Biggest wasted potential in sports?

Myself and a few buddies were having this conversation the other day on who was the biggest waste of potential in sports?

Not neccesarily a complete bust ala Ryan Leaf but someone who may have achieved a great deal but ultimately failed to live up to their potential (however unwarranted that may have been)

Off the top of my head that night I argued that Eric Lindros for the Flyers was that..

He came into the league and to the Flyers in a storm of controversy with the Flyers eventually sending 7 (or 10?) players to the Nordiques for the rights to sign Eric to an NHL contract.

We had all be built up to expect the next coming of Wayne Gretzky but in the end we got a good player who at times when he seemed to have his heart in the game the most dominating player in the NHL.

But in the end...he was always semi invisible in playoff games and even in his best playoff run when the Flyers made it to the Stanley Cup he saved his worst for the 4 games the Flyers got swept in.

On the Flip side...in retrospect..the Nords and eventually the Avalanche got Forsberg in that deal and went on to win a Stanley Cup..

Something Lindros was never able to bring to Philly.

Lindros is a good choice, for a while there even I knew he was supposed to be the next Wayne Gretzky and I was barely watching hockey.

One of my best Bud's from Philly and he lives and dies with the Flyers. During the regular season he'd get pumped that they were doing well but tinged with a feeling of doom. Then like clockwork, around this time of year when the Flyers get dumped from the playoff's I'd get a drunken call in my voicemail. "Damn Flyers blarrghh, Lindros aggggh, I love Rod Brindamore buuiuuuh, God Damn Flyers bzzzzzzz `click"

Those calls are golden.

As far as wasted pontential, I might put it into two categories. The potential cut off by injury: Sam Bowie, Bo Jackson. Or Pontential squandered by it's possesor. The local case (Portland) being Darius Miles. When he's actually trying he's an absolute phenom, but those are few and far between. Then you see the times on court where he's appears to be baked to the gills and just floating through the game. It's a shame and irritating at the same time.

If I wanted to go into the way back machine, I'd say Billy Ray Bates. An incredible high flying dunk machine for the Blazers in the early 80's who's drug use got him dropped from the NBA. He ended up scoring 50 points a night in the Phillapino Basketball league.

During the regular season he'd get pumped that they were doing well but tinged with a feeling of doom.

yeah we pretty much have that with every team...every year..

"Damn Flyers blarrghh, Lindros aggggh, I love Rod Brindamore buuiuuuh, God Damn Flyers bzzzzzzz `click"

LOL! yup..that sums it up prefectly... everyone LOVED Brindy... he was the perfect Philly player and the only one who showed up to play in that Stanley Cup... God Bless him..

Crosby is gonna be the next hockey guy to watch. He only wants to play for like 4 teams and it looks like he'll get to choose. Luckily Philly is one of em. The kid is sick.

I love Brindy, too! He needs to come home. I might add Rickie Williams to the list. He just keeps screwing himself over and does retarded crap.

Len Bias
Brian Bosworth
Gerry Cooney
Todd Van Poppel
The 2005 New York Yankees (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

Harold Minor

I would say Chris Webber. He led his highchool team to the state championship a junior and was then a part of the Infamous Fab Five up at Michigan. Few can forget the his gaff in the final four, but he still managed to secure the first pick in '93 NBA Draft. This was due to his rare combination of deft touch and feel for the game and his immense stature. He drew comparisons to Karl Malone and greatness was expected.

However, the begining of his career was tumultuous. Drug allegations abounded and he bounced around before finally arriving, much to his chagrin, in Sacramento. However, it was there that he began to turn things around and teamed with Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby he finally challenged the indomitable Laker force in 2002, only to be let down by his teammates and woefully bad freethrow shooting in an epic game 7 of the western conference finals. Since then injuries have kept him sidelined and looks as though he will never be a contender again.

In highschool, he received nearly as much attention as Lebron. The Fab Five were the biggest story in College basketball in the early nineties. He entered the NBA with much fanfare. But he simply has never been able to overcome himself and achieve.

Ricky Williams would fit into this category, wouldn't he? Heisman trophy winner and first rounder that regulary underperformed at New Orleans, then showed flashes of brilliance at Miami before imploding on himself in drug-induced apathy.

"Pistol" Pete Maravich (sp?). Another victim of las drogas.

This one is easy:

Todd Marinovich

When this kid was on, he was *on*. Raised (some say "programmed") to be an NFL QB from birth, he flamed out after some success (Rose Bowl victory) in college.

He has been arrested multiple times for drug offenses (heroin, pot, etc), and is, by all reports, just a junkie.

I wonder if his strict "You will be an NFL QB" upbringing had anything to do with it?

-Fan

Skeletor9000 wrote:

"Pistol" Pete Maravich (sp?). Another victim of las drogas.

If by "las drogas" you meen bad knees, then yeah bad knees impacted his career, but as far as I know, Pistol Pete was not on drugs. His death eight years after the end of his career was to a heart attack.

I was under the impression his death and a lot of his "injuries" were, in fact, the effects of a nasty coke habit. More research is in order on my part...

http://www.powertochange.com/changed... This doesn't mention his congenital solitary artery, but I stand corrected. Or do I... ?

Charlie Ward, and 7/10ths of the other Heisman Trophy winners.

I'll mimic what has been said about Eric Lindros.

Crosby is gonna be the next hockey guy to watch. He only wants to play for like 4 teams and it looks like he'll get to choose.

Seriously and which four? I hate it when young guys demand to only play in certain markets. To this day I can't stand Ron Francis and wish him the worse kind of venereal disease.

Fripper wrote:

If I wanted to go into the way back machine, I'd say Billy Ray Bates. An incredible high flying dunk machine for the Blazers in the early 80's who's drug use got him dropped from the NBA. He ended up scoring 50 points a night in the Phillapino Basketball league.

I remember playing against him several times in the early 90s at one of our local athletic clubs. Was still a heck of a player then.

Bosworth, Van Poppel and Lindros would top my list.

No freaking way Red, you played against Billy Ray?

Mr

"Those people, they loved me," he later told The Oregonian. "There, I was like Michael Jordan. I could have anything I wanted. All I had to do was snap my fingers. I had my own condo, my own car and my own bodyguard with an Uzi. Had to fight off the women."

Now that's damn cool.

Yeah Billy Ray would pop in everyonce and a while at Green Meadows Athletic club over here in the 'Couve, was a member there back when I use to play alot (20+ hours a week on the court). Nice guy, tough to guard as he had 30-40lbs on me, probably the third fastest player I've ever seen in person behind Damon Staudimire and Brian L. Hunter (who I went to HS with but thats a different story).

Depends on what you mean by "wasted".

Do injury-shortened careers count? If so, then here's two: Bo Jackson and Tony Boselli.

Jackson is, bar none, the best player ever to play the position of running back. He was even more physically dominant over his peers than Jim Brown was to his. Bo could have been the first player to run for 2000 yards in a season multiple times if he had played any number of full 16-game seasons. No player ever scared the crap out of other teams as much as Bo. There was no stopping Bo. You just hoped to slow him down. Bo ran like nobody else. Give Ron Mexico a 242 pound frame and not even the slightest loss of speed, and ya got Bo.

Boselli is the most dominant player to play the position of offensive tackle in the last 20 years. Given a full career, he might have been the best player to ever step into the position. You never see a lineman that has both perfect technique and perfect strength/mauling ability. Usually, a guy is either a technician or a mauler. Boselli was both at the same time. He carried 325 pounds on a 6'7" frame without an ounce of extra fat. Great technician tackles in the league were usually 275-300, and maulers are often 330-350 with some fat weight. Boselli's weight was all strength, and he could not only move 325 pounds around the open field like nobody's business, but he also didn't need extra weight because all of his weight contributed to strength. Boselli played 6 years, and went to the Pro Bowl 5 times (all except his rookie season). He spent half a decade as the most dominant player of a particular position in the league, but with a full career, that could've easily been 15 years.

A few names come to mind, in no particular order or sports league:

Ryan Leaf (bat-sh*t insane)
Bo Jackson (blown knee)
Jim Brown (only because he retired)
Ken Griffey Jr. (could have been the greatest player in the league if not for the injuries)
Robb Nen (former Marlins/Giants closer who blew his arm out)
Chris Webber (for reasons already stated)
Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway (maybe it was just the hype, but he fizzled out quite dramatically)
Grant Hill (the Ken Griffey Jr. of the NBA)

*Legion* wrote:

Jackson is, bar none, the best player ever to play the position of running back. He was even more physically dominant over his peers than Jim Brown was to his. Bo could have been the first player to run for 2000 yards in a season multiple times if he had played any number of full 16-game seasons. No player ever scared the crap out of other teams as much as Bo. There was no stopping Bo. You just hoped to slow him down. Bo ran like nobody else. Give Ron Mexico a 242 pound frame and not even the slightest loss of speed, and ya got Bo.

I did not even think of Bo. Isn't he also the only RB with two 90-plus yard runs from scrimmage as well. Plus, Legion forgot that Bo also was the first athelete to ever be selected for the MLB All-Star Game and for the NFL's Pro Bowl. And he was the All Star Game MVP.

Plus he has the distiniction of making one of the greatest base runner kills in baseball history when he threw out Harold Reynolds at the plate after fielding a ball near the left field wall. He gunned the ball to the catcher and it never touched the ground, just the catcher's mitt for the tag out.

Yeah - I was only really thinking about football. Bo as a baseball player was a very good player - an All-Star power hitter - but not likely to be an all-time league great. He wsa a .250 hitter with plenty of strikeouts, but he could indeed send the ball to Pluto when he made contact.

Bo as a football player was an All-World record-breaker that was stolen from us. Bo controlled the football field. He was very mortal in the batter's box. So when it comes to potential unfulfilled, I think of football when it comes to Bo.

Bo as a football player was an All-World record-breaker that was stolen from us. Bo controlled the football field. He was very mortal in the batter's box. So when it comes to potential unfulfilled, I think of football when it comes to Bo.

That makes me cry alligator tears just thinking about it.

I'd have to go with Ricky Williams too - based on the criteria from the top.

Bo doesn't really count because a blown out hip doesn't really get you in the bust arena versus potential. Heisman trophy winners...well, most of them do little in the pros, with expectations low...so not really there either.

Yup...Ricky could have been great...vice a mary jane man...

Vector wrote:

I hate it when young guys demand to only play in certain markets. To this day I can't stand Ron Francis and wish him the worse kind of venereal disease.

I'm a bit flummoxed on this one. Are you talking about the trade from Carolina to Toronto? I think that was just a matter of respect by the Hurricanes for a player who's career was quite likely over. By all reports, they guy's a class act.

Rat Boy wrote:

Grant Hill (the Ken Griffey Jr. of the NBA)


He went to my high school. I met him once. People acted like he was Jesus.

How bout these obscurities:
Tony Mandarich
David Duval
Eric Crouch

Eric Crouch isn't really wasted potential. He HAD no potential. He just had a less-than-successful NFL Europe stint, and Kansas City sent him packing. I doubt he would've done much better had he skipped the whole "I wanna be a QB" walking out on teams phase of his career, and gone straight to the not-NFL-level DB/WR part.

Eric Crouch isn't really wasted potential. He HAD no potential. He just had a less-than-successful NFL Europe stint, and Kansas City sent him packing. I doubt he would've done much better had he skipped the whole "I wanna be a QB" walking out on teams phase of his career, and gone straight to the not-NFL-level DB/WR part.

I'm a bit flummoxed on this one. Are you talking about the trade from Carolina to Toronto? I think that was just a matter of respect by the Hurricanes for a player who's career was quite likely over. By all reports, they guy's a class act.

Sorry Poppin, no. Damn it I screwed that one up. Not the great Ron Francis who won a cup with the Pens with Lemieux. I meant STEVE Francis for the Houston Rockets after he pouted when the Grizzlies drafted him and refused to play for them. I hate him so much I have blocked out memory. Ron Francis is a great player and seems like a generally nice guy.