Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the famous Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” TR may have penned those words at the turn of the century, but they continue to be relevant and powerful.
The 26th President forged his career in the vicious, bloodthirsty (literally) world of New York City politics, and the experience taught him that actions speak louder than words—that respect is earned, not bestowed.
Few spheres of life cut through the BS and bring artificially inflated expectations crashing down more efficiently than sports. In sports, the value of a person’s words is tied to their performance when it matters most; a win gives words life, a loss transforms those words into scars.
In other words, speak softly and carry a big stick.
The history of every sport is littered with cautionary tales of men and women who eagerly and loudly proclaimed their greatness, only to fade into obscurity...or infamy. Likewise, there are those very rare moments when legends—Joe Namath, Babe Ruth—boldly staked their claim to greatness and made good on the promise.
There is a reason that history so often enacts swift and brutal justice on athletes who can’t back up their words—few of the great ones had the need or desire to advertise their capabilities.
Dominance in a sport is underpinned by more than just raw talent; it takes a burning drive to what it takes to get better.
If a guy makes more headlines talking about the records he’s going to break, rather than the success he’s already had, then he isn’t as good as he believes or isn’t doing what’s necessary to get there.
This is why athletes shouldn’t guarantee wins or thank their hands for being “great”—because no great athlete needs to inflate their value…their ‘profits’ speak for themselves.
These are 20 athletes who think they’re better than they are.