SportsBiz…Stories From The Road “Chapter Three”

The little man here in the middle of my son’s first grade class winter concert, was obviously not happy. Not sure if it was the performance or because his parents made him rock out in his brand new slick suit. While all the other kids dressed like they were going on a field trip to Yuppie Family Land, this little guy was dress to impress! Dare to be different.

There is this great story Billie White Shoes Johnson told me when I worked an event with him at the Atlanta Falcons. I asked him when he started wearing the white shoes. As we drove around the Falcons practice facility in a golf cart, Billie who was a great character told me the following story…

He started wearing the white shoes in high school as part of a dare. He was small but fast and not recruited out of HS. He made his way to the NFL out of a Division 3 college and he knew he needed that edge to stand out. He had became known for not only his shoes but his unique endzone celebrations. Both not the norm at that time. He dared to be different to become noticed.

His first NFL head coach fined Billie for wearing the shoes after the first game, which Billie caught a few TD’s passes, one to win the game. Yet he was still fined. The next game Billie still wore the white shoes which again he scored and again he was fined. Finally Billie and the coach had a meeting and the head coach said “Billie we are a team and everyone needs to dress the same”, he said

“I agree coach, you give us the uniforms, you give us the equipment but the white shoes makes me faster… don’t you want me to be faster”?

The coach didn’t like it but finally agree that as long as he keeps scoring then he can keep wearing the shoes. The Legend of Billie White Shoes Johnson was born. Billie went on to become a multiple NFL Pro Bowl Player and Selected as part of the NFL’s 75 Anniversary All Time team.

It’s not about the shoes or the suit, it’s how you feel when you show up to play “The Game”…..Or in this little guys case the End Of The School Year.. Teacher Thank Goodness It’s Over Party! …..Or perhaps it was the tags his mom forgot to cut off his sleeve which made him angry? (look again at his left sleeve of the picture)

Dare to be great today!


Rob Thompson is a 25+ year entrepreneur and executive in the sports and media industry. He is a Keynote Speaker and Mentor for college students and young professionals. Rob shares his personal and business stories along with one on one interviews with influencers and trend setters in the sports industry.

I offer a complimentary 30 minutes consultation to start up businesses, youth sports organizations, media groups and brands seeking assistance with business development, digital/social media strategy and grassroots activation projects. Feel free to schedule a call

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