Eight Athletes Who Played the Wrong Sport
I was in the stands of a Little League All-Star game last weekend.
I was impressed by the discipline of the eight-year-olds and the quality of the play for their age. Some of these kids are getting good instruction from the time they're very young, and it shows.
I was most impressed, however, by the Hammer.
Hammer wasn't his real last name, but it was part of it—Milhammer or Bohammer, or something like that.
But when the Hammer stepped up to the plate, he got more reaction out of the crowd than the rest of the prepubescent players combined.
No matter what team you're on, it's always good news when the Hammer is going to bat for you.
It made no difference whether he was a good player or not. I can't remember. The important part was that he was playing the right sport—a sport where the Hammer can swing the bat and hammer one deep to left.
It'd be difficult to come up with a cooler baseball nickname.
It brings to mind Prince Fielder, who's definitely playing the right sport by playing baseball. And Gilbert Arenas, who has now played in basketball arenas all over the country. And even T.J. Rushing, who plays safety for the Indianapolis Colts—he gets to rush on every safety blitz.
All too often, though, mistakes are made in this category, and parents are unable to get their children to play the sports their names suggest they should play.
I present eight athletes who played the wrong sports—and the sports they should have played.
Kevin Love, Tennis
Kevin Love's parents should have seen that he should be playing tennis.
He's a fine basketball player—a power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves—but I think we'd all enjoy hearing the announcers stumbling when calling a tennis match featuring a guy named Love.
Maybe it's excusable, though. Maybe they feared that since "love" is a zero score in tennis, it would have the opposite effect, and he'd be poor at tennis.
We'll let it slide.
Jeff Saturday, College Football
Jeff Saturday is already playing football. He's just playing on the wrong day of the week.
He's a Pro Bowl center for the Indianapolis Colts, but when watching him play, one fact stands out.
This man should be playing every Saturday like they do in college football. If he insists on playing in the NFL, the least he could do is change his name to Jeff Sunday.
He got so close—he played college football at one point—but he let it slip away.
John Salmons, Fishing
I'll leave it up to you whether you consider fishing a sport, but one thing's for sure—John Salmons would be its biggest star.
He's no slouch on the basketball court. As a forward for the Chicago Bulls, he played a substantial part of a team that produced one of the most exciting playoff series in years a few weeks ago, taking the Celtics to seven games.
I don't know if he enjoys fishing, or even if he's ever fished in his life.
But let's get one thing straight: I know there's competitive fishing out there, and I know John Salmons should be doing it.
Austin Collie, Dog Shows
Here's another one that probably isn't a sport, but can't you see Austin Collie dominating the world of dog shows?
Collie was drafted this year by the Indianapolis Colts and is formerly a standout receiver for BYU. He is known for his crisp route-running and for providing the deep threat for the dynamic BYU offense.
But he should really, really, be training dogs to jump through hoops.
Keyon Dooling, Fencing
Say it out loud: This guy should be dueling.
By day, Keyon Dooling is a point guard for the New Jersey Nets. Perhaps by night, he could take on the world of fencing.
Do you get it yet? Dooling, dueling. Keyon Dooling. Don't make me keep going.
All right, maybe this one was a stretch.
Maurice Purify, Preaching
Purify, purify, purify!
Maurice Purify was a star college football receiver at Nebraska. He hasn't really hit his stride in the NFL, which is great, because he needs to be a man of the cloth.
Yeah, yeah, I know preaching isn't a sport, even by the biggest stretch. But can you imagine a cooler name for a preacher?
Pastor Purify. Papa Purify. Preacher, Priest, or my personal favorite, Padre Purify.
Come and purify yourself with Purify at the pulpit!
Donald Driver, NASCAR
The guy's name is Driver. Just put him behind the wheel.
Donald Driver made an NFL career out of catching passes from Brett Favre. He was also a track and field star in college but opted for football—and became a Pro Bowler and All-Pro out of it.
He clearly, with his name, should have opted for the NASCAR circuit.
Earnhardt, Andretti, Gordon. Driver.
Nick Swisher, Basketball
Topping the list of athletes playing the wrong sport is Nick Swisher. The guy is made for basketball.
Swisher plays for the Yankees, and he's an outfielder. No, a first baseman. Or is he a pitcher? I'm not sure.
Swisher tops our list because not only does he have a basketball name, but it's also a complimentary basketball name. He doesn't just make baskets—it's a swish every time.
It's the basketball equivalent of the Hammer.
When you've got the Hammer on your team—well, I think you'll do okay.