We often consider heroes as some larger-than-life beings with superpowers who save the world. Well, we may not come across that league of heroes in real life, but there are some professional athletes that might just come quite close.
These sports heroes overcome their personal challenges, struggles, and fierce competition to make a name for themselves, and that isn’t easy. In fact, all of us could quite possibly list a dozen people in our lives who wanted to be professional athletes but just didn’t have the chops for it.
And they become even more inspiring when they strive to change the lives of people around them. This article is a tribute to the most inspirational professional athletes in the world, and some of the best are listed below.
Bethany Hamilton is a living proof that disabilities and struggles are not as strong as one’s conviction to fight back. Growing up in Hawaii, Bethany was able to surf by the age of seven. But due to a horrific shark attack that cost Bethany her left arm, her dream of becoming a surfer became foggy.
However, Bethany showed incredible conviction and courage by returning to the waves 30 days after the attack. She is currently among the top 50 surfers of all time in the world. Her story is a source of inspiration to people living with disabilities and others as well.
A star NBA player and among the most prominent athletes of all time, LeBron James is an inspiration to many. He is the winner of three NBA championships and two gold medals in his career till now. Moreover, the on-court hero has also repeatedly proved that he’s just as remarkable off the court.
James has recently announced his plans to provide housing facilities to the “I PROMISE” community. It is a social service project he started in schools for poor and marginalized families. He has provided great help to such people over the last decade.
It further enhances his image as one of the most generous players in basketball history.
Michael Phelps proudly holds the record of the greatest swimmer in the history of the Olympics. He has shown miraculous performance in 4 Olympics from Athens (2004) to Rio (2004). Michael has won 28 gold medals in Olympic swimming, out of which 23 are gold.
Michael suffered from ADHD as a child and also remained on medication for some time. ADHD kids are known to show impulsiveness, hyperactivity, restlessness, and short-attention-span.
However, Michael turned this disorder into his strength and used his ability to stay hyper-focused on things he’s passionate about. This helped him enormously in his career. He’s a living testament to the proverb, ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade’.
An inspiration to many young women, Megan Rapinoe truly deserves the title of Sports Person of the Year 2019. Megan has led the US Women Soccer Team to four world cups and one gold in the London 2012 Olympics. She is just as inspirational off the field too.
Megan passionately advocates equal pay for women and gender equality in all terms. She also stood in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick (former NFL player), which shows her stance in the fight against racism.
On top of that, Rapinoe is also an avid supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. All of this makes her a symbol of strength and hope for many minority communities around the world.
In a world that is losing touch with humanity, players like Carlo Carrasco provide a ray of hope. The famous Cleveland Indians pitcher was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2019. It forced him to leave the beloved baseball field to fight against the disease.
But Carlo made an extraordinary comeback after beating the disease in September 2019. During his treatment, he used to visit children in nearby hospitals who were fighting with similar life-threatening conditions.
He and his wife are known for providing care to homeless families and scholarships to children of low-income women. He is the reason why sportsmen are rightly considered heroes who help those in need.
The Bottom Line
Thousands of other athletes continuously shine as a source of inspiration for people around them. Sport is a field that continually tests people, refining them to be their best selves. Whenever you reach a low point in life, the heroic life stories of these inspirational professional athletes will lift you up.