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Even if you don’t consider yourself a football expert, chances are you’ve heard of Mark Sanchez, the 24-year-old sexy quarterback of the New York Jets and icon to Latinos nationwide.
The GQ cover-boy recently sat down with one of our favorite Latinas -- Natalie Morales of Today -- and told Natalie he credits his two older brothers with always pushing him to be the best he could be.
“The first thing I (wanted) to do after a basketball tournament or after a good grade on a test (was) to call and say ‘Hey, I got an A on my spelling test,' or ‘Hey man, we just won the tournament down in San Diego. Our team just won," said Sanchez, speaking about his upbringing. “I couldn't wait to do that. I’ve seen all their plaques and awards and trophies in our office growing up and I wanted that,” the youngest of three said. “It’s a great relationship and they really push me. It keeps you grounded, keeps it fun.”
Watch more of Natalie Morales’ interview with Mark Sanchez for Today here:
We at iVillage salute Sanchez, the third generation Mexican-American, as the NFL commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month. The football celebrations include NBC’s Sunday Night Football televising in English and Spanish, special awards being presented to Hispanic leaders in every NFL market and 15 teams hosting gameday events.
Sanchez opened the season against another prominent Hispanic player -- Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys -- attracting a record nearly three million Hispanic viewers. The third year NFL star told Natalie about a lesson he learned from his dad and one he’s never forgotten. It involves losing an outfit in junior high.
“He said, ‘Where you going? You lost this,’ and I said, ‘We gotta go get something new,’ and he said, “Whoa, we don’t just buy new stuff, you gotta take care of the stuff you get so you’re going to wear the same outfit to school everyday for a week," Sanchez said. "And I was like, ‘Dad, this is junior high school, you know, so you’re trying to be cool and you wear new clothes and have brand new shoes,” the football star said with a smile. "That’s how fortunate you are that you have nice things and nice clothes,” Sanchez said, repeating what his dad told him. “You need to take care of them and it’s not just go buy a new one.”
With his multimillion dollar contract with the New York Jets, Sanchez can buy any piece of clothing he wants, but he told Natalie he never takes his fortunes for granted and points to this lesson from his dad. “I think it instilled in me an important value of taking care of the things you have,” said Sanchez.
For more of Natalie’s “Extra Yard” interview with Mark Sanchez, tune in to The TODAY Show on Friday, September 30th -- and don't forget to tune in to NBC's Sunday Night Football. Coverage begins with Football Night in America at 7pm ET.