GRANDPARENTS' DAY SPECIAL!
Forty-niner Vernon Davis, last year's No. 6 draft pick who got what was then the largest contract ($23 million, five years) ever for a tight end. He grew up the eldest of seven siblings in a tough area of Washington, D.C.
Adaline Davis, Vernon's grandmother, who raised the entire brood herself.
This Sunday—in case you needed another reason to buy a greeting card—is the 30th annual Grandparents Day.
Just two: 1. Don't accept anything that comes easy, and 2. Treat everyone with respect. That means everyone. At 15 Vernon, a star athlete at Dunbar High, told Adaline he was ditching his close friends, who were getting into drugs. She said to detach with love. "I told him they could turn their lives around, become lawyers or doctors and that he might need them one day," Adaline recalls. "So to let them know you love them and you'll be there for them but you have to do your own thing right now."
At Maryland, Vernon gave himself a reminder of the woman he calls "Ma" by tattooing Adaline on his arm. "When he showed it to me," says Adaline, "I kicked him out the door, turned the lock, shut the lights and didn't sleep a wink that night." After church the next day Adaline called to forgive him. And after last year's draft, he got another tattoo—of her image on his chest.
Davis, who describes Adaline as "my best friend," bought a five-bedroom house for her and his siblings in Silver Spring, Md. He has also pledged a yearly $10,000 donation to her church, Newborn Pentecostal, in D.C.
THE LAST WORD
Adaline's proud of Vernon, but she won't come see him play; she's too worried he'll get injured. She records his games, then watches after getting a postgame call from Vernon saying he's O.K. "I don't like his tattoos, I don't like his football and I don't like his dreads either," says Adaline. "But with all my heart and soul I love him dearly."
The Pop Culture Grid
How do sports stars fit in?
I'm Superbad when I ...
In your pockets right now
Favorite comfort food
Least favorite exercise
Boxers or briefs
Person I'm dying to have dinner with
NICK PUNTO Twins 3B
Have a basketball in my hands
Wallet, cellphone, comb, $100
Chevy Chase (left)
CHRIS COOPER Cardinals DE
Am on the field
Cellphone and wallet
Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs)
JON KITNA Lions QB
Hook my driver off the tee
Car keys, cellphone
My wife Jennifer's bow-tie pasta
Running on a treadmill
SHANE VICTORINO Phillies RF
Get around women
Cellphone, wallet, Trojans
None. I go commando
Jessica Biel (above)
COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (DAVIS FAMILY)
PETER READ MILLER (DAVIS ACTION)
JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE.COM (BIEL)
LOUIS LOPEZ/CAL SPORT MEDIA (PUNTO)
GETTY IMAGES (COOPER)
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/AP (VICTORINO)
LEON HALIP/WIREIMAGE.COM (KITNA)
COLUMBIA PICTURES/PHOTOFEST (SUPERBAD)
WARNER BROS./PHOTOFEST (CHASE)