The Worst Decisions in Sports History
Today is the one year anniversary of 'The Decision.' LeBron James managed to turn his free agency signing into an hour long made for T.V. event where he told Jim Gray and the world he would be taking his talents to South Beach. As much as we bash 'the decision' the ratings were through the roof and all of the advertisers were happy. In order to honor the decision I have decided to list some of the worst decisions in sports history.......in no particular order
Most sports fans are well aware of the curse of the Bambino. The great Babe Ruth played for the Boston Red Sox from 1914-1918. During that time the Sox won three World Series. Popular folklore has it that Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold the Bambino to the Yankees in 1919 to finance a Broadway play. The truth is after the 1919 season, Babe demanded a raise and Frazee declined. Frazee was already turned off by the Babe's attitude and wasn't going to double his salary. Frazee put Ruth on the market, and the Yankees offered the sweetest deal. The rest as they say is history. The Red Sox would not win another World Series for another 86 years while the Yankees won 26 titles.
In 1989 the Minnesota Vikings felt they were one player away from reaching the Super Bowl (sounds familiar doesn't it). Herschel Walker was wasting his prime playing for the awful Dallas Cowboys. New coach Jimmy Johnson wanted to blow up the team and knew Walker was his only asset. Desperate for an elite running back the Vikings mortgaged the farm for Walker. Minnesota dealt five players and six draft picks to the Cowboys for Walker and four draft picks. The Cowboys used those picks on Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, and Kevin Smith. While the 'Boys were the team of the 90s, Walker never ran for 1,000 yards in Minnesota. To this day Viking fans lament the trade that set the franchise back a decade.
In the summer of 1993 Michael Jordan was at the peak of his basketball prowess. The Bulls had just completed the three peat with a finals win over the Phoenix Suns. A few weeks before the 1993 season M.J. announced his retirement from basketball citing burnout. The murder of his father a month after the finals likely had a lot to do with the decision. M.J. decided to return to his first love, baseball. Jordan famously spent the summer of 1994 playing for the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. As effortless as basketball became to Jordan, baseball was a struggle. Jordan batted .202 with three homers, 51 RBI, and 30 stolen bases. Jordan returned to the Bulls in the spring of 1995.
Magic Johnson dazzled fans with his no look passes, clutch shots, and winning smile. We found out in the fall of 1991, that Magic was no A.C. Green in the bedroom. His years of unprotected sex caught up to him and he announced he was HIV positive and retired from the NBA. Magic has shown us that the cure for HIV is millions of dollars.
Through hard work and talent Tiger Woods had become the richest athlete on the planet and the best golfer in the world. It was a matter of when and not if he would pass Jack Nicklaus' major championships record. In 2004 Tiger married the beautiful Elin Nordegren. They had two children and seemed to live the perfect life. Everything came crashing down during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday. Tiger was involved in a sketchy car crash. Many people speculate Elin was confronting Tiger about his multiple extra marital affairs. In the year and a half since the crash, Tiger's personal and professional life have unraveled. He is divorced and hasn't won one tournament. Athletes need to take a page from the Derek Jeter handbook and remain bachelors until they have sown every last wild oat.
The Fab Five at Michigan may go down at the greatest collection of college talent to never win a championship. In their freshman season they fell to Duke in the title game. In 1993 they were back in the championship game, and North Carolina stood in their way. Michigan trailed by two when Chris Webber pulled down a rebound with 19 seconds to go. Webber was lucky when the referee missed his travel. Webber brought the ball up the court, got trapped in a corner and called a timeout. The problem was Michigan was out of timeouts and was assessed a technical foul. North Carolina went on to win the game and Chris Webber never played another college game. Chris Webber was one of the most gifted physical talents to ever play the in the NBA, but will always be remembered as someone who didn't want the ball in crunch time.