Like so many other high schoolers with big talent and even bigger dreams, Jacob Rainey was once bursting with potential.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder had played some quarterback as a sophomore in 2010, and 2011 was going to be his year to shine at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. But in a cruel twist of fate, Rainey suffered a freak injury to his right knee during practice last September. Keith O'Brien describes the scene from practice in an incredibly powerful story in the New York Times:

Teammates began to cry. At least one felt ill. [Woodbury athletic trainer Jeff Johnson] stayed at Rainey’s side. Knee dislocations are associated with severed arteries and blood loss, potentially life-threatening injuries, which the Raineys would soon learn. The poplit­eal artery in Jacob’s leg had been ruptured, cutting off circulation to his lower limb.

Doctors could not save Raney's leg, and amputation from the knee down became the only option.

After the surgery, Rainey's prosthetic leg made a return to football unlikely, so experts encouraged Rainey to look into training for the Paralymics. Rainey, however, remained set on the gridiron.

"It's just my mentality," Rainey told O'Brien. "When people tell me I can't do something, the stubbornness I have just pushes me forward."

Rainey began seeing physical therapist David Lawrence in March, and O'Brien writes that then "he wasn't even close to running."

"He was at a 70-year-old-amputee point," Lawrence said. "He could walk. He could put weight on his leg. But he was basically carrying the leg around."

After three months of physical therapy, Rainey began running outside. A few weeks later he threw his first pass in almost a year. Rainey eventually switched to a new prosthesis designed for athletes, and as he began to feel more comfortable, the quality of his throws increased significantly.

Rainey and his family are unsure if he'll ever play football again, but they realize that high school is his best chance. And that makes Rainey's hurdle that much higher: Not only is he competing against himself, he is competing against time.

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In September 2003, Andy Roddick was the toast of American tennis. The 21-year-old shocked the world at the U.S. Open to win his first Grand Slam title. More specifically, he stole the show from Andre Agassi, the 33-year-old who entered the tournament as the world's No. 1 player. Agassi suffered a semifinal defeat to Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero. Roddick then disposed of Ferrero in three sets.

The torch was passed. Agassi, the last remaining player from the loaded American tennis generation that featured Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Michael Chang, never regained the top ranking. Ferrero snatched it after that U.S. Open, but Roddick claimed it two months later. He became the first American not named Agassi or Sampras to hold the distinction since Courier in earlier 1993.

Roddick was the heir to the American throne, but then his road hit a few bumps. Then a few more. But the end is near. On Thursday, his 30th birthday, Roddick announced this year's U.S. Open will be his final opportunity at a second Grand Slam title as he will retire after the tournament. Did he underachieve or was he a victim of bad timing?

"I feel very bad for anybody that's come along in the era of arguably the three greatest tennis players of all-time," Agassi said Thursday in an interview with ThePostGame. "Certainly in my opinion, one of them is the greatest player of all-time. You could certainly make some comprehensive arguments across the board that history will judge this era as the Golden Age in tennis. That's quite a standard to live up to in quite an era of tennis."

Agassi has the unique perspective of witnessing Roddick's career as a mentor, fellow player and fan. Although Roddick may have been one of the most skilled players in the Open Era, his legacy will be judged against the success of his contemporaries Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

And the excellence of those international stars might not be the only factor victimizing Roddick's reputation. Agassi played in arguably the Golden Age of U.S. tennis with his prime tailing off just before the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic generation. Agassi believes that created expectations for and judgments about Roddick because he was following that era of American tennis.

"Andy's had a lot on his shoulders a long time, trying to keep alive the Grand Slam titles that preceded," Agassi said. "They're the same pressures I felt coming off of the backs of McEnroe and Connors."

For a decade, Roddick served as the poster boy of American male tennis. He was emotional and controversial. He was loyal and devoted. He was marketable and respectful. He married a supermodel and adapted to social media. He did everything U.S. tennis needed from its alpha male, except win more Grand Slams. But it was not all his fault.

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After earning the No. 1 ranking in late 2003, Roddick was overtaken in early 2004 by Federer, who held on to it for four and half years. Nadal and Djokovic are the only others to taste the top ranking since Roddick's 13-week reign.

Since Roddick's U.S. Open crown, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 32 of a possible 35 Grand Slams. Roddick has made four Grand Slam finals in that time (all against Federer), but neither he nor any other American has won a Grand Slam.

"It's measured against a lot of Grand Slams at a time when there's just a lot of great players" Agassi said of Roddick's career.

As for U.S. tennis fans, Agassi advises they stay hopeful. The past decade has built character among U.S. fans who had not known defeat. Roddick's generation, which has included such Americans as James Blake, Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri and Taylor Dent, gave U.S. fans a learning experience.

"I think we have some real optimistic players, unquestionably, who can pick up a very spoiled country when it comes to tennis and American champions," Agassi said.

Agassi believes with the big three in the tennis world and Roddick getting older, it is time to get giddy about some of the young American stars.

"I love the way Jack Sock is playing right now," Agassi said. "John Isner, how do you teach competing against 6-foot-10? I feel like me with my back and my hips right now, you could give me his size and weapons and I'm going to go make everybody miserable on the tennis court. [Ryan] Harrison is just learning his game. He has a lot of arm and certainly could leave his mark."

Youngsters Sam Querrey and Jesse Levine are also among possible future stars in the next generation of U.S. tennis.

Nine years have gone by since Roddick took the baton from Agassi's veteran hands. In that time, Roddick helped the U.S. stay relevant, but never climbed to the top of men's tennis the way many believed he would.

On a late summer afternoon in 2003 in New York City, a 21-year-old brought American tennis fans to their feet. Unless he makes a historic run as the 20th seed at this U.S. Open, he will never experience the same feeling.

Roddick's legacy will continue to be debated. Will he be remembered as a failed prodigy or a warrior in the toughest era in tennis history? Was he too emotional or not focused enough? Maybe he will be seen at the bridge from one successful American tennis generation to another.

Or maybe Agassi is right. Maybe Roddick was better than his win-loss total shows. Maybe he was just a victim of the most star-studded generation in tennis history.

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At 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, Dan Rather Reports updates the profile of Daniel Rodriguez on AXS TV. Here producer T. Sean Herbert tells of the special bond between Rodriguez and his coach, Dabo Swinney, in an exclusive preview for ThePostGame.com.

***

On any given Sunday, you can find Clemson University's football coach, Dabo Swinney, in church. Swinney, a devout Christian, was joined in the congregation this summer by a young man who shares his passion for the gospel and the gridiron.

Daniel Rodriguez met Swinney a few months ago, and has since moved to Clemson, South Carolina.

Swinney thinks Rodriguez has a lot to offer his team that goes far beyond football.

"To have that guy in the locker room, on this campus, with these fellas when we are not around, to have him on the bus, in the dining hall, that's priceless," says Swinney. "Once he came here, I was blown away with his drive to be the best, and that's what we talk about to our team all the time: Just do your best. Just take what God's given you, and you be your best."

Rodriguez has been doing his best for the past two years, sculpting his 24-year-old body into perfect shape, so he can walk on and play Division I college football somewhere. At 5-8, 175 pounds, this overage, undersized war hero was a long shot at best. But the former Army sergeant has faith that he will make the grade.

"There's not a single doubt in my body that I can perform at this level," Rodriguez says. "That's the mindset I've always had."

That confidence comes from an unbreakable promise he made to a friend who was killed alongside him in a valley in eastern Afghanistan during one of the bloodiest battles in the war.

Rodriguez says of the 27 soldiers killed in his unit during battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of his friend Kevin Thomson was the most difficult to emotionally overcome.

"That's what pushes me," he says. "I need to be everything I can be and more, because the air that I breathe is provided by those that have died."

On Oct. 3, 2009, in what has become known as the Battle of Kamdesh, more than 300 Taliban insurgents stormed an American outpost, killing eight U.S. soldiers including Thomson.

"He came out to get on the gun with me to start fighting. And as soon as he walked in front of me, he got hit in the head. And he dropped right by my feet."

Rodriguez was among the 22 wounded. An estimated 150 Taliban were killed and Rodriguez received a Bronze Star.

"It was written up ... heroic actions under fire and presented to me just because I didn't stop fighting," he says. "Came down to me throwing hand grenades, and killing at point-blank range."

He says despite being wounded he kept fighting because he couldn't get over the fact that Thomson was dead, and he didn't want the enemy to think they got away with it.

"I knew how many they were, but I was not going to stop shooting until it was done. And it just wasn't my day to go. And I got a medal for it."

Weeks before Thomson's death, Rodriguez and Thomson made a pledge that if they survived their combat tour, they would pursue their dreams. Thompson wanted to be a butcher; Rodriguez wanted to play college football.

"I gave him my word that I'd do everything I could to play football someday. I didn't really take to heart how serious I was gonna be about it until he was killed."

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After completing his commitment in the Army, Rodriguez kept his promise. He created a video combining his unorthodox training routines with his compelling story and then posted it on YouTube last December to hopefully attract college coaches. The video went viral and caught the attention of Clemson University head football coach, Swinney.

"I just clicked on the link and was really taken aback," says Swinney. "I was mesmerized by watching what this kid had put together. Watching him physically train for just a chance. Myself, having been a walk-on, I truly understand what it's like to chase your dream."

This past spring Swinney invited Rodriguez to South Carolina for a visit.

"I took my visit down to Clemson and met with Coach Swinney, and I fell in love with it," says Rodriguez. "I just had that instantaneous connection with (what) they preach: the football team is a family."

In May, Rodriguez got a chance to prove he belonged. He received a surprise package in the mail. Clemson had sent him an acceptance letter. He jumped at the opportunity, enrolling in summer classes, while the NCAA and ACC considered a waiver making him academically eligible to walk on and play.

Swinney thought the waiver issue was a mere formality.

"When you really study his track record and the price he has paid, for him to have this opportunity to go chase his dreams, in my opinion, it was pretty much a no brainer," the coach says.

By August 1, all of the bureaucratic hurdles had been cleared. The only thing left for Rodriguez to conquer was getting his mind back into a game he hadn't played in six years, since he was a senior at Brooke Point High School in Stafford, Va.

"With camp starting, getting back in the swing of things, it's a grind," says Rodriguez. "It takes me back to basic training, where you have a time schedule. You gotta be up at this time. You eat at this time, this that and the other."

Rodriguez says surviving camp has been made easier because of the special bond he shares with his coach, whose story he finds very inspirational.

Swinney came from a home with an alcoholic father, and his parents eventually divorced by the time he reached high school. Swinney says his senior year and the years that followed at University of Alabama were very tough.

"My mom and I got evicted my senior year of high school from the town home we were renting and had to move in with some friends for a while," Swinney says. "When I moved to Tuscaloosa, that was the eighth different place that I called home in the previous four years.

"I moved to Tuscaloosa and rented an apartment with a friend. My mom moved in with me my sophomore year and was with me the next three years."

Rodriguez has had similar challenges since his junior year. First his parents separated. Then four days after graduation, his father died after suffering a massive heart attack. Like a father and a minister, Swinney, listens and takes pride in giving his walk-on a chance.

"It gives me an opportunity to give back because so many people gave to me," Swinney says. "To see a guy who's willing to pay the price, who's not asking for anything, who's willing to just work hard like everybody else, go above and beyond what everybody else is doing, that's very fulfilling. And in this case, an opportunity to give a guy a chance to fulfill a dream."

Swinney, whose Clemson Tigers are ranked in the top 15 of nearly every national preseason poll, says he shares many things in common with Rodriguez.

"I was that guy. When I chose to go to the University of Alabama and walk on, it was my dream. And I didn't want anybody to take that away from me. And I'm just blessed that I had the opportunity to make it and to earn a scholarship."

Rodriguez knows that Swinney has given him the opportunity to honor a promise he made to a fallen brother in a valley of death in Afghanistan, and he can't wait to have the opportunity to deliver in Clemson's Death Valley.

"It feels good knowing that I've done it and accomplished it for my best friend," Rodriguez says. "But at the same time, I want more. I don't want to be just a name on the sideline. My goal wasn't to be a walk on and then be content with that. Thomson wouldn't let me settle for just that."

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a lot of money. Unless you're one of the 545 people in the world ahead of him on Forbes' "The World's Billionaires List," he has more money than you.

But Cuban has a message to those below him on the financial totem pole. When it comes to being a fan, he is just like anyone else.

Cuban does not spend Mavericks games tucked away in a skybox sipping martinis in a suit with other members of corporate America. He has made it a point in his 12-plus years as an NBA owner to sit with the people. Cuban typically attends Dallas games in a courtside seat wearing a Mavs T-shirt and jeans.

"I've been a Mavs fan, a sports fan, my entire life," says Cuban, whose net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion. "I just didn't think that because I bought the team I should change who I am or change how I act."

Cuban resonates with fans for a variety of reasons. His clothing and seats of choice are two ways he connects with the crowd, but he has one other recognizable trait fans relate to: His emotion.

Cuban is one of only a handful of owners in the history of sports (Jerry Jones and the late George Steinbrenner are two prominent others) who puts his passion on display in front of his team, the fans and the media.

"I'm crazy at a Mavs game now," he says. "You should have seen what I was like before I bought the team. I was out of mind. The whole logic, I guess if you want to call it that, is what's the beauty of going to a sporting event or watching a sporting event. It's one of the few times we get to let out all of our aggression, so during the game, you can see me getting all wild, involved in the game and all excitable."

Away from arenas and stadiums, Cuban insists he does not live with the same emotion he exemplifies courtside. While the public image may be of Cuban as a wild man, he says he is a tame person.

"We lose, it might take me a little bit of time to calm down," he says. "If we win, might take me a little bit of time to calm down, but once that's past, then it's past. Outside of the games, you're going to find me pretty mellow and laid back."

Beyond the Mavericks, Cuban is a junkie of other major sports. A Pittsburgh native, Cuban sticks to his Steelers, Pirates and Penguins allegiances. After living in Dallas for most of his adult life, he has also adopted the Cowboys, Rangers and Stars.

"I'm hardcore sports across the board," Cuban says. "I love to watch. I love to go to games. None of them compare to the Mavs obviously."

Because he is a native of one city and a long-time resident of another, even the most die-hard sports fans might be willing to accept his split loyalties. But Cuban's father does not fit that list. He still bleeds black and yellow and does not show any signs of changing.

"My dad's 86 years old and he just doesn't like the idea I could root for a Dallas team against a Pittsburgh team," Cuban says. "Fortunately, Pittsburgh doesn't have an NBA team, so I'm safe there."

Another way Cuban connects with fans and his players is through his feelings on the media. Cuban is never afraid to speak his mind to the press. An example of this came on the morning after Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June when Cuban appeared on ESPN's First Take. While sitting next to the notoriously outspoken Skip Bayless, Cuban did not hold back his feelings about the journalist's credibility. Cuban attacked him for a lack of facts in his reporting, putting Bayless on the defensive. The Bayless bombardment was seen as a long overdue action that needed to be taken by someone with power in the sports world.

Cuban has an idea of why the sports media world makes accusations without a proper factual basis. The culprit: Twitter.

"I think it really has become an outlet for fans who are very, very vocal and emotional and excited and it's really, really easy to have Twitter courage," Cuban says. "A lot of people go on Twitter and explain whatever it is they want to explain with 140 characters and I think media look to fan responses there and to a less extent as other social media and takes it as gospel and I think that's far from the truth."

Cuban believes sportswriters do not have the proper sample size of fans when using Twitter as a gauge. Although the Twitter world has grown rapidly the past three years, the vast majority of American sports fans are still living without it.

"We make a huge mistake in media of looking at Twitter as the barometer for the typical fan when it's not. I think 7 percent of the U.S. is on Twitter ... ," he says. "I think more fans are disconnected from Twitter and just into their teams and enjoy going to the games and enjoy rooting for their teams because it's fun."

Cuban will be looking to make Mavericks fans, himself included, happy when the 2012-13 NBA season rolls around in a couple months. He feels the team has brought in a good group of additions, Elton Brand, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and Darren Collison to name a few, who can help Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs contend for a second NBA title in three years.

The owner's strategy is as simple as it comes: "Hopefully we'll score more points than the other team."

Cuban does not like to predictions about his team and would not make any guarantees. He sticks to the old, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset.

"All what we try to do here at the Mavericks is put together a great organization and the best players possible and see what happens," he says. "For the last 12 years, going on 13 years that I've been here, it's turned out pretty well, so hopefully we'll continue this season."

One thing is for certain in the upcoming season: Cuban will don his signature T-shirt and jeans wardrobe at the American Airlines Center while putting on a show of emotions.

And Mavericks fans will love it.

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Once upon a time, Mark Cuban was not rich. It may be hard for people, especially sports fans, to imagine, but it's true. Once upon a time, he was a young Pittsburgh native just trying to make it in the world.

There are millions of Americans today trying to make it like Cuban, whose net worth, according to Forbes, is $2.5 billion. The business mogul and entrepreneur knows there are others who have the potential to hit it big in business. And he has some advice for them.

Tip No. 1: You don't know everything
In the egotistical world of business, it is easy to get overconfident. Cuban himself was fired from an early job at Your Business Software in Dallas when he went to close a deal at the same time he should have been opening the door.

"When I first got started, I thought I knew everything or that if I didn't know it, I could figure it out in a heartbeat," Cuban told ThePostGame. "I worked hard to learn the things I didn't know, but over the years, I've come to the realization, there are some things I just don't know and that's OK."

Tip No. 2: If you don't know something, seek help
Again, Cuban warns others of being overconfident. Many people think they can do it all, but human error prevents anyone from being perfect. Prospective businessmen and entrepreneurs must expect holes in their knowledge. They must learn to trust others.

"The things I don't know, it's a lot better if I just recognize and accept it and go find someone who can fill that skillset, fulfill that knowledge and complement what I can do," Cuban said. "When I first got started, I tried to do it all."

Tip No. 3: Everyone has ideas
Congratulations, people of the world. Everyone on the planet has come up with some idea they think would make life easier. It's natural.

Maybe you're the guy who has thought of an idea for a hovercraft or a time machine. But have you developed that idea? Only a select group of people invest time in their ideas. What if Mark Zuckerberg didn't build Facebook in his Harvard dorm? What if Bill Gates didn't start Microsoft in his garage? What if Benjamin Franklin didn't fly that kite? These innovators followed through on their ideas. Cuban suggests you do the same.

"Ideas are actually the easiest part," he said. "The hard part is knowing what you need to do and then executing on your plan and then staying focused with it."

Tip No. 4: Focus on your plan
Piggybacking off Tip No. 3, Cuban believes the best businessmen and entrepreneurs are those who put their mind to a project and do not give up. When Cuban looks into a company, whether it be a well-known corporation or a start-up on the reality TV series Shark Tank (he is a panelist), he searches for certain green lights before investing.

"I always look for the same traits," he says. "Has someone done their homework? Are they fully focused on the opportunity? And is the opportunity worthwhile itself?"

Cuban says one of the best skills in business is staying on task. If he finds someone who fits this description, he may take the risk of pulling out his checkbook and putting some money into the individual's company.

"Some of these people allow themselves to get pulled in different directions once they get started (with) their own business," he says. "I look for focus, I look for preparation, I look at the idea, and I look to see if the person can keep it together."

Tip No. 5: Don't invest in sports -- most of the time
"Stay away," Cuban says about those who may want to invest in sports.

It might seem contradictory that Cuban, an NBA owner, strongly advises against investing in sports-related business endeavors, but he can explain. The problem with sports investing is there are actually too many people interested.

"I get so many business ideas and proposals about Internet fan site(s)," Cuban says. "Or another big one I get is people who want to do scouting sites for high school kids. There's just so many of those things."

For those who want to invest in the sports world, Cuban says it needs to be the right scenario, and he insists the speculators need one key ingredient: Capital.

"It's rare that an idea is actually unique in the sports area particularly when it comes to technology, but it always comes down to execution of the idea, having capital to really push it forward," Cuban says.

"Normally I'm not a big believer that capital makes a difference, but if you're going to make the mistake of going into a highly penetrated, highly competitive area like a sport, then you deserve what you get. I typically would not tell anybody to invest in sports in any angle whatsoever."

Tip No. 6: Invest in Diet Mountain Dew
Cuban, a longtime drinker of Diet Mountain Dew, believes in this product so much that he jumped at the chance to tout it in a commercial.

It turned out to be the last commercial from famed director Tony Scott, who committed suicide Sunday.

Cuban's business tips and techniques will be on display for the public this fall. The fourth season of Shark Tank, Cuban's second season as a full-time panelist, will debut Sept. 14 on ABC.

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban won't remember every business deal he's made, every entrepreneur he's given advice to or every fan he given an autograph.

Heck, he probably won't remember every player who has played for the Mavericks.

But Cuban is certain one memory will accompany him for the rest of his life: The day he served as one of filmmaker Tony Scott's final subjects.

Cuban put his acting chops to the test playing himself in a Diet Mountain Dew commercial. In the advertisement, Cuban offers a Diet Mountain Dew drinker his riches for a bottle of the soda. Skeptical of the multi-billionaire's offer, the drinker declines Cuban's offer.

"I'm the luckiest guy in the world, so I like to just try different things and experience unique opportunities," says Cuban, who also portrayed himself on the final two seasons of Entourage. "Acting and doing the commercials and movies or whatever. The Mountain Dew commercial was just a unique opportunity, so I had to grab it."

It turned out to be the late Tony Scott's final commercial as a director. The brother of filmmaker Ridley Scott and director of Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, Unstoppable and a plethora of other feature films, Scott passed away Sunday from a suicide.

For Cuban, who joined Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and Denzel Washington among those to have worked under Scott's direction, the commercial leaves a bittersweet taste. It was an honor for Cuban to work with Scott but hard to fathom the director's passing so shortly after the filming.

"He was amazing and it's just so heartbreaking to hear what happened," Cuban says. "He was a live wire. He was full of energy. We got to talk about what he thought about The Wild Bunch, a project he was looking at, bringing back Top Gun, doing that remake, and hearing stories. I mean he was just cracking everybody up on the set. He was just nonstop energy, so it's just really, really sad to hear of his passing."

A sequel to Top Gun and a remake of 1969 western The Wild Bunch were among Scott's planned films.

Cuban joins a long list of celebrities who have been featured in Scott commercials. This includes Anthony Hopkins, James Brown, Marilyn Manson and Clive Owen.

"It was fun to work with Tony Scott. You know, we're all saddened by the fact that he's passed away. It was an amazing director, an amazing cast and a unique experience," Cuban says.

A connection between an outspoken Pittsburgh-bred businessman and a British filmmaker does not exactly seem like a match made in heaven. But for one day, thanks to Diet Mountain Dew and a clever script, the two men were linked.

Mark Cuban will not soon forget that. He was one of Scott's final teammates.

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Ross Miller's MMA career was short and sweet. It began with a victory over Jamal Williams on Saturday, and ended shortly thereafter, when he retired.

You can't blame Miller, however, because he's presumably got bigger and better things to look forward to.

The youngest Secretary Of State in Nevada history when he was elected in 2006, Miller is in his second term in office. Miller was named one of 24 “Rising Stars” in governance in 2009.

Miller, a former high school basketball star in Las Vegas, had to step away from the court after multiple knee injuries. One day during rehab Miller saw some MMA training at the gym, and he wanted to try it. For Miller, it was love at first kick.

Miller's bout on Saturday, during which he won after dropping his opponent with a body kick and a right hand, was his last. But he made sure to enjoy it while he could.

Miller's walkout music was Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," a reference to the fact that he is the son of former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller. Miller's fan section wore T-shirts that read, "My secretary of state can armbar your secretary of state."

Miller hasn't received total support from his family for his new hobby. His wife, Lesley, said she prefers not to watch her husband spar. Meanwhile, Miller's grandmother had some choice words for him when he told her that he was training at a UFC gym. She called him a "dumb ass."

With an election coming up in 2014, Miller will hope to translate his acumen from the octagon to the political arena.

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Via GQ.com

Last season, Ndamukong Suh became the most vilified man in football -- the poster boy for gratuitous violence and dirty play. Suh knows what most people think of him: that he's an angry and violent player, hell-bent on destruction. But behind the human wrecking ball lies a quiet, thoughtful 25-year-old who still lives in his dad's house. GQ's Jeanne Marie Laskas reveals that he may just be a player stuck in full throttle ...

Suh was suspended two games for stomping Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith last season:

Suh's dad was at Ford Field on that Thanksgiving Day when his son got ejected for stomping Evan Dietrich-Smith (who would go on to hate having his career defined by two seconds of airtime -- the guy who got stomped). "I saw it," Suh's dad recalls. "I thought, it's part of the game. A lot of violent things happen. Referees always read the reaction. They do not see the action that started it." Context, he says. Everything in context. "It did not look like a stomp to me, it looked like somebody grabbing you and you trying to shake him off." Bam! The foot. Dietrich-Smith's arm. Slow it down. Look at it again. Slow it down. That's what happened, Suh's dad says. Anybody looks at anything long enough, they'll see what they want to see. They wanted a villain, and they picked his son.

Suh is frighteningly focused on football and lets very few people close to him:

"A lot of people don't know truly who I am," he tells me. "And at this point in time, there are not a lot of people I let close enough to find out."

I tell him I noticed. I decide it's not my place to tell him his evasiveness is extreme to the point of creepy.

"I don't want anybody in my circle that's a cancer to what I'm trying to create," he says. "So stay on the outside and make your opinions. They're going to be meaningless to everything in the circle. The boundaries are up for me to keep, and a responsibility of my family, too. That's why, like, I guess you’ve gone through a good screening process."

Suh takes pride in taking down the top NFL quarterbacks:

"I love hitting Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler. Ben Roethlisberger, I would like to go against him, because they say he's one of the hardest to take down. I see that as a challenge, so I would love to take him down multiple times. Peyton Manning, oh, I would love that. I think Michael Vick, I did sack him, one of the most elusive quarterbacks to ever play the game. I took him down with one arm."

-- For the full story on Ndamukong Suh, go to GQ.com

-- More From GQ: Have You Accepted Tim Tebow As Your QB And Sunday Savior?

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Julius Erving never shies away from a challenge.

Give credibility to the upstart ABA? Check. Win an NBA MVP? Check. Bring the first NBA title to Philadelphia since Wilt? Check. Make the slam dunk contest a staple of the NBA? Check.

There is, however, one challenge Dr. J has not conquered yet. It may also be the challenge Erving has fought hardest for the longest period of time.

The doctor fights for the cures.

Underneath his dunks, reverse layups and afro hairstyles lies another side of Erving. It was side NBA fans knew little about during Dr. J's playing days. Each time Erving took the court, he did so with disease on his mind.

At age 19, while a freshman at UMass, Erving lost his 16-year-old brother, Marvin, to lupus erythematosus, a systemic autoimmune disease. When he was 34, his older sister, Alexis, passed away of colon cancer at age 37.

Erving won three titles (two ABA, one NBA), four MVP Awards (three ABA, one NBA) and the first recorded slam dunk contest in basketball history. Those moments do not resonate in his mind with the same color and emotion as the sudden deaths of his brother and sister.

"I lost them in the ultimate fashion," Erving said in a phone interview. "When you lose someone who's the closest person in your world, and you do it twice to these untreatable disorders, it's something that becomes a part of you."

Erving played 16 professional seasons in his Hall of Fame career, but the glory was not just for him. While Erving's afro soared through the air and ignited crowds across the nation, he was playing not just for himself, but for his loved ones as well. Dr. J lost his two biggest fans before the end of his career, but they never left his soul on the court.

"Of course I thought of them," he said of his playing days. "My family, they're always with me. I always think of dedicating the next step I take to them."

That's why Erving has worked with the Philadelphia Tri-State Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America to create the Julius Erving Fund, which supports research and treatment to those affected by Lupus. Erving has raised money for cancer research, cancer treatment and worked with the Special Olympics. He has also been involved with the Hempstead New York Salvation Army since his childhood in Nassau County, N.Y.

It is fitting Erving will be honored Friday at the Harold Pump Foundation's 12th annual gala in Los Angeles. The foundation, under its mission "to raise funds and create awareness for the treatment and cure of cancer,” has given about $4.8 million to charity in its 12-year existence. Past honorees have included Muhammad Ali, Denzel Washington, Jerry West, Hank Aaron, Magic Johnson and Bill Russell. Sandy Koufax and Joe Namath are among Erving's 2012 fellow honorees.

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The 22-year-old major league catcher sat alone on a Saturday night in a restaurant inside Milwaukee's Knickerbocker Hotel, doing his best to digest an 0-for-4 day at the ballpark.

The waiter approached his table with wine -- whether it was a glass or bottle Joe Torre can't remember 50 years later -- set it down and passed along the message that accompanied the gift.

"Compliments of Sandy Koufax," the waiter said.

Torre, who was just beginning his career with the Milwaukee Braves, looked into the hotel's other restaurant and spotted the Dodgers' ace, who had struck him out three times earlier in the day.

He passed on a message for the waiter to return.

"You tell him I came to him all day," said Torre, who popped up the first pitch of his fourth plate appearance following the three strikeouts. "He can come to me tonight."

Within a few minutes, Koufax walked over, sat down and the two Brooklyn natives who had never met started talking baseball.

Torre soaked in every word, convinced to this day that he got much more out of the conversation than Koufax ever could have.

"I felt like I was a kid all over again," Torre says in a phone interview with ThePostGame.com.

That night, minutes turned into hours and the two continued to talk, one player to another, one baseball tale stacked on top of the one before it. That night, Torre and Koufax closed down the restaurant, having lost track of time long before.

Little did Torre know, his relationship with one of baseball's greatest pitchers was just beginning to blossom.
In the five decades since, the two have maintained an unique bond -- one shared between a baseball lifer and a man who has become of the game's greatest mysteries in the years that have passed since his Hall of Fame career ended when he was just 30, still in his prime.

Koufax, over time, has remained mainly to himself, cast widely as a reclusive hermit. But his friends unweave the mystery in a different way, painting Koufax as a genuine, classy baseball retiree who chose to live life on his own terms, not needing the public praise that many of his contemporaries still crave years after they disappeared from the glare of baseball's spotlight.

Yet, to the masses, Koufax -- outside of his jaw-dropping statistical wonders -- remains a bit of an unknown commodity.

And for Koufax, once dubbed The J.D. Salinger of Baseball, that's the way he'd prefer to keep it.

"There's an air of mystery about Sandy," Torre says. "He doesn't show up a lot of things, he doesn't need to be introduced at a ballgame or a banquet.

"Even though he's someone very special, he's grounded... But he likes his own company."

To know Koufax, say Torre and fellow World Series-winning manager Tony LaRussa, is to appreciate a man who has always been very comfortable in his own skin. Not because he has been forced to, but rather, because that's the path he has chosen to walk.

On Friday, though, Torre and LaRussa will present Koufax with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Harold Pump Foundation, which raises money for cancer treatment and awareness.

The 76-year-old Koufax will appear at the gala dinner in Los Angeles, once again being honored for just being Sandy Koufax -- something perhaps the owner of three World Series rings and four no-hitters never wanted to be singled out for in the first place.

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