Sylvester Stallone was homeless in 1975 and had $106 to his name.

Today, he's worth over $400M.

This is the wild story of how one negotiation changed his life forever and why betting on yourself is always the right move.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Let's start in 1969...

After 3 years at the University of Miami, Sylvester Stallone dropped out of college, deciding to move to NYC to chase his acting dreams.

The interesting part?

Born with a partially paralyzed face & slurred speech, everyone thought he would fail.
2) From 1969-1975, Sylvester Stallone did just that — he failed.

When he wasn't sleeping in the Port Authority Bus Terminal after being evicted, Stallone worked as a movie theater usher & cleaned lion cages at the zoo.

As if that wasn't bad enough, it got worse.
3) Homeless with no money to his name, Sylvester Stallone even starred in a softcore pornography film.

The pay?

Only $200.

Even worse?

Thin, hungry, and with no money to eat, Stallone sold his beloved dog "Butkus" for $40 in front of a 7-Eleven.
4) Down on his luck and unable to catch a break, Sylvester Stallone was on the verge of giving up acting.

Until one event changed his life forever.

This is where it gets interesting…
5) In 1975, after watching the Muhammad Ali vs. Chuck Wepner fight, Sylvester Stallone was inspired.

Stallone spent the next 3 days writing, emerging from his apartment exhausted with a film script.

He called it "Rocky."

Next up?

A studio to produce it.
6) When Sylvester Stallone pitched his script about an "uneducated debt-collector-turned-champion boxer named Rocky Balboa" to producers, they loved it.

The only problem?

They wanted to buy it, removing Stallone from the starring role & replacing him with a more popular actor.
7) At 30 years old with just $106 to his name, Sylvester Stallone was offered $360,000 for the script — the equivalent of $1.7M today.

Demanding the film be made with him in the starring role, Stallone turned the offer down.

“It was really insane at the time ’cause I was broke”
8) Confident in his acting ability, Sylvester Stallone accepted $25,000 for the script, rather than $360,000, on the premise he would maintain the starring role.

The best part?

Stallone used $15,000 of the money to buy his dog back.

Even better?

Butkus was in the film :)
9) Rocky went on to receive 9 Oscar nominations, winning 3 awards including Best Picture, and grossed over $200M.

In the years since, it has become one of the most successful film franchises of all-time — making 8+ movies.

Today, Sylvester Stallone is worth more than $400M.
10) Whether it's sports, business, or acting, the most successful people in the world have consistently taught us two things are required:

1. Take a risk
2. Bet on yourself

Sylvester Stallone followed both principles, going from homeless to a $400M net worth.

That's legendary.
11) If you enjoyed this thread, you should:

1. Follow me; I tweet cool stories like this every day.

2. Subscribe to my free daily newsletter, where I give a detailed analysis on topics involving the money and business behind sports.
Also, don't forget @AthleticBrewing is the reason I'm able to create sports business content full-time.

If you want to support me, buy some beer - it's really great stuff.

Use code "JOE25" for 25% off at

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More from @JoePompliano

27 Jan
On the anniversary of Kobe Bryant's death, here's a story you've probably never heard.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) Let's start in 2007...

Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers have just lost in the first round of playoffs to the Phoenix Suns.

Frustrated that the Lakers were unable to build a championship-level roster, Kobe started to plan his exit.

His preferred destination?

2) Given his desire to be traded, Kobe Bryant inquired about working out at nearby UC Irvine during the offseason.

As a small mid-major program with poor facilities, no one actually thought Kobe Bryant would show up — until he did.

This is where it gets interesting…
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24 Jan
No catchy headline or attention-grabbing joke, I wrote this thread with one single intention:

To provide context around why Hank Aaron is not only one of the most important athletes of all time but a generational figure in American history.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) To truly understand the multi-generational impact of Hank Aaron, we must first understand his past.

Growing up in the '30s & '40s in Mobile, Alabama — a town in the heart of the segregated South — Hank Aaron experienced racism his entire adolescent life.
2) With African Americans unable to participate in organized baseball leagues, Hank Aaron, who idolized Jackie Robinson throughout childhood, was left without the necessary fields or equipment to chase his baseball dreams.

His solution?

"I would hit bottle caps with a stick."
Read 19 tweets
23 Jan
When the UFC moved forward with live events during the pandemic, Dana White was called "reckless" & "irresponsible."

His response?

“I don’t give a f**k.”

But did he really even have a choice?

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some background...

On March 11th, the NBA season came to a halt following Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19.

On May 9th, just 2 months after the NBA shut down, the UFC returned to action with UFC 249 in Jacksonville, FL.

The response?

Not great.
2) When Dana White announced the UFC would be the first sports organization globally to return to action, the media freaked out.

He was called "reckless," "irresponsible," and "somebody with a flawed intelligence."

But did he even have a choice?

Let's run through it…
Read 15 tweets
17 Jan
A piece of cardboard sold for $5.2 million this week.

The craziest part?

"It was a steal."

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some background...

In 2020, more than $20 trillion in economic stimulus was allocated globally due to COVID-19.

The result?

Investors flocked to inflation-hedged assets like gold, real estate, bitcoin, art, and sports trading cards.

Yes, even sports trading cards.
2) For example, in August 2020, a signed 1-of-1 Mike Trout rookie card sold for a record $3.94 million.

Even more interesting?

Less than 6 months later, the record has been shattered again.

This week, entrepreneur Rob Gough bought a 1952 Mickey Mantle PSA 9 card for $5.2M.
Read 14 tweets
16 Jan
One of the most popular figures in sports history never played professionally.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some history...

Stephen A. Smith — born in the Bronx but raised in Queens — is the 5th of 6 children.

His parents, who immigrated from the Virgin Islands, worked "15-16 hour days" to provide for their family.

As for Stephen A Smith?

His life took an unusual path…
2) In elementary school, @stephenasmith was held back twice and constantly ridiculed by his classmates.

"I remember the look on my father’s face, looking at me like I was a complete failure.

People want to know where my motivation came from? My motivation came from that.”
Read 13 tweets
13 Jan
Two of the wealthiest owners in sports history teamed up to build a billion-dollar company.

Time for a thread 👇👇👇
1) First, some history.

From a financial perspective, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and late NY Yankees owner George Steinbrenner are two of the best owners in sports history.

How so?

Let's take a look...
2) Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys for $140M in 1989, but the team is worth almost $6B today.

George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees from CBS for $8.8M in 1973, but the team is worth $5B today.

Simply put, they're both legends.

Now, this is where it gets interesting.
Read 12 tweets

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