The Pittsburgh Steelers have two wide receivers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame - Lynn Swann and John Stallworth; Hines Ward has more receptions with the Steelers than the two of them combined. Ward has embodied the heart and soul of the Steelers for over 10 seasons, known as one of the toughest wide receivers in football history (and to some, the dirtiest).
Born in Seoul, South Korea, to a Korean mother and an African-American serviceman father, Ward moved to Georgia at the age of 1 as his father was sent to be stationed in Germany. A year later his parents divorced and Ward sent to live with his grandmother in Louisiana from the ages of 2 to 11, taken away from his mother because she could not speak English. When he was reunited with her in Georgia, Ward felt ashamed of his Asian heritage and embarrassed of his mom even though she worked three jobs to provide for him and allow him to focus on school and sports.
Ward’s ability as a quarterback got him a scholarship to the University of Georgia, where he eventually became a star wide receiver while also playing some running back and quarterback along the way. Ward was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft and became known for his tenacious blocking as well as his pass-catching prowess. He would go on to break all Steelers receiving records and win two Super Bowls, earning MVP honors in Super Bowl XL.
These days Ward is anything but ashamed of his Korean heritage. After his first Super Bowl victory in 2006, Ward returned to South Korea with his mother for the first time and has since become an advocate for social acceptance of mixed-race children in Korea.