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An extraordinary man was born in Phoenix, Arizona. As an otherwise physically healthy infant, where other babies had hips and legs; Dave was born with a disability. He had two flipper-like appendages extending from his torso. And doctors warned there could be brain damage as well. The fate of many children like Dave was lifelong institutionalization.

From the beginning, the odds stack against Dave. His 15-year old biological mother had already made the difficult decision to put him up for adoption. Nevertheless, on a whim, the Stevens brought little Dave from the hospital back to their humble, loving home where he learned the virtues and values that would propel him forward-farther than anyone ever imagined. As a youngster, Dave was determined to play able-bodied sports. He was a three-sport athlete playing football, baseball, and wrestling. In honor of his extraordinary career in the 1980s, Wickenburg High School, his alma mater, renamed their Most Valuable Player award the “Dave Stevens Hustle Award.”

Stevens is an extraordinary man, an athlete, a reporter, and now a highly sought-after motivational speaker who shares his inspirational story with audiences of all ages; worldwide. Dave was at ESPN for over 20 years as the Assignment Desk Manager and as a Coverage Editor. He featured on: That’s Incredible (1981), CBS Morning News, The Today Show, Good Morning America, This Week in Baseball, Baseball Tonight, Extra, USA Today, That’s Incredible Reunion (2002) Sports Illustrated, Baseball America, The National Enquirer, Star Magazine, People, ESPN’s SportsCenter and hundreds of other news and sports periodicals.

You can overcome any obstacle and live your “impossible” dream is his message of hope.

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Dave Stevens Talks on How His Ability Turns Him Into Ability

Pamela Bardhi
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the underdog. We have an awesome; guest here today, Dave Stevens. Hello, Dave, how are you?

Dave Stevens
Hey, how are you? I am glad to be here. And thanks for having me.

Pamela Bardhi
Thank you so much for joining today. I am excited to hear your story as an extraordinary man. And where you are at now, where things are heading, and all of that. So thank you again. So, we can start by telling me about yourself.

Dave Stevens
I was born without legs, put up for adoption, adopted by wonderful, older people but they were poor. Was born into poverty and figured out I was going to use my disability to become my ability.  Started playing sports and doing stuff at an early age that most kids born without legs won’t do. Because of those loving adoptive parents, as poor as I was, they made me into what I became. I ended up wrestling, playing high school football and baseball in Arizona. Am the only legless athlete ever to play college football in Minnesota. Got an opportunity to play minor league baseball in Minnesota. I was teammates with former major leaguers Darryl Strawberry and Jack Morris. Spend 20 years at ESPN, won seven Emmys. Am on television, a motivational speaker, philanthropist, and a father of three.

Pamela Bardhi
Absolutely. You’re right! And it’s fascinating. I read up on your story. And I was like, no, I got to hear from him. I want to know all the details because I find that incredible. You said you started with all these strikes. So you were already counted out, but you just kept going. So at the beginning of your journey with your adoptive parents, they played a huge role in your life.

Dave Stevens
I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had different parents. But I had to learn to do things on my own. And to figure out and do things right from the beginning. They didn’t hold me back, which led me to grow. I start at an early age. Shriners found out about me and started paying for artificial legs; started traveling around the state. I’d put on shows, sing songs and take the legs off. It showcase who I was. Was able to play sports, utilize that, and travel around the world. I played football with a wounded warrior football team and done all things that people only dream of. It’s cool when you look at a resume that he did this; got his doctorate, and there’s a picture of me with no legs. I’m not special, I wanted to go out and prove people wrong.

Dave Stevens and His Life as an Extraordinary Man

Pamela Bardhi
When you were adopted, what age was that?

Dave Stevens
From a hospital, there were foster parents. I was one of those babies, they fell in love with. And I wouldn’t want to be any other way. So I live and continue to chase those dreams. I want to help kids, mentor them so they can realize that they can be role models like Shaquille Gryphon, born without one arm and played in the NFL, Jim Abbott pitch to the Major Leagues with one arm, and Dave Stevens football with no legs. You want to hear these stories; this is my normal because I was born without legs. I hate the term disability or handicap. We shouldn’t use those terms for human beings. I wouldn’t want my kid to be special. I want my kid to be an athlete. And let people realize that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, despite the odds.

His Biggest Inspiration as an Underdog and Extraordinary Man

Pamela Bardhi
Yes, absolutely. And now question for you. So when you were growing up as an extraordinary man, what was your biggest tipping point or your biggest inspiration?

Dave Stevens
I didn’t have inspiration. There was nobody like me. My motivations became bigger and bigger. My football and wrestling coaches became family. And started helping me develop in high school to be able to play competitive sports that would get me equal with all. And suddenly, I’m doing things. I’m on TV, and I’m on That’s Incredible. And all these shows and that, I get into college, and then it started building. So, I turned my disability into my ability. My adoptive parents died. So, I lost all of my mentoring at an early age, been on my own. I had those up and downs, I’ve been to the highs, and the lows. The mentors at that young age, are so experimental to me, my coach Smith, coach Kendrick. With COVID; I can’t go, see and hug him. And my deceased parents were the most instrumental.

Pamela Bardhi
How did you build this resilience in your mind? To take something negative to some people but turn it into something so beautiful? It’s such a gift and is incredible; how you talked about when people look at you. You prefer to go out and talk to them so that the next time they see somebody, they don’t think about it in a negative light or they don’t have those prejudices in their mind. And that is what contributes to change in society. I find it very powerful that you do things like that. So, how do you keep that resilience in your mind when you face this type of rejection? I think it’s fascinating. So if you could elaborate on that, too, that would be amazing, because I think your mentality is so beautiful and powerful. And it’s like, the world needs that, and you’re incredibly gifted.

Who is Dave Stevens With Extraordinary Abilities?

Dave Stevens
I’ve had my demons to battle. That goes along with the gift I’ve been given. But I’ve always felt at my lowest point, I’ve let everybody down, and I had this epiphany. I like to start my life again. So the resiliency just became a want to be better. And so I felt like I had to get back up. And you need the time to invest it. I wanted to be famous on TV and to play professional sports. I’ve achieved those goals. I want to see my three sons graduate and grow up to be beautiful men. So I’ve had to make all these sacrifices. So, I’ve tried to teach them what’s it like to my challenges with a disability. And how to treat people with respect. So, it’s awesome to come full circle to teach and instill the proper way to treat and love people.

Pamela Bardhi
I’m just absolutely fascinated by your mentality and your willingness to keep going. Even though you said you do battle your demons, but here you are bettering yourself. Just like, Alright! You got here; you got knocked down. That’s okay; let’s keep getting back up. And you keep going. And now you talk about becoming a parent and that whole world when they think of you; they think of you as there’s nothing different with your dad, which is awesome. Now, I know COVID has kind of affected your speaking career and all of that. What’s coming up next for you in your role?

Dave Stevens
My world, you know, I did horrible, and it’s been horrible for other people. So I can’t complain, but I had to reinvent myself. And I started doing this little home internet show that kind of exploded, got picked up by a radio station that now streams it, and airs Thursday nights. I get good guests like stars and stuff. And my shows; they know my interview style is not to ambush you. And that’s almost like therapy. You get a good reputation where you’re not going to take advantage of them. So I’ve got this show; it’s been amazing. And now I get a following, and hopefully, it’ll help build up my social media. Because the things I’m doing would inspire, motivate more, and they do. So I’m going to keep battling, keep doing it, try to get my story out there, helping people, and sharing it.

Pamela Bardhi
Totally. Oh my god, I love it. I love it. And then there you go, again, with taking something like COVID Oh, I can’t go out and speak. And then, opening your show, you’re like King Midas; everything you touch is gold somehow. At some point in time, which is so cool. Plus, you try. It’s because of your mentality.

Dave Stevens
And it’s helping me because I’m now teaching and helping people. After all, there’s this platform called restream.io, where you can take all of your feeds and send them out on all your media platforms simultaneously. So, I’m trying to help all the people I can help. If you go to my YouTube channel and my pages, and you’ve seen my work, I’m so invigorated. And now I can teach people, and I can teach the disability channel, and help them more and help all these other organizations. Just this past weekend, I put together a video, posted it on Facebook. $3,000 in one day from my fan, everybody would love the ability. It was so overwhelming to see that love you can generate from social media. So there is good in what we can do despite all the bad we see with all these things.

Extraordinary Man Dave Stevens Best Advice To Anyone With Disability

Pamela Bardhi
Amazing. Amazing. Dave, I have a question for you. What would be your big piece of advice to anyone overcoming any type of challenge?

Dave Stevens
Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever quit. We’re gonna fail; we’re gonna fall a lot. And put it in perspective of a guy with no legs. It’s going to get better, and I’m doing things no matter the lowest low. All the bad things can happen, but you have to get through these things. There are few regrets. You have regrets in love life like you regret a girl. She could not love a man without legs as much as a man with legs. So I have to be positive all the time because I am lucky. Like I say, I’m normal. This is our normal. I am not handicapped; I am not disabled. And these kids need to know that if they have a difference, that is normal, and should not worry about all those things so superficial. We have to get things better and fix them.

Pamela Bardhi
The question for you is, what would your older self; tell your younger self?

Dave Stevens
I would tell myself to enjoy the ride a little more. Because I think as young; I was always looking to jump into the next thing and to try to conquer and I haven’t been able to sit back and kind of look and reflect on my life at the things that I have been able to do, achieve and overcome. And I will sit back someday and appreciate all this because if you look at the accomplishments and things like that, I just never get caught up in the accolades. I don’t think of myself as a hero or special. I am just this guy that dealt with a little different situation and was able to overcome it. And I know there are more out there; there are other great stories than mine and blessed. Pam, you have given me this opportunity to share my story.

Pamela Bardhi
An honor. I learned so much from you and in our conversation. And I cannot wait to hear the feedback from everyone else. And I cannot wait to see what you do with your show too. It is incredible. You are here; you are reinventing yourself. And you know, post-COVID; I am sure; you get out there and be doing more events and all fun stuff. What is post-COVID looking like for you; any bigger plans?

Dave Stevens
I’m hoping with learning this technology, I would help other speakers. So you and I could co-host something and educate people. You can do all kinds of things. And people that are used to speaking like Alan Moscow. He’s like, I could die any day. And I can’t tell my story. So I hooked him up with the National Museum of veterans and war memorial. He gets to tell his story. So there are so many things that we can do out there. And I’d like to get more programs where I can tell my story or help somebody. Hoping more people will go to Dave Stevens Speaks and follow me. You can see my daily adventures, old footage of me playing football and baseball. Still, I’m playing sports. I’m going to continue this. As long as these arms gonna let be my legs at the same time.

Where Can You Find Underdog and Extraordinary Man Dave Stevens?

Pamela Bardhi
So, is it your website that you post on? Or is it your Facebook page? So we can tell everybody where to find you.

Dave Stevens
Dave Steven speaks on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, but I don’t think people watch Twitch much. I just joined Tiktok this week. See me dancing and doing stuff with this Dada. I feel so old on tech, but suddenly, it’s like the new tool. As a one-man band, you’ll see a lot of great content. That’s why I’m saying I’m shocked that more people out there aren’t seeing it because I got a lot of good stuff out there. And I got a lot of good friends, and I’m just lucky.

Pamela Bardhi
Thank you so much. I’m be making sure I follow every single one. I’m sure everyone listening will too; after hearing your awesome interview and how amazing you are as a human being and all the great things you’re doing for the world. So David’s been an honor. Thank you so so much.

Dave Stevens
Thank you. It just proves your point that underdogs and extraordinary man can achieve things, right?

Pamela Bardhi
Absolutely. Amen to that. Amen to that.

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with extraordinary man Dave Stevens.