If you haven’t seen it, let’s all enjoy this video of former Miami Hurricanes and NFL wide receiver Michael Irvin rally the Miami fan base ahead of their season opener with the rival Florida Gators.
Michael Irvin is PUMPED for Miami vs. Florida ‼️🔊🆙
— ESPN (@espn) August 24, 2019
During Irvin’s time, the University of Miami became, “The ‘U’,” with players from Florida staying local and building a college football dynasty that extended two decades. Known for their braggadocious personalities backed by their on-field dominance, The U is a legendary pillar in the history sports. Dozens of NFL greats played there, still represent there, and were key components of the college’s rise to dominance. But The U’s most famous alum managed to rise in stardom without the gridiron. I speak, of course, of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The year is 1991. Dwayne Johnson was good enough to be a starting defensive tackle at The U. Injuries derailed his career, as he was replaced by future Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp. Johnson went undrafted and signed with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, where he was cut from the practice squad two months into the season. A tenure so short, betting on CFL games would’ve been a fleeting option at the time.
Here, at his “rock bottom,” is where Johnson pursued the family business. He trained to become a pro wrestler and as the son and grandson of former pro wrestlers, the entertaining sport was in his blood. From his given name to Flex Kavana to Rocky Maivia to now The Rock, Johnson became one of the World Wrestling Federation’s (now WWE) mega stars. Known for his wit on the microphone cutting promos and his in-ring charisma as “the most electrifying man in sports entertainment,” The Rock sat atop the wrestling pantheon for over 20 years.
Through wrestling, he grew to become a movie star. No matter the film, whether good or bad and leading or supporting, The Rock jumped off screen. He eventually became a sought-after leading man for action films. His massive build and sharp comedic sarcasm are the perfect blend to spearhead movies like San Andreas, Skyscraper and this year’s Hobbs & Shaw with Jason Statham and Idris Elba.
The Rock has grown so much in popularity that Forbes Magazine announced that he’s 2019’s highest paid actor. He’s ahead of men like Bradley Cooper and Chris Hemsworth, and doesn’t look to be slowing down despite being well into his 40s. He still looks like he can lay the smackdown on bad guys.
But like other famous Miami football players, The Rock always reps The U. In interviews, at public appearances and even in the squared circle, Johnson will always be a Hurricane. I famously remember him walking away from the ring after defeating John Cena to end Wrestlemania XXVIII and fans were worried he’d lose. “Not in Miami,” Rock said. As his Hurricanes push ahead in 2019 despite the tough opening week loss to the Gators, here’s to him becoming the biggest star from a program that produced constellations worth of them.
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse’s good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.