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The Top 10 Most Overlooked Athletes - Pre-Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin defies all logic. An an undrafted Asian guy with a Harvard degree in Economics seems destined for anything but the NBA. Which is why the story is so Linsane. But he's not the first athlete to come out of nowhere and rise to starhood in a New York Linute. Here are 10 other star athletes that overcame a complete lack of Linterest and became the best at what they do.

 
10. Mike Piazza

Long before Piazza became the most Linvincible member of the New York Mets, or even the Dodgers, he was a lousy first baseman for Miami-Dade Community College. Purely as a favor to his dad, Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda picked Piazza in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft. In other words, 1,390 players were drafted before him. A position change and 427 homers later and Piazza is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

 
9. John Starks

Before Linsanity was sweeping New York, the Knicks of the 90s had a pretty good point guard of their own. Thanks to some legal issues, Starks attended four different colleges and was passed over in the draft by every team. He was signed by the Warriors for a brief time but was cut by the end of the season. He had to move to the Continental Basketball Association and then the World Basketball League for two seasons before the Knicks took a shot on him. He spent the 90s as the leader of the Knicks, averaging 14+ points per game every season and leading them to the 1994 NBA Finals.

 
8. Wes Welker

The 5'9" white wide receiver did not get much attention as he went undrafted in 2004 out of Texas Tech. He made the Chargers out of training camp but was released after the very first game. Welker was signed as a special teams player by the Dolphins who nearly cut him several times before Welker began evolving into a good receiver. Seeing the potential, Bill Belichick made a move to snag Welker away. In five years on the Pats, Welker has put up a Lincredible 6,105 yards and 31 touchdowns.

 
7. Martin St. Louis

St. Louis got a scholarship to the University of Vermont after playing in a junior hockey league in Canada. Despite putting up solid numbers, St. Louis went undrafted and could not make the Ottawa Senators as a training camp invitee. He signed with the Calgary Flames but never made it out of the minor leagues. Once he was released again in 2000, everything changed. Since joining the Lin-ghtning in 2000, he has appeared in six All-Star games and led his team to the 2004 Stanley Cup.

 
6. Ben Wallace

Wallace played his college ball at Cuyahoga Community College and Virginia Union, going unscouted and undrafted out of college. He got his chance to play with the Washington Wizards and developed into a decent rebounder over three years before getting traded to the Magic. After a mediocre year, the Magic shipped Wallace away to Detroit. His numbers immediately jumped. He averaged 12-15 rebounds a game in six years with the Pistons and went on to put up decent defensive numbers of the Bulls and Cavs. This undrafted kid out of a Division A-II school has been Defensive Player of the Year four times and won the NBA championship in 2004. That's some Linpossibly good D!

 
5. Jose Bautista

How overlooked was the reigning Home Run King? He single-handedly set the record by appearing on five different major league rosters in his rookie season. After incredibly brief stints in Baltimore, Tampa, Kansas City, and a six-hour stay on the Mets, Bautista ended up on the Pirates where he never hit over 16 homers. Even his first year in Toronto was pretty mediocre. Since 2010, however, Bautista has been the biggest power threat in the majors, combining for 97 home runs, 227 RBI, and a .280 batting average over the last two seasons - becoming a Linternational sensation.

 
4. James Harrison

Today, Harrison is as feared a defender as there is. In 2002, he was just another undrafted kid out of Kent State who was "too small". Harrison signed with the Steelers where he went on and off the Practice Squad and was released three separate times. In 2004, he was snagged up by Baltimore who sent him to play for NFL Europe's Rhein Fire and was soon cut again. When the Steelers suffered some injuries, they gave Harrison a call. Since then, Harrison has put up 400+ tackles, 58 sacks, and 27 forced fumbles. Not a bad Linvestment.

 
3. Johan Santana

Long before Santana was a beastly ace for the Twins and Mets, he was a small Venezuelan kid being scouted by the Astros to be a center fielder. They converted him to pitcher but had so little confidence in him that they left him unprotected and he was claimed by the Twins in the Rule 5 draft. After struggling as a lousy long reliever, Santana has gone on to win two Cy Young awards and make the All-Star game four times since he Linvaded the league.

 
2. Tom Brady

Before Tom Brady was a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback who won three out of the five Superbowls he has played, he was the 199th player taken in the 2000 NFL draft. The Pats weren't even going to take him, they were leaning toward now-failed QB Tim Rattay. It was not long until he rose from fourth on the depth chart to taking over for Drew Bledsoe - ultimately leading the Pats to a surprise Superbowl win over the St. Louis Rams. Since then, he has set nearly every regular season and post-season record there is to set, putting up Super Lintendo game numbers.

 
1. Kurt Warner

We now know him as a Hall of Fame quarterback but in 1994 no one knew him at all. Coming out of Northern Iowa, Warner was undrafted and could not make the Green Bay Packers out of training camp. After being cut, Warner took his talents to the Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers where he was so good over two seasons that he made the AFL Hall of Fame. The Rams ultimately took a shot on him, sending him to spend a year in NFL Europe. After coming back, Warner appeared in four Pro Bowls and won Superbowl XXXIV. That's a guy who knows how to Lin!