TV personality and former NFL player Michael Strahan is joined by mother, Louise Strahan, during an unveiling ceremony honoring him with the 2,744th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Good Morning America and Fox NFL Sunday host Michael Strahan received the 2,744th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, becoming the first sports entertainment star to achieve the honor.
"We are very excited to inaugurate the first sports entertainment star for Michael Strahan," Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said in a statement.
"Sports fans will be thrilled to be able to see their favorite sports figures who are involved in the entertainment business receive their stars. Michael's extensive background in sports and sportscasting makes him the perfect choice to add to the famed sidewalk."
Martinez hosted the ceremony, and former NFL player turned TV and film star Terry Crews, along with SMAC co-founder and CEO Constance Schwartz-Morini were there to support Strahan.
Strahan also hosts the 100,000 Dollar Pyramid, a co-production with SMAC and ABC.
The gold standard in a crowded field of former NFL players turned TV personalities, podcasters and pundits, Strahan also has an eponymous brand of menswear, which added skincare and boys' lines in the seven years since its inception.
Schwartz-Morini remembered how she and Strahan met when Strahan recorded a song with Randy Travis called "Brinks Truck" on an NFL country compilation album in 2006. She was working at the NFL at the time, and the two forged a business relationship that ramped up when Strahan retired in 2007.
"In the mid-90s when [NFL executive] Tracy Perlman and I were securing our list of players to be on the NFL Jams and country albums, you were the one player that had to be on both," she said.
"But that's you -- the overachiever who's not afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try new things and break barriers for those who come behind you, all while doing it your own way."
Crews said he felt honored to speak on his friend's behalf at the ceremony.
"There is nothing that symbolizes stardom more than Michael Strahan. We're former athletes and we're sitting around talking and you said, 'Dude should I try this Hollywood thing?' I was like dude, dude, your personality, who you are, your smile is absolutely captivating. If you don't do it, you will be making a mistake."
"As a Black man, as an athlete, every American should strive to be the kind of person you are. The one word I have for Michael Strahan is integrity," Crews added.
"When I was going through the most harrowing time in my career, the one person I could call was Mike. And not only did he support me -- he put me on my platform so I could tell my story the way it needed to be told.
"The integrity that he showed at this time in my life I will never forget and everyone that's here on his behalf knows this already."
In his comments, Strahan, 51, said that in life, everyone wants to feel valued.
"I was that kid who was looked at in a lot of ways. When I had jobs washing dishes in the kitchen or cutting grass or moving furniture, I wasn't always looked at as though I had a purpose," he said to the audience watching from the holding area near the newest star's location on Hollywood Boulevard.
"You felt like you were looked at in a certain way in which you had no value," he added. "I've always wanted to make people around me feel like they had purpose and value."
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who played his entire 15-year football career with the New York Giants, says that the concept of team is also important to him.
He cited his parents, including his mother, Louise, who attended the ceremony, and his late father, Gene. The two were married for more than 60 years.
He said his father instilled values in him that he tries to duplicate in his own role as a father of four. His three daughters, Tanita, Isabella and Sophia, attended the ceremony, along with his mother.
"I never thought I would be on TV. It just happened," he said, acknowledging his current and former agents, Disney CEO Bob Iger, ABC president Kim Godwin and several executives from Fox who were present.
"I learned that in every job that you have, you can go to work and enjoy it," he said of working with Fox NFL Sunday. "There's never been a Sunday in 15 years that I've walked in that studio and said I'd rather be anywhere else. Ever, ever, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.'"
Strahan concluded his remarks by saying he had two purposes in pursuing a career after almost quitting college, which he said his parents would not let him do.
"I wanted to make my mom and dad proud and by extension, my kids. And I wanted to earn enough money so I didn't have to move back in with my parents, and I've accomplished both things, I hope."
He added, "This is not just my name on [the plaque]. This is the whole Strahan family."
His ABC co-hosts, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Fox NFL Sunday hosts Jay Glazer, Curt Menefee, Howie Long, rap star Wiz Khalifa, an Entertainment Tonight host Kevin Frazier were there to support Strahan, as well.