Ever wonder which athletes knew each other as kids? Which pros played together on the same team in high school? There’s so many stories of star athletes who knew each other when they were young. Here are 7 instances of sports star connections from a young age that caught our attention.
AMARI COOPER, TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, ELI ROGERS AND ARTIE BURNS
Although not all in the same graduating class (Bridgwater Class of ‘11, Cooper and Rogers Class of ‘12, and Burns CLass of ‘13), these 4 all played for the Miami Northwestern Senior High School Bulls. Two-time Pro-Bowler, Cooper, has enjoyed the most-notable career of the 4 former teammates so far. Bridgewater suffered a torn ACL during a practice in 2016 and his promising career has turned into a rehabilitation process. Cooper and Bridgewater are said to be friends to this day and Rogers and Burns both currently play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
ALEX SMITH AND REGGIE BUSH
Not only did these two play together for the Helix High School Scotties in La Mesa, CA as kids but they also went on to both be named Heisman Trophy finalists. If you’re wondering, it’s the first time that two athletes graduating from the same high school were Heisman finalists in the same year. Pretty crazy. The now retired Bush’s career (which spanned 11 seasons) was highlighted by a Super Bowl win in 2009 with the New Orleans Saints. So far, Smith has enjoyed a 12-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas Chiefs. The 3-time Pro-Bowler signed with the Washington Redskins before the start of the 2018 season after leading the NFL with the highest passer rating in 2017.
JOEY GALLO AND BRYCE HARPER
These two big name big leaguers played on the same Las Vegas Little League team when they were 8 and 9, respectively. Gallo even credits Harper for ending his catching career when Harper threw a hard pitch that made him cry. Their coach took Gallo out of the game and his mom bought him ice cream. It all worked out though as you don’t see many 6’5” catchers. Gallo has turned into a mashing machine for the Texas Rangers and Bryce Harper has had an accolade-filled career (including 6 All-Star appearances) with the Washington Nationals.
RICHARD SHERMAN AND JERON JOHNSON
What makes this set unique is the fact that they both won a Super Bowl together playing in the same backfield for the 2014 Seattle Seahawks. What makes this set more unique is the fact that they not only played for the same high school but the fact that they both played offense together. Johnson was a quarterback and Sherman a wide receiver. Johnson threw Sherman his first touchdown pass of his high school career. Years after playing for the Manuel Dominguez High School Dons in Compton, CA, Sherman now plays for the San Francisco 49ers and Johnson for the Dallas Cowboys.
STEVEN STAMKOS AND PK SUBBAN
Before these two were NHL stars, they were novice teammates on the North York Canadiens in 1999. As 8 and 9 year olds respectively, these two led the Canadiens all the way to becoming league champions. Back then, Subban played as a forward although teammates recall that he was already mastering his electric slapshot at that age. Stamkos is currently the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Subban plays for the Nashville Predators. Both have made it to the Stanley Cup Final, neither getting a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup however. A third NHLer, Chris Tanev was also on this team. It’s no-wonder North York only lost a handful of games that season.
MERCEDES LEWIS AND DESEAN JACKSON
You likely suspected that Long Beach Polytechnic High School would show up on this list at some point, being that Poly has sent more players to the NFL than any other high school in America. It was also named the Sports School of the Century by Sports Illustrated in 2005. Poly is not only recognized for its athletics but also academics, music and being the filming location for many shows, films and commercials. Besides Lewis and Jackson, other notable Poly alumni include Snoop Dogg, Cameron Diaz, Warren G, Chase Utley, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Milton Bradley. Utley and Bradley could have also made this list – as they both played high school baseball together and both made it to the MLB – but how many Jackrabbits can you have on a list? Back to football, Jackson has spent 10 seasons in NFL with 3 Pro-Bowl appearances while Lewis has spent 12 seasons in the NFL with 1 Pro-Bowl appearance.
CLAYTON KERSHAW AND MATT STAFFORD
Fun fact: these two played together in both sports they became famous for during their time playing for the Highland Park High School Scots in North Dallas. In baseball, Stafford played catcher and shortstop – that’s right he caught Kershaw’s pitches. In football, it was Kershaw giving Stafford the ball, as he played centre. One is a 3-time Cy Young winner, the other is a number 1 draft pick. Kershaw’s career has spanned 10 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers; Stafford’s career has spanned 9 years with the Detroit Lions. Great Scots!