Sports’ most damaging egos
By RealClearSports staff
Mar 11, 8:31 pm EDT
Remember your high school’s best athlete? More importantly, remember the ego on that guy? Now, imagine him as a professional athlete. Obnoxious, right? To make it all the way to the top, one must make amazing sacrifices, spend countless hours practicing, and often grow his ego to epic proportions.
Glory-seeking coaches, crybaby football players, self-important baseball stars, and arrogant hoopsters are a dime-a-dozen in the me-first sports world. Just last week, in fact, the egos of Manny Ramirez and Terrell Owens were front-page news.
With all the money and media attention surrounding the world of sports, gigantic egos are easily cultivated, though some prove more harmful than others. Muhammad Ali had arguably the biggest personality of all time, but he was still a beloved champion. Shaquille O’Neal was in the news recently for his comments directed at Stan Van Gundy and others, but though he’s undeniably in love with himself, Shaq is able to maintain his reputation of being a great teammate. Not all egos are so benign, however – often they can destroy relationships, seasons, and even entire teams. There are many to choose from, but some stand out from the pack.
Manny Ramirez is often one of the first players to arrive at the ballpark, routinely takes extra batting practice (he’s has been known to stand in a batting cage for hours at a time, hitting nothing but curve balls), and is considered by many to be one of the best, and hardest working, hitters in baseball. So, it would take quite a bit for him, and his ego, to end up on this list. Done and done.
Consider that Manny tried to fight his teammate Kevin Youkilis in the dugout during a game, pushed the Red Sox’ traveling secretary to the ground when his request of 16-game tickets was not met, and asked to be taken out of games in an effort to force a trade. And that was just in a two-month span last season. Things were so bad at the end, rumors flew that veterans on the team, David Ortiz included, finally went to general manager Theo Epstein saying that Manny had to go.
Additionally, there were countless incidents chalked up to “Manny Being Manny.” His hijinks ranged from playing a game with a water-bottle in his back pocket; disappearing into Fenway’s Green Monster for a bathroom break; lying to the Red Sox on multiple occasions, including his rather dubious excuse that he missed the All-Star workouts in Seattle in 2001 because his grandmother had died; and even stopping a rehab game in Triple A Pawtucket when he lost a diamond earring. Just Manny Being Egotistical.
While Manny’s theatrics were often ignored, the same cannot be said for Terrell Owens, who seemingly spends his life under a magnifying glass. No one can question his work ethic or production. He’s a gym rat who has had nine 1,000-yard receiving seasons. But with that production comes a lot of baggage. T.O. wants the ball – and he wants it all the time.
And it’s that very ego – the one that causes him to spike the ball on the Dallas star, and carry a Sharpie in his sock to sign the ball after a score – that affects the entire franchise when it goes beyond the playing field.
He has questioned authority with each team he’s been a part of. In San Francisco, he blamed head coach Steve Mariucci for a loss against the Bears. In Philadelphia, he criticized Donovan McNabb and got into an altercation with teammate Hugh Douglas (leading to a suspension and eventually a deactivation for the rest of the 2005 season). In Dallas, he “accidentally overdosed” on painkillers, and in his next game back, a loss to the Eagles, he lashed out in the locker room and questioned why the Cowboys even signed him in the first place.
Manny and T.O., and their accompanying egos, are often a distraction, and their on-field dominance carries a high price tag in the form of their self-centered antics. But they are hardly the only prima donnas in the world of sports. From the baseball diamond to the football field to the owner’s booth, sports and damaging egos seemingly go hand-in-hand.
The top Ten:
1. Al Davis
2. Terrell Owens
3. Stephon Marbury
4. Keyshawn Johnson
5. Barry Bonds
6. Jerry Jones
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Chad Johnson
9. Albert Belle
10. Sean Avery
RealClearSports - Top 10 Most Damaging Egos - Most Damaging Egos
Sports' most damaging egos - Yahoo! Sports
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