Weird Facts You Don't Know About Today's Athletes

Eric NewmanCorrespondent IIIAugust 6, 2013

Weird Facts You Don't Know About Today's Athletes

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    We watch their games, read their tweets, pore over their stats, keep up with all the latest gossip; we think we know all there is to know about today's sports stars. But juicy and strange little tidbits of information that once surfaced, have sunk back down deep into the obscurest regions of the cyber swamp.

    Allow me then to take up a virtual stick and churn that muck about. Let's see what lovely morsels rise up again, shall we?

    Click on to see the bounty of weirdness.

Matt Hasselbeck's Electrifying Life

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    According to the National Weather Service, the odds that you will be struck by lightning over the course of your lifetime is 1 in 6,250.

    Well those odds didn't really play out well for Hasselbeck. One terrible day, he was  struck by lightning. He lived to not only tell the tale, but to get struck again.

    And his lovely wife, Sarah... lightning likes her too; she once got an electric love tap of her own.

Roger Federer's Hissy Fits

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    Fed-Express is reportedly a life-long chess player. But not always a great sport. According to an article on, as a child Federer used to throw tantrums when he lost a game to his father, knocking all the chess pieces to the floor.

Josh Freeman, Serpent King

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    Bucs quarterback Freeman has a special somebody in his life. Her name is Calypso. She's 8.5 feet long, with milky white skin and a long flickering tongue.

    But Calypso isn't alone; four other inhabitants of the serpentine ilk call Casa Freeman home. Freeman, who has been collecting snakes since his grade-school days favors pythons and boas (not the feathery kind—just to be clear).

Peyton Manning Stopped a Kid from Getting a Facebook Account

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    You thought Peyton Manning was a nice guy? Well then why would he block a sweet 14-year-old kid from getting a Facebook account? I mean the kid just wants to network socially like his peers. He just wants to post pics and status updates, shares jokes. Why such a bully, Peyton? Why so controlling?

    Well, truth is, it's not Peyton's fault. See, Facebook won't allow the boy to have an account with his real name because his real name is... Peyton Manning.

    Little Peyton is from the Denver area and was born long before Big Peyton became the hero that he is.

    "I would never have named him Peyton if I knew [the quarterback] was going to be a legendary football player anywhere, let alone Denver," the boy's mother said in an interview. "I just thought it was a great name."

John Beilein's Ancestors

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    In 1944, three soldiers, brothers of the Niland family from Tonawanda, NY, were all killed in action. A fourth brother, Fritz, was identified and sent home to spare the family further grief. The story became the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's momentous film Saving Private Ryan.

    Wolverine coach John Beilein is the nephew of Fritz Niland (now deceased).

Justin Blalock Jams

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    Lots of athletes dabble in music. Many are crooners. Others, like Raiders punter Chris Kluwe, get their rock star on as guitarists.

    Falcons offensive lineman Justin Blalock, well he takes cool to a new level; he rocks out on the...


Tim Sylvia's Fight Night Output

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    In January 2006, during a UFC Fight Night 3 bout, Tim Sylvia made history. By making a booty cake. In his pants. During the fight.

RGIII'S Collection

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    RGIII fans out there, you probably know that the Redskin's QB is a fan of superheros. Maybe you got a glimpse of his caped socks during a press conference. Maybe you heard rumors of superhero-inspired slogans in his locker.

    But did you know the extent of his fervor? Reportedly RGIII has in the neighborhood of 1,000 superhero dolls (call them figurines if that makes you more comfortable).

    Sorry RGIII, but once you cross into quadruple digits you are no longer passionate but obsessed.

Usain Bolt's Mismatch

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    The fastest human in the history of world was born with a curvature of the spine, resulting in one leg being a half inch shorter than the other.

Geno Smith, Artist

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    This year's Sanchez nemesis, rookie quarterback Geno Smith, almost took up the plume instead of the pigskin.

    Smith was an artistic prodigy. As a young student, he sent his portfolio of work off to two art schools in NYC, and two in the Miami area.  All four schools accepted him.

    He opted to devote his energies to his other talent, though. Because, in his own words, "In art, you really don't get famous until you're dead."

Eli Manning Is Not Eli

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    We know him as Eli. But what's inked on his birth certificate? Elijah? Eliot? Elias?

    Try Elisha.

Yasiel Puig's Signing

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    When a scouting director recommends signing an unknown player for big, big money (say $42 million, for instance) generally he watches him play for a while. Gets a feel for what the guy can do. Takes as little of a gamble as possible.

    So how many games would you guess the Dodgers' scouting director watched Yasiel Puig play in before making the recommendation? A dozen? Half a dozen? Three at the very least, right?

    Wrong. He didn't see Puig play in a single game. Batting practice was all he had to go on.

Danny García's Extra Digit

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    Danny Garcia, an undefeated light welterweight has polydactyly. No, that's not a pet dinosaur. It's a physical anomaly in which a person has extra fingers or toes.

    Garcia reportedly boasts a six pack at the end of his right foot.

Anthony Bennett "Shows Off"

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    Witness and marvel: The No. 1 overall pick for the 2013 NBA draft can't palm the ball.

    Or shoot apparently.

    Good luck, Cavs!

Tom Brady's and His Babe-Mates

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    Guys aren't satisfied calling each other guys. So they choose from a vernacular palette of dude, bro, brah, dawg, hoss, man, chief, amigo, sport, ace—something along those lines.

    Not Brady, though. His term of fraternal affection? Babe.

    Done wincing?

    Now we can only hope he reserves pumpkin for Giselle.

Athletes Whose Names Begin with D

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    According to one study, athletes whose first names start with the letter D, die younger—to a statistically significant extent—than athletes whose names begin with any other letter.

    Sleep well, Dwyane Wade, David Beckham, Danny Green, and Derek Jeter. Sleep well.

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