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Dwayne Johnson: From Football to Fame

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An Homage to a Hurricane Hero

89th Annual Academy Awards - Show Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

National Champion, Kids Choice Award winner, Guinness World Record holder, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. I challenge you to find another person who shares these same accolades with Dwayne Johnson. OK, you can stop looking because that person doesn’t exist. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the most famous Miami alumnus and a bona fide national treasure. Those close to him comment on his humility, tenacity, work ethic, and fun loving spirit. As an avid Instagram follower of his, I can corroborate. This past week Mr. Johnson not only celebrated Fate of the Furious topping the $1 billion global box office mark, but also his 45th birthday. After such a joyous week, I figured we should take a quick look at his road taken to stardom and some of his greatest accomplishments.

All long-time Canes fanatics have known Dwayne Johnson from back when he still had a full head of hair. A highly recruited defensive lineman finishing up high school in Pennsylvania, young Dewey Johnson followed his nose to Coach Orgeron’s gumbo grill down in Coral Gables. Right off the bat, Dewey stumbled into a national championship upon landing in Miami in 1991. Not a bad freshman year. Trust me, I’ve seen way worse. Unfortunately, that’s essentially the peak of his football career. The entrance of a kid named Warren Sapp forced poor Dwayne, also hampered by injury, to take the back seat and remain mostly as a role player. At Miami, Dewey recorded 77 tackles, 4.25 sacks, 1 start, and most importantly earned a college degree. A short stint with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders following graduation basically capped off his football career. Not too illustrious by any means, but we thank you Mr. Johnson for your contributions on and off the field.

Things got more exciting once Dwayne started wrasslin’. As the son and grandson of professional wrestlers, Dwayne joining the family business was a no-brainer. However, the start of his career was not easy, and he claims to have had only seven bucks to his name at one point. That desperation led him to work relentlessly to eventually become the greatest wrestling superstar of all time. No big deal. Adopting the ring name of The Rock, he has claimed ten world champion title belts since 1996 and continues to make occasional ring appearances to this day. If you’ve never smelled what The Rock is cooking or seen him throw down a spinebuster/People’s Elbow combo, then I highly suggest you watch these highlights of The Rock absolutely taking Stone Cold to the cleaners.

As the years passed, Dwayne’s global success in the WWE naturally led to outside pursuits in Hollywood where he’s amassed an equally impressive resume. In 2016, he was anointed the highest paid actor in Hollywood with such recent hits as Furious 7, San Andreas, Central Intelligence, and Moana. As a loyal fan, I’ve made it my duty to see every film that DJ puts out. In doing so, let’s just say no one can bat 1.000 in show business. Tooth Fairy…not quite my style, Race to Witch Mountain…uh, I’d call it unmemorable. But these occasional misses are offset by some real gems like Faster, The Other Guys, The Rundown, and of course all the Fast franchise movies. Everyone loves Hobbs.

Dwayne, being the true renaissance man that he is, has also dabbled in the music world. If you’re looking for a classic jam to add to your gameday playlist, allow me to suggest this absolute fire track (insert fire emoji):

Throughout all this massive success, it warms my heart to know that Dewey never forgot where he came from. He has returned to Miami as a Commencement speaker and has also generously donated millions of his hard-earned dollars to The U. The football locker room bears his name along with his quote, “I am and forever will be a Miami Hurricane”. Wow, what a guy. As Miami Hurricanes fans, we should all be proud to have such a great steward representing Canes Nation.

So what’s next for The Rock? Well, as long as he keeps setting his Rock Clock for 4:30am, I’m sure we can expect his continued domination over life. I don’t foresee him slowing down anytime soon. He’s even gone so far as to express an interest in politics and a potential presidential campaign. If the People’s Champ were legitimately elected the People’s Champ, I sure wouldn’t hate seeing oval office meetings run like this…

You keep doing you Dwayne. Signed, your biggest fan.