Athlete Profile: Michael Oher

Michael Oher is a big man. At 6’5” and 309 pounds that would seem rather obvious, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Oher’s got quite a back story, a fact that hasn’t been lost on we in the profession of sports writing. A novel concerning his life leading up to his college career has not only been already released, but is in the works for becoming a feature film. While the material remains accurate, it seems reports of Oher’s intelligence (according to Oher) were exaggerated. But no worries, like I said, he’s a big guy.

And what is this life that resulted in a bestseller? OK, I’m not going into too much detail here, it’s been repeated in other places ad nauseam and I don’t want to throw up on my keyboard. Oher grew up more or less homeless, the son of a crack addict and a father who was never there. Roaming through schools, forgotten on holidays and birthdays, it wasn’t until he was taken in by the Tuohy family at 16 that things truly started to turn around for him. Living with the affluent Memphis family helped grant him the stability and backing needed to get him into a position to rise to national attention.

As if all that wasn’t enough to leave a man a bit bitter, he learned that his last name was, in fact, not his last name at all. While trying to obtain a drivers license, Oher learned that government records retained the name of Michael Williams, his biological father’s surname. A bit of a surprise for anybody I must say. Oher took it in stride, getting a license as Michael Williams for a time before eventually changing his legal name to Oher (Oher is from his mother’s side btw).

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