One of the central themes of The Big Brain Club is that you don’t have to choose between being smart and being cool . . . you can do both. The labels that kids sometimes slap on each other — jock, nerd, etc. — are, at best, interchangeable. In most cases they’re just silly.
Take, for instance, Malcolm Mitchell. He’s a star football player at one of the biggest college powerhouses in the country, The University of Georgia. Coming out of Valdosta High School just a few years ago, he was an All-American wide receiver and was ranked by ESPN as the seventh-best player at his position in the entire country. Total jock, right?
Well, it might surprise you to learn that when a CBS reporter told Mitchell that someone referred to him as a nerd, he responded by saying, “I was proud of it. It’s like a badge of honor to me.”
You see, even after graduating from high school, Malcolm Mitchell was reading at the level of a middle school student. And he didn’t like that. He wanted to improve himself, which is exactly what he did. When asked about why he’s so proud of the strides he’s made academically — as opposed to scoring touchdowns on Saturday — he said something interesting.
“[The football talent] came naturally. That’s a gift. I had to work to read.”
Check out this short video about Malcolm from CBS Sunday Morning. Very, very cool.
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