Athletes with Swagger: Who's Got It? Who Doesn't?

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2013

Athletes with Swagger: Who's Got It? Who Doesn't?

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    Swagger. We all want it, but we never quite know how to get it.

    What's worse is, when we actually do think we know what it is, there's somebody who comes along that makes us look a little less cool than we really are.

    But in sports, having swag is completely different.

    It doesn't always necessarily mean you're great at your sport—though sometimes it does—it just means that you appeal to fans and media most of the time.

    Since it can mean a variety of things, here are the athletes who do and don't have that swagger.

Yes: Brandon Jennings

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    Some may say that putting the clear-cut favorites to repeat as NBA champs on blast would just be plain stupid, but we think Brandon Jennings doing it is actually just a form of his swag and confidence.

    Do we think it'll actually happen?

    Hell no.

    But that doesn't mean the brash Jennings should just allow his team to sit there and take a beating, so we give him his props for opening his mouth.

Yes: Paul Bissonnette

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    Have you ever checked out Paul Bissonnette's Twitter account?

    In case there were any questions wondering he had what it takes to do whatever he wants to do, just go through all the pics of him with smokin' hot girls and hanging VIP-style with his buddies.

    You'll see why he's absolutely got that swag, cuz.

Just Missing It: Roger Federer

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    This was one of the toughest calls for this list.

    On one hand, the dude has more Grand Slam singles titles than anyone who has ever played the game of tennis.

    Unfortunately, he doesn't exactly carry himself like one who has—or wants to have—a whole lot of street cred for his career accomplishments.

Yes: Shaun White

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    Each time we see Shaun White, all we can think to ourselves is, "Dammit that dude is cool."

    Not only does he compete in action sports—owning them since he could stand up on a board, both snow or skate—but he's the face of them.

    What were you doing at 21 years old?

    Probably getting drunk.

    Shaun White?

    He was getting drunk while playing his very own video game.

Yes: Darelle Revis

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    He may have just been another athlete who weaseled his way into what he wanted—a trade from the Jets for more money elsewhere—but doesn't that actually add to his swag appeal a bit?

    Let's face it: Anyone who self-titled himself as "Revis Island" is someone who isn't only not short on confidence, but let's his play back him up.

No Chance: Joe Flacco

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    Sorry, Joe Flacco, you may have finally earned some major respect after winning the Super Bowl this past season, but just because you've got bling on your finger, doesn't mean you've got the swag to back it up.

    We promise it's not the whole unibrow thing—but trust us, that didn't exactly help his cause.

Yes: Claude Giroux

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    Besides being one of the best players in the game, Giroux at one point left no regard for human life when he sported one of the finest pieces of upper lip fur we've ever seen.

    Honestly, that's Burt Reynolds legendary right there.

    But back to the whole hockey thing, he's established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the ice, and proved he was tough while undergoing surgeries on both wrists to repair whatever injuries he was playing with last season.

Yes: Calvin Johnson

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    You tell us how fun it would be to go head-to-head against a guy who's 6'5" and can run a 4.3 40-yarder?

    Since most of us have never had to deal with the predicament in person, we probably wouldn't really know.

    Just check "Megatron's" numbers, and you'll have your answers right there.

    His nickname in itself makes the guy have complete badass swag.

Yes: Mario Balotelli

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    Just forget about the amazing things he does on the pitch for a second and look at the guy.

    Not too many people we usually hang out with can pull off the thin mohawk—and we know some pretty cool folks.

    Besides his style, Balotelli's swag comes out in his goal celebrations, overall attitude and party-going lifestyle.

You're Joking, Right?: Andrew Luck

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    As the No.1 overall pick last year, Luck lived up to every ounce of expectations that pundits tossed his way.

    He aced his interviews.

    Overcame adversity by not having his regular head coach.

    And led the Colts back to the playoffs.

    But one thing you're still probably better at than Luck?

    You at least have the capability of downloading an app on your phone, because the Colts QB just hasn't been able to toss out his flip phone.

Yes: Russell Westbrook

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    It's more than just the postgame frames and weird shirts he wears.

    For Westbrook, his style off the court is a direct reflection of his game on it, where he uses his speed and ferociousness to do whatever the hell he wants.

    He'll chirp at times, but he backs it up whenever he has the ball in his hands, proving he's one of the best point guards in the league.

Yes: Matt Kemp

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    Lest we forget, the Dodgers center fielder once did date sexbomb Rihanna, so if that wasn't enough to bring his swag factor up, we don't know what would.

    On top of all that extracurricular stuff with RiRi though, Kemp's a pretty damn good baseball player too—as he's proven with two Gold Glove and All-Star appearances.

    As much style as he has on the field, he reps it just as well off it too.

No Way: Pat Riley

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    Sure, Riley may have had the charm to smooth talk LeBron James and Chris Bosh to sign in Miami back in 2010, as well as the whole Hollywood look when coaching the "Primetime" Lakers, but as he's gotten older, he's lost it a bit.

    Shaking his hips and wobbling his legs in this championship celebration didn't exactly help him prove that he still had it going on.

    If the Heat win it again this year though, maybe he'll have another chance to redeem himself.

Yes: Robert Griffin III

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    As if having a Heisman trophy on his mantle didn't carry enough of a wow factor, Robert Griffin III went out and proved to the entire league why his 2011 Heisman-winning campaign was no fluke.

    Whether it was his random sock collection helping him, his agility on the field or just his ultra coolness under pressure (or playing injured), RGIII has clearly shown he's got what it takes to handle the pressure of being the face of a franchise.

Yes: Ryan Lochte

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    Is the dude kind of douchey?


    But for some people, that's where their swag actually comes from.

    In the five-time Olympic gold medalists case, he uses that inner bro to carry himself in a way that some guys really wish they could.

    With his very own TV show now—in which he prepped by admitting to watching a lot of Keeping Up With the Kardashians—it's time to get a pen and paper out to take solid notes on swagger.

Not Even Close: Tim Tebow

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    We're still not sure what to define Tim Tebow as quite yet, but one thing that we're sure isn't an option would be the word swagger.

    The guy might be tough as nails, but talented? Until he proves he can throw the football and hold down a starting gig, we won't even go there.

    He's definitely one of the most overexposed athletes in recent memory, so at least he's got that working for him.

Yes: Bryce Harper

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    The 20-year-old Bryce Harper has the whole package going on these days.

    Rocking that Euro hairdo grabs some eyes, but he's been getting attention ever since he was drafted No. 1 by the Nats a couple years ago, backing it all up by accelerating through the Minors and into the big leagues last season.

    Does Bryce Harper have swag? 

    That's a clown question, bro.

Yes: Johnny Manziel

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    Rarely do you see quarterbacks hopping in the air and chest bumping their teammates, yet the reigning Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel does just that.

    And in case you questioned how much swag this kid actually has, just check out some of the stuff on his Twitter account, because there are a ton of things most 19-year-old college kids couldn't get away with.

    Then again, most dudes don't have Manziel's swag—though they obviously wish they did.

Nope: Tim Duncan

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    In our opinion—and Kobe's—Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward in NBA history.

    From four NBA titles to two league MVP awards, one would think that all the hardware he's earned in his career would make him a little more appealing.

    Sadly, he's still the same old "Big Fundamental" he was when he first came into the league.

    We're not saying Duncan is boring but... well, wait, maybe we are just a little bit.

Yes: Patrick Kane

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    Whenever a 24-year-old Stanley Cup champion and former No. 1 overall pick is asked by his organization to tone down his partying ways, one would think it'd mean the guy was a bust.

    In Patrick Kane's case though, it's just part of who he really is.

    Talented as all hell on the ice, social chairman of the city of Chicago off it, the bro has so much swag he could probably dish it out on Halloween and still have enough to be cooler than any of us.

Yes: Cristiano Ronaldo

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    We're personally not the biggest Cristiano Ronaldo fan, but real recognizes real in this case, because the Portugal international is eggs amongst football players in the swag department.

    He's one of the most talented players on the planet, dates the hottest girls and has so much money to flaunt that it's comical.

    If all that isn't enough, just check out any of his goal celebrations where he's all but asking the crowd, "Come on. As if you didn't expect a goal was coming from me?"

Yes: Colin Kaepernick

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    Bursting onto the scene after literally being handed the reigns to the huddle last season, Colin Kaepernick took advantage by leading the Niners to the Super Bowl.

    He's got the tats, the strut and the trademarked touchdown celebration to back up anyone who challenges the amount of swag he really has.

Absolutely Not: The Entire Manning Family

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    Though the Manning's don't have an ounce of traditional swag in their blood, that doesn't mean they aren't entertaining or cool.

    From multiple commercials or acting spots where they've proven they're more than just football, the Manning's are definitely funny.

    There's just one problem with their type of comedy—it's Dad humor.

    You know, the kind where putting on a prop and acting in an ironical way makes people laugh because it's so different from what they're usually like.

Yes: Kobe Bryant

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    One word: Vino.

    As cool as the nickname "Black Mamba" was, Kobe Bryant had to erase all the Nike marketing campaigns and familiarity with it and create himself a new one by declaring on his Twitter account that he wants to be known as "Vino" now—since he gets better with age.

    We could go on in our praises of Bryant's swagger, but we have a feeling it's the reason you either love him, hate him or have learned to just accept him.

Yes: Usain Bolt

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    What part of Usain Bolt doesn't have swag?

    He celebrates while slowing down towards the end of a race.

    He's not shy in showing how much fun he has while around a track.

    Hell, even his name comes across as super cool—figures the world's fastest man's last name would be Bolt.

    For being the best at his sport and not being afraid to show it, Bolt just might have the most swag of any current athlete right now.