9 Sports Stars Who Came Out Of Nowhere

Pro sports teams are always on the hunt for “the next big thing,” the guy who might put a team on his back and carry them to multiple championships. That’s why we make such a big deal about scouting and prospects and draft lotteries and draft picks. But of course, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes the top prospect is a bust, and a team wastes its precious #1 draft pick. (Sorry, Greg Oden.) Then, other times, you get a superstar where you least expect it—from a backup’s backup, the end of your bench, the 13th round of the draft, or a grocery store in Iowa—and the sports world goes wild.

Today, in honor of a certain New York Knicks player who’s taken the world by storm the last two weeks (okay fine, it’s Jeremy Lin), we count down the top 9 pro athletes who came out of nowhere to become household names.

Who made the list? Let’s find out.

Tags: albert pujols, fernando valenzuela, jeremy lin, Kurt Warner, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker,