March 09, 2016

Speedy Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson has impressive wheels on the field — and in his garage.

As a kid I was always playing with Hot Wheels, but I took a serious interest in cars when I was around seven years old. My dad's best friend was a mechanic, and whenever he had time he would build cars from scratch. When I saw the process — the passion and love he put into it — I knew I wanted to build my own car when I [had] the money. That's where my love of cars came from.

As I got older, I came to admire luxury cars. Muscle cars are my favorites of all-time. My second favorites are probably exotic luxury cars (like Lamborghinis and Ferraris), and my third favorite is my truck. When I got to Arizona I bought the first car in my collection, a 1972 Chevelle. That car is my pride and joy. I didn't build it from the ground up or restore it, but it's special because that car started my collection. It was in phenomenal shape when I got it, but now that I'm able to put my own touches on the cars, my car builder and I are going to take it in a different direction. We're going to keep the color the same, but change the interior and the rear end. It's kind of like we're starting all over.

There's definitely a criterion I have for cars that I want to add to my collection. I'm a Chevy guy. They also have to be cars from either the 1960s, 1970s, or early 2000s. I don't like cars from the 1980s or '90s. I'm thinking about maybe adding an Eldorado to the group, and I'm building a 1973 Impala right now that should be done in the next few months. The collection is awesome, but it's still growing.

Photos: John W. McDonough for Sports Illustrated (car), Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images (action)

You probably know Cam Newton as the superstar quarterback of the Carolina Panthers. He led the team to the Super Bowl last season, but came up just short against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. But he didn’t have a lot of time to dwell on the loss — he had to help kids realize their dreams.

As a child, Cam was told he could do anything. And in the new show All In with Cam Newton, premiering on Nickelodeon June 3, he completes the circle by showing a group of kids with big goals that they can accomplish anything, too.

Before the first episode of All In airs, Cam spoke with Sports Illustrated Kids about working on the show, why it was something he wanted to do, and the origin of his iconic Superman dance.

Where did the idea of All In come from?

The idea came from the fact that I wanted to do something with kids, whether on camera or off camera and just have some type of impact for it. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the people at Nickelodeon, and in that meeting I stressed the fact that when people see me play football they see me mimicking a superhero with the Superman dance and Superman baton or different things of that nature. But the truth of the matter is that one of the things I stressed was that every child and every person has some type of super power in them.  And with that I wanted to shine light on —you don’t necessarily have to be a football player and don’t necessarily have to have an athletic skill set to be super. Every child has something that comes to them via having a skill from God or a passion. I wanted to give back to the community in many different ways. A makeup artist, gymnastics, different things that may make one child different from the other with the things they look to. And with Nickelodeon being a network that I grew up watching, it’s great to see this show come [together]. 

How much involvement do you have in developing the show?

Well, I wasn’t exactly the producer. And as far as the involvement, I was pretty hands-on during the whole process. It kind of played out. It was extremely fun. It was different, which made it even more challenging. All my life I’ve been football, football, football. This is kind of the first time where I could try doing something else after so long. 

What kind of activities were the kids featured in the show interested in?

Well, we had a wide array of different talents. From gymnastics to 3D makeup artists. We had a person that wanted to be President of the United States. We had veterinarians. Different piano players. It was pretty cool.

How do you decide who to meet, interview and help?

That’s the process I really wasn’t a part of. But with me being [with] and talking to each and every child, it was pretty diverse. From having athletic kids, having kids who wanted to do animation, I got the opportunity to do a lot of different things I would not even imagine. And we had 35 kids that I came across and every single one of them brought something different to the table. It was challenging, the fact that I was doing something that I had never done before on a lot of the show. And some of it was just pure fun.

Since you mentioned the Superman dance, where did that come from?

I was always called it that growing up, and it really just took off. From high school to college, everyone kind of called me that, “Superman. Superman. He can do everything.” By the time I came to the NFL, I just took it on to shine light on me being able to have that type of talent. I wanted to have some type of dance, or something to kind of solidify [that].

Who specifically called you Superman?

People. When people saw me play, like coaches, players and parents. It wasn’t just one specific person that was like, “Oh, your name’s going to be Superman.” When people saw the skill set that I had on a football field they would just say, “That’s super. That’s Superman. There’s nothing that he can’t do.”

When people called you Superman, did they see you differently because you’re African American?

No. I hope they didn’t. And I don’t necessary look at it like that. I more look at it with me having, possessing an ability to play the game so [well]. I don’t think when people watch Superman they care about him being a certain color. It’s because they’re a fan of him, his strength, him being fast, him being smart… So when I’m playing I don’t necessary want people to look at me for [my color], I want them to look at me for who I am, what I do, and what I bring to the table.

What have the Panthers been working on this offseason to get back to the Super Bowl?

Just the same things that I’ve been doing. Working on the consistency. Becoming one with my teammates. Just trying to find different ways to bring a different approach to the game. The bad part about it is that we lost our last game — we didn’t lose a lot of games last year, only two — so I’m also finding ways to eliminate us from being disappointed at the end of the year [this season].

All In with Cam Newton premieres on Nickelodeon Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. ET. Check your local listings.

It's easy to think that superstar athletes have reached the peak of their sports on their natural talent alone. But the same way you might ask for help and advice from friends, family, teachers, or coaches, athletes look for help, too. And some of the biggest names playing today have had some pretty high-profile mentors. 

From Sidney Crosby living in Mario Lemieux's house and Stephen Curry growing up in a home with an NBA pro to LeBron James learning from Coach K and Abby Wambach passing the baton to Alex Morgan, we've rounded up 15 examples of important superstar mentor-mentee relationships in sports.

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