Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul didn’t have it easy growing up, with parents who were Hatian immigrants struggling to get by. And although he was a star in both football and basketball, he strongly considered quitting sports in high school so that he could help his family when his father, who is blind, was struggling to find work.
“I had a job to take care of my parents to take care of some bills at the house because my daddy wasn’t working,” Pierre-Paul said at Super Bowl Media Day. “I had to figure out how to make that all work at one time. I was working at Boston Market. . . . I told my coach, I can’t play football because I have to make money to help my mom.”
Eventually, Pierre-Paul worked things out with his manager to get a schedule that allowed him to come in after practice, which meant he would have football immediately after school, then work immediately after football, and he wouldn’t get home until after midnight.
Now Pierre-Paul has a five-year, $20 million contract, so the days of helping out the family by working at Boston Market are well behind him. But he says he’s still motivated by those days, and inspired by his father.
“Just knowing my dad, my dad never quit no matter what,” Pierre-Paul said. “Since I was born, he couldn’t see. But it is what it is. He never let that stop him.”