This past Monday Emmitt Smith and Mark Cuban spoke out about mental illness awareness in partnership with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. The institute has started a website called OkaytoSay.org in which people can share their stories and offer support to spread the word that effective treatment is available statewide.
Emmitt Smith is a Pensacola, Florida native where he played high school football for Escambia High School and ran for 106 touchdowns and 8,804 yards which at the time was the second most ever by a high school football player in history. Smith received a scholarship to play college football at the University of Florida and started in his third career game as a Gator. Smith broke the 1,000 yard mark after only seven games which was the fastest any player has reached that mark to start a college career. After three years with the Gators, Smith already owned many Florida rushing records including career touchdowns with 36, career rushing yards with 3,928, and career rushing yards per game average with 126.7. Smith decided to forgo his senior season at Florida and entered the 1990 NFL Draft where he was selected with the 17th pick by the Dallas Cowboys. Smith was the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,400 yards or more in five consecutive seasons. In 2001, Smith ran for over 1,000 yards for an amazing 11 consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards and the first to do so in a career. He currently holds career rushing records in yards with over 18,000 and rushing touchdowns with 164. During his time with the Cowboys, Smith also won three Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP, and made it to eight Pro-Bowls.
Mark Cuban is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native who skipped his senior year in high school to enroll at the University of Pittsburgh. Cuban later transferred to Indiana University because it had the cheapest tuition of all the schools in the top ten of business. After graduation, Cuban left for Dallas, Texas where he began working with Your Business Software, one of the first PC software retailers in Dallas. After being fired Cuban started his own business called MicroSolutions which was sold to CompuServe for six million dollars. Afterwards, Cuban, teamed with another Indiana University alum, started Audionet. Audionet was sold in 1999 for 5.7 billion in Yahoo! stock. Cuban has since entered into many startups giving them name recognition and helping many of them reach new heights. In January of 2000 Cuban bought a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks for 285 million dollars and has owned the team ever since. In the 20 years before his purchase of the team, the team only won forty percent of their games and since have won 69 percent of their games. In 2011, the Mavericks reached the NBA Finals for the second time under Cuban but this time beat the same team that defeated them in their last appearance winning the NBA title. Since his ownership, Cuban has shown much love for the game and his Mavericks which can be seen in the amount of fines the NBA has slapped on him due to his criticizing of referees.
This past Monday Mark Cuban and Emmitt Smith spoke out about mental health awareness. With high profile athletes and owners such as Smith and Cuban the campaign should gain traction about a subject many do not or do not want to speak about.
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