Actor, producer and former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wasn’t always the highest paid actor in Hollywood. The superstar’s story began in the margins, being subject to eviction notice after eviction notice and getting familiar with the principal’s quarters at Freedom High in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
My SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cover made history by being the first one ever shot with a Smart Phone. Shot by my boy @LebrechtMedia. Cool technology. Appreciate all your positive feedback on the cover story. It was good to dig in w/ SI writer Alan Shipnuck about my football failures of the past and how those failures still push me today in business. Lessons I'm happy to share w you. #SI #CoverShoot #TheUltimateBaller #BreakingNewGround (and my homie Lindsay is a beast. Heal up you animal).
Johnson recently spoke to Sports Illustrated about his early years and how he ultimately found solace and discipline in the game of football, after an illicit trip to the school staff bathroom led him to a chance encounter with his future high school football coach and mentor, Jody Cwik.
“It gave my life a purpose. Coach Cwik sat me down and said, ‘Listen, your family doesn’t have any money. Your grades are average. If you’re going to get out of this town and make a different life for yourself, football is the vehicle.” He explained.
Johnson’s prowess on the football field led him to The University of Miami, where his collegiate career was cut short by injuries and the emergence of future hall of famer Warren Sapp. After going undrafted, Johnson would turn his chiseled physique toward wrestling, where his natural ability to perform would ultimately turn him into a phenomenon worthy of TV cameos. In time, The Rock would translate his charisma and talent onto the big screen, debuting his acting chops in The Mummy Returns and being rewarded in the following year with star billing in its spinoff The Scorpion King.
In contemporary times, Johnson has been declared the Sexiest Man Alive by People and the highest paid actor in Hollywood by Forbes, hauling in $64.5 million in 2016. Ironically, the one time aspiring super bowl winning defensive end ran into former New York Giants lineman Michael Strahan, whom he admitted to fantasizing about being.
“Man, I’d gladly trade lives with him right now!” Strahan conceded after The Rock’s confession.