Dec. 23, 2009— -- From the hallowed halls of Canton, Ohio, to the modern-day gridiron heroes in their full HD glory, the story arch of urban youths clawing and working their way to become pro athletes is nothing new.
NFL player Michael Oher's story -- of finding a home and solace away from inner-city Memphis' aptly named Hurt Projects with a wealthy, white family, the Tuohys -- is shared by players such as Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin and Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck, who were also taken in by white families and spared from the pitfalls and violence of urban living.
But the similarities shared by players who rose from hardscrabble beginnings to on- and off-the-field glory do not take away from the long road each endured to make it.
For Oher, the dream of playing professional football was about all he had during the darkest times of his life, as he bounced, from home to home and school to school, teetering on the edge of gang recruitment and life in an urban abyss.
Watch "The Blind Side: The True Story Behind the Movie" on a special edition of "20/20" Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m. ET.
"The realist dream I ever had was getting, you know, drafted into the NFL," Oher, 23, said in an interview with "20/20." "Ever since I can remember, I always said to myself I want better than what I want right now. No matter where I was, the projects, the neighborhood, I said to myself, 'I'm going to get out.' Every day I woke up and said, 'I'm going to work hard, this day, to get to that next level.'"
Oher did get out, and his story of finding the Tuohy family and success in high school and college was turned into a hit book and Hollywood blockbuster movie, "The Blind Side."
The movie ends with Oher being drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens but his new life chapter is just beginning.
"That was a dream come true," Oher said of the moment he was drafted with the 23rd pick by the Ravens in the first round. "You know, to finally hear your name called, a long road and a lot of hard work, everything had finally paid off. Something I'll never forget."