dude definitely owned it, though.

LeBron James

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    Image via Instagram.com/kingjames1

    It's insane to think that it was at this age that Miami Heat forward LeBron James was already becoming nationally known.

    As a freshman in high school, I was just trying to pass algebra, not worry about how I was going to handle the hype of being the best basketball player in the country.

    I'd say things turned out well for Bron Bron so far.

J.R. Smith

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    Image via Instagram.com/teamswish

    Just as LeBron James in the previous photo, this pic of a younger J.R. Smith is pretty funny because he has absolutely zero tats on his bod—or so I assume?

    Smith might be able to stroke it while on the hardwood with the New York Knicks, but draining treys seemed to be the last thing on his mind here.

Russell Wilson

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    Image via twitter.com/DangeRussWilson

    Who that?

    Well, it's the Seahawks' Russell Wilson, of course. Probably leading his high school team to an efficient drive down the field for a touchdown, or engineering a come-from-behind win.

    All Wilson seems to do is win while keeping his cool so I wouldn't be surprised if this was the last play of the state title game with Russ about to make a big play.

Kevin Durant

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    Image via Instagram.com/easymoneysniper

    If that's not the face of a cold-blooded scorer, I don't know what is.

    Seeing how the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant is still just 25 years old—and still has the same physique as in this photo—this shot probably wasn't from more than 15 years ago.

    One thing's for sure, though, kid was crossing bros up on the floor and filling the stats.

Mike Trout

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    Image via Instagram.com/miketrout

    Looking like just your ordinary little-leaguer here, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Mike Trout blossomed into quite the ballplayer.

    In his two seasons in the majors, Trout has finished second both times in the AL MVP vote—so yeah, he can rake.

    I'm guessing he learned the fundamentals of hitting and fielding back in these early days, though.

Tony Hawk

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    Image via Instagram.com/tonyhawk

    Tony Hawk's been skating for quite a long time, so it's always pretty dope to see him post a few pics of his early board sessions on social media.

    Even though he was tall and gangly here, he still was able to balance himself enough to pull off any trick in the book—most of which he actually came up with himself.

Usain Bolt

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    Image via Instagram.com/usainbolt

    Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world now, but like all great athletes, Bolt had to get his start somewhere.

    Just 15 years old in this photo, Bolt was competing in the World Juniors in his native Jamaica, winning gold in the 200-meter sprint.

    So yeah, Bolt's been lightning fast for a long, long time.

Colin Kaepernick

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    Image via Instagram.com/kaepernick7

    The San Francisco 49ers may have come up short in last year's Super Bowl, but at least their quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, can hang his hat on being named a "November Super Kid" back in third grade.

    Yeah, I know it's not quite the same feeling as hoisting a Lombardi Trophy, but it had to be cool either way.

Jeff Green

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    Image via twitter.com/unclejeffgreen

    I'm sure you've seen this hilarious photo of the Boston Celtics' Jeff Green before, but wow, I just couldn't leave it off here.

    If there's one look the former Georgetown standout should avoid ever doing again, it's this one, with the braids hanging off his head as if he were A$AP Rocky or something.

    How did his opponents take him seriously?

Bryce Harper

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    Image via twitter.com/Bharper3407

    He's one of the best young players in any sport, but the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper was just a pudgy teenager in this pic from 2004.

    I'd like to ask Bryce if he preferred Twinkies or Ho-Ho's back then for an after-school snack?

    His response would probably be something like this.

Kevin Love

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    Image via Instagram.com/kevinlove

    I guarantee you that no one would have guessed this little Peter Pan would grow into a double-double machine and one of the best power forwards in the NBA.

    Then again, Kevin Love was probably just more interested in hanging with the lost boys back then rather than hanging on rims.

Pat Riley

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    Image via Instagram.com/kingjames

    What more has to be said about this photo of Heat President Pat Riley?

    "Riles" may not have posted this picture himself—I mean, I have no idea why he wouldn't want to show off his epic '70s porn look—but thanks to LeBron James' Instagram, we were all treated to what a real man looks like.

    Thanks to this picture from Bron, I think my week is complete now.