Best Persistence

Antonio Gates

A native of Detroit, Gates led the Kent State basketball team to the NCAA's Elite Eight in 2002 and was an honorable mention All-American the following year. But when the NBA overlooked the burly forward in 2003, Gates walked on with the San Diego Chargers -- his first football action since high school. Dropped after the preseason, he returned as an injury fill-in at tight end and wowed coach Marty Schottenheimer's staff with his soft hands. Now far from a walk-on, Gates opened this season as San Diego's starter -- and caught eight balls for 123 yards in week one alone. He's living out his football fantasy, and fantasy-leaguers are starting to notice.