Professional star athletes face a tremendous amount of pressure when they are in the public eye and are continually scrutinized. They must play their best and make smart decisions in their personal lives. In many instances, they have failed. These are five of the most famous examples.
1. LeBron James
Every NBA fan remembers when LeBron James lost the respect of thousands of fans. When he played for his hometown team in Cleveland, everyone respected him and appreciated his talent. That changed when he went on live television to announce a major change. He decided to leave Cleveland to play with the Miami Heat. The gesture of an ill-timed public announcement was viewed as tactless. Although the move led to his first championship ring, it also led to his fan base losing respect and losing interest in him.
2. Michael Jordan
Many adults today remember watching Micheal Jordan slam-dunk a winning score when he was the god of basketball. Although there is much debate about whether his father’s death in 1993 or his supposed waning interest in basketball led to a career change, his switch to baseball in 1994 signaled the demise of his god status. His average in baseball was .202 with 51 home runs, 51 RBI and 11 errors. While he did return to the Chicago Bulls for a few more victories, the damage had already been done to his career.
3. Brett Favre
In 2007, Brett Favre planned to retire. According to many sports fans, he should have retired at that point and settled for becoming a Packers legend. However, he continued to play for 3 years, which led to his shining image becoming tarnished. He spent 1 year with the New York Jets and 2 years with the Minnesota Vikings. Although he hoped to accomplish more with these teams, he fell short of his goals and lost a lot of respect. Most NFL fans agree that Favre’s career ended in 2007 even though he did not retire then.
4. Jason Williams
In his younger years, Jason Williams was impressive enough to be the second overall pick for the 2002 NBA draft. He played with the pros for only a season before he made the worst career mistake of his life. In 2003, Williams broke the rules for his Chicago Bulls contract and rode a motorcycle without a helmet or license. He was in an accident and was injured, which kept him from playing basketball for 3 years. His closest reach toward recovery was a non-guaranteed contract with the New Jersey Nets. However, that was waived before the season started.
5. Alex Rodriguez
When the famous A-Rod moved to the New York Yankees, he was revered as a star athlete who greatly improved the team. However, the move also brought the beginning of his career’s downward spiral. Negative media exposure and public opinion painted him as a whiny team member. He was viewed as a dirty player for several of his actions on the field. When he went through a divorce in 2008, his public reputation was tarnished even more by a scandal. An additional PED scandal did not help matters. According to some MLB fans, he may have saved his popularity by not becoming a Yankee.
When a star athlete or a whole team performs poorly, managers are usually blamed. As the Bleacher Report points out, they are often blamed unfairly. Sports managers must always do their best and know how to face challenges. Part of building a solid foundation is choosing the right education program.