How Patrick Mahomes Became the Superstar the NFL Needs Right Now (2024)

He also talked with Goodell about NFL teams hiring personnel tasked with helping players become more useful activists in their communities. “I remember talking about having maybe a social-justice officer that can point people in the right direction,” he says. “So whenever you wanna help out the community, you have someone that works with the team that can help.” He was encouraged. “It was a great conversation,” Mahomes says. “It lasted, like, 30 minutes to an hour.”

When the protests began, and when the Saints' Michael Thomas reached out to Mahomes and asked him to appear with the other players in that social media video, Mahomes said he did a lot of listening. He began talking with players across the league, from “five, six, seven different teams.” Trying to gather perspective and educate himself, he told me. He'd grown up in circumstances that differed from those of a lot of players. As the son of Pat Mahomes, a pitcher who spent a decade in the major leagues, he had access to a privileged realm; as the son of a Black father and white mother, he experienced a duality of identity that helped to shape his worldview. What has stuck with him in his conversations after George Floyd's death were the stories guys shared about feeling unsafe. “They felt like they were in trouble when they were doing nothing wrong,” Mahomes said. “That stuff is what really hits home with me, because I've had those slight feelings before, but never to the extent that they have—of being really just targeted. And that's something that's really resonated with me.”

“I always knew that if I got to the big leagues, that's how I wanted to be,” says Mahomes. “I think that's the biggest thing for me: I got to see those different personalities. It's almost like I built the way that I wanted to be, whenever I got to this point.”

That fluidity, the ability to move with ease and extend the small courtesies that count, was important to Mahomes. Kelce says “it's something he developed, to be liked by the people around him, because he wants to be liked.” And he is. Gehrig Dieter, another Chiefs teammate, told me that “people connect with him on a personal level because he is a normal guy that just happens to be super good at football.” (As if to prove this point, Mahomes had a dozen Coors Lights—his favorite beer because it's his dad's favorite—shipped to my apartment as a thank-you for conducting one of our chats on a Saturday.)

If the clubhouse taught him who he wanted to be, sports showed him at a very young age what he wanted to do: He decided he would be a pro athlete. At first he thought it'd be in baseball. And for good reason: That arm was spinning magic tricks, even as a kid growing up in Tyler. He says that when he was four or five, he was playing with six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds and throwing the ball so hard that the grown-ups imposed special rules to keep him from hurting his teammates. If Mahomes was playing shortstop, he'd need to roll the ball across the infield to make a play at first. This wasn't a helpful solution—his dad worried that rolling the ball would mess with his throwing mechanics—and so he moved for a while to first base.

His father was right to be protective of that arm. By Mahomes's junior year, he was starting at quarterback at Whitehouse High School and putting up gaudy numbers. His senior year, he threw for 4,600 yards, 50 touchdowns, and only four interceptions, but college coaches still thought his future was in baseball. Indeed, he was drafted after high school in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers.

One coach who wasn't deterred was Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech (and now the head coach of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals). When Mahomes arrived at Tech, he continued to play baseball, assuming he'd eventually enter the MLB draft again. But after a sophomore season in which he excelled as the Red Raiders' starter, Kingsbury delivered a message to Mahomes, outlining a different future, if he wanted it: I know you love baseball. But if you focus on football for one full year, I think you'll be a first-round draft pick next year. Mahomes decided to give football all of his attention, not just his talent. “I was like, ‘I need to work out. I need the weight room to be something different for me. I need the film study to be different for me. I need to take my game to that next level.’ ”

The Chiefs traded up to take him as the 10th pick in the 2017 draft. And we know how that worked out. But if Mahomes's game-breaking talent has become evident to all, Kingsbury thinks the Chiefs also benefit from something more hidden: a “magic people don't see,” an uncommon charisma.

“I've been around a couple of guys who can do this—Tom Brady was one of them: He can be one of the guys, and that's why they all love him and they play their asses off for him, and when you talk to his teammates they rave about him. But when it's time to step it up, they know how to separate and be the guy,” explains Kingsbury. “They're secure in who they are. They're genuine. They know they're the baddest motherfucker on the field.”

As an expert and enthusiast, I can provide information on a wide range of topics, including public speaking, public speaking techniques, introductions, conclusions, and speech organization. Here's some information related to the concepts mentioned in the article:

Public Speaking:

Public speaking is the act of delivering a speech or presentation to an audience. It involves using words, physical delivery, and visual or audio aids to inform, persuade, or entertain a group of people.

Introductions in Public Speaking:

Introductions in public speaking are critical for establishing a connection between the speaker and the audience. An effective introduction can motivate the audience to listen to the speech. It can include a brief list of reasons why the audience should pay attention to the speech topic. The introduction sets the tone for the rest of the speech and helps capture the audience's interest .

Conclusions in Public Speaking:

Conclusions in public speaking wrap up the presentation by summarizing what the audience was supposed to have learned or been persuaded to do during the speech. A strong conclusion can leave a lasting impact on the audience. For persuasive speeches, a call to action is often used to tell the audience what they should do with the information they have learned .

Speech Organization:

Organizing a speech is crucial for improving clarity of thought and increasing the likelihood of the speech being effective. A well-organized speech helps the audience understand the message and perceive the speaker as reliable and credible. Disorganized speeches can be difficult for the audience to follow and may undermine the speaker's credibility .

Expertise and Credibility:

To be considered an expert, someone needs to have broad competence, knowledge, and skill in a particular field. This expertise is acquired through research, education, experience, and practice. Being skilled, accomplished, talented, proficient, or gifted is not enough to be considered an expert. True expertise requires a deep understanding and mastery of a subject .

I hope this information helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

How Patrick Mahomes Became the Superstar the NFL Needs Right Now (2024)

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