Davita Charley

Written by Davita Charley

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: Talesfromtheamericanfootballleague.com

When it comes to trailblazers in the world of professional wrestling, Ernie Ladd is a name that holds immense significance. Not only was he a formidable and larger-than-life presence in the ring, but Ernie Ladd also made groundbreaking strides outside of the squared circle. Born on November 28, 1938, in Rayville, Louisiana, Ladd rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, leaving an indelible mark on the wrestling industry.

Standing at an imposing 6 feet 9 inches tall and weighing over 300 pounds, Ernie Ladd possessed both the physical stature and the undeniable charisma that captivated audiences around the world. But there is more to Ernie Ladd than meets the eye. From his impressive athletic career to his groundbreaking achievements in racial integration, here are 13 fascinating facts that shed light on the life and legacy of this legendary figure.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ernie Ladd was a larger-than-life athlete who excelled in both football and professional wrestling, earning the nickname “The Big Cat” for his imposing size and agility.
  • His remarkable career and lasting legacy as a trailblazer in sports, from breaking barriers in wrestling to his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, continue to inspire future generations of athletes.
Table of Contents

Ernie Ladd was a professional American football player.

Ernie Ladd, born on November 28, 1938, in Rayville, Louisiana, had an impressive career in the NFL as a defensive tackle.

He was known as “The Big Cat.”

Ernie Ladd earned the nickname “The Big Cat” due to his imposing size and agility on the football field.

Ladd played college football at Grambling State University.

Prior to his NFL career, Ladd showcased his skills at Grambling State University, where he excelled as a football player.

He transitioned to professional wrestling after his football career.

Following his retirement from football, Ernie Ladd ventured into the world of professional wrestling and became a well-known figure in the industry.

Ladd was billed as one of the first African-American superstars in professional wrestling.

Ernie Ladd broke barriers and paved the way for future African-American wrestlers in the professional wrestling world.

He had a successful career in both the AFL and the NFL.

Ernie Ladd achieved success in both the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) during his playing career.

Ladd was a four-time AFL All-Star.

Ernie Ladd’s exceptional skills on the football field earned him four consecutive selections to the AFL All-Star game from 1962 to 1965.

He was known for his charismatic personality.

Ernie Ladd’s larger-than-life personality and electrifying presence made him a fan favorite both in the world of football and professional wrestling.

Ladd stood at an impressive 6 feet 9 inches tall.

Ernie Ladd’s towering stature made him an imposing figure on the football field and in the wrestling ring.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

Ernie Ladd’s contributions to professional wrestling were recognized when he was inducted into the prestigious WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

Ladd had several memorable rivalries in professional wrestling.

Throughout his wrestling career, Ernie Ladd engaged in fierce battles with legendary opponents such as Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes.

He was known for his incredible athleticism despite his size.

Despite his immense size, Ernie Ladd displayed remarkable agility and athleticism that set him apart from other athletes.

Ladd passed away on March 10, 2007.

Ernie Ladd’s legacy lives on, although he may be gone, his impact on football and professional wrestling will never be forgotten.

These 13 facts about Ernie Ladd shed light on the remarkable career and lasting legacy of this multi-talented athlete. From his days as a dominant football player to his successful transition into professional wrestling, Ladd’s impact on both sports was undeniable. His towering stature, charismatic personality, and incredible athleticism made him a true icon. His accomplishments and contributions earned him a well-deserved place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Ernie Ladd will always be remembered as a trailblazer and inspiration for future generations of athletes.


Ernie Ladd was a true legend in the world of professional wrestling and football. With an impressive career in both sports, he left an indelible mark on the industry and continues to be remembered as one of the greatest athletes of his time.

Not only was Ernie Ladd a formidable force inside the wrestling ring and on the football field, but he was also a trailblazer for African-American athletes. He opened doors for future generations and proved that talent and determination transcend race and background.

Ernie Ladd’s larger-than-life personality and incredible athletic abilities will forever be celebrated in the hearts of fans and sports enthusiasts. His impact on both wrestling and football cannot be overstated, and his legacy will live on for years to come.


1. What were Ernie Ladd’s accomplishments in professional wrestling?

Ernie Ladd had a successful career in professional wrestling, winning multiple championships and accolades. He was a former NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and held various tag team titles throughout his career.

2. Did Ernie Ladd have a career in football as well?

Yes, Ernie Ladd had an exceptional career in football before transitioning to wrestling. He played as a defensive tackle in the NFL, earning numerous accolades and garnering a reputation as one of the most dominant players in the league.

3. How did Ernie Ladd influence African-American athletes?

Ernie Ladd was a trailblazer for African-American athletes, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations. His success in both wrestling and football showed that talent knows no bounds and inspired many aspiring athletes to pursue their dreams.

4. Was Ernie Ladd known for his larger-than-life personality?

Absolutely! Ernie Ladd was not only known for his remarkable athletic abilities but also for his charismatic and larger-than-life personality. He entertained fans with his unique persona and left an unforgettable impression on everyone who watched him perform.

5. How will Ernie Ladd be remembered in the sports world?

Ernie Ladd will be remembered as a true sports legend. His impact on professional wrestling and football is undeniable, and his legacy as a trailblazer and influential figure in both industries will continue to inspire and resonate with fans and athletes alike.

If you enjoyed learning about Ernie Ladd's remarkable journey, don't miss our captivating articles on Shawne Merriman's incredible career with the San Diego Chargers, the fascinating history and evolution of American football, and the storied legacy of the Kansas City Chiefs. Each piece offers unique insights into the world of professional sports, promising an engaging read for fans and enthusiasts alike.

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.