G.L.O.A.T: 15 of the Greatest Loser of All Time

Kwame Fisher-JonesContributor IIIMarch 16, 2011

G.L.O.A.T: 15 of the Greatest Loser of All Time

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    These players seemed destined for greatness, yet instead of being famous for winning they became infamous for losing. In sports the runner-up is never celebrated, expect in tee ball and hand grenades.

    However, in some rare instances a player's loss combined with when it happened and who was involved could far out live who actually won. These players were instrumental in their team's success, but were also the major reason for their teams habitual failures. How they played in the biggest games combined with their actions leading up to their ultimate "moment" played a significant role in determining the best of the worst.

    So without further ado, here are your top 15 greatest losers of all time:

15) Dominique Wilkins

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    Known as the "Human Highlight Film" 'Nique was a one man scoring machine who dominated the game and the ball above the rim. His dunks were indescribable and highlight reel worthy. Problem was that all he did was score. His career averages for assists was 2.5 and career average for rebounds 6.7.

    'Nique's teams were always playoffs contenders but were never championship contenders. The Hawks won 50 or more games five times in 'Nique's tenure but never made it to the Conference Finals, much less to the NBA Finals. Wilkins was never much for controversy which will be a rarity for most of the participants on this list.

14) LaDainian Tomlinson

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    Despite the impressive resume. Despite the records. Despite all the individual accolades, L.T. has never won on any level. His regular season numbers are phenomenal, however his postseason numbers are abysmal.

    L.T. has played in two Conference Championship games and his numbers are a paltry 2.1 yards per game and a 0-2 record. Then you add the whispers of him being a malcontent from his San Diego days and one does not have to wonder why L.T. is ring-less.

13) Bill Buckner

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    1986 World Series Game 6…nuff said.

12) Jim Kelly

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    The strong arm who created the K-Gun offense and led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls always managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Kelly's struggles to win a championship did not start with the Bills.

    It began while he was the quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes. Kelly struggled at the “U” with what many considered a good if not great team. Kelly’s last year at the “U” the team went 7-4 the following year the same team minus Kelly went 11-1 and won the national championship. Thus the beginning of the proverbial always a bridesmaid, never a bride finishes. 

11) Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Junior will go down as one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived. He could hit, he could field, and he had one of the illest pairs of sneakers to ever be made. However, Griffey’s team never won, he played in just one ALCS and never played in a World Series. His playoff numbers were decent, but he could never translate that into team success.

10) Patrick Ewing

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    He was part of one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history when his Hoyas lost to Villanova in the national championship game. He watched as Michael Jordan became a household name against him in college and the NBA.

    Ewing was never clutch and squandered every opportunity to seize the moment. He had front row seats to the Michael Jordan takeover concert and never ever ever missed a show. Safe to say it is not a Michael Jordan highlight if Patrick Ewing is not in it, sweating profusely.  

9) Dan Marino

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    It is not that he never won a Super Bowl, it is the fact he only played in one. Combine this with only 18 playoff appearances over a 17 year playing career. That averages out to one playoff appearance a year with NO WINS.

    Marino’s stronghold on the record books has also been relinquished; Brett Favre has past him and when Peyton Manning passes Marino, it will be the final nail in the coffin. This will push Marino to third on most lists, not first or even second but third. Is there a more fitting finish for a career built on numbers and not wins?

8) Karl Malone

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    Was it the big hats? Probably not. Was it the fact that he played in Utah and liked it? Probably not. Could it be complaining about guys shooting three pointers after getting shellacked in the NBA Finals? Maybe but no.

    If those things did not get you, maybe it was the HIV comment or the truck driving. Better yet it was the ox blood two sizes too small suit he wore to the draft or that wack nickname. Whatever your fancy was, Karl Malone found it and annoyed the hell out of it. Malone made the playoffs every year and lost every year, one has to wonder if John Stockton made him or if he made Stockton.

7) Charles Barkley

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    Charles was known to annoy his teammates and wear down coaches privately. Publicly he demanded to be traded from two teams when he knew they were no longer in position to compete for a championship. He never committed to being in shape in the offseason. Barkley was never known for giving his maximum effort on the defensive end. Today Barkley is employed by TNT to rant about other players shortcomings, which is the ultimate irony.

6) Donovan McNabb

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    It hurts to say this but Mac 5 is the poor man’s version of Jim Kelly. He was 1-4 in conference championships and 0-1 in the Super Bowl, but it is the issues that constantly plague McNabb wherever he plays.

    Whether he is or is not hurling in the Super Bowl. Whether he is or is not beefing with T.O. Whether he is or is not beefing with Kyle /Papa Shanahan. Beef seems to follow McNabb and regardless of the counterpart, you know McNabb is at the center of it.

    Faced with a career quickly headed to purgatory McNabb must find a team that will allow him to win a championship. At this point in his career McNabb can no longer just compete for a Super Bowl title, he has to win one.  

5) Allen Iverson

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    There is nothing worse than wasted talent. In life few of us are privileged to do what we love for a living and there are even fewer of us who have the God-given talent to flourish at it.

    A.I. had both and never worked on it. He never demanded excellence from himself and conversely he never demanded excellence from the Sixers. He was content being A.I. and just playing each game as if it were his last. He just wanted to play the game he never wanted to conquer the game. His work ethic never matched or exceeded his talent and that is truly what made him wasted talent.

4) Thurman Thomas

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    He lost his helmet before the biggest game of his career. Prior to that he fell asleep during what some would consider a monumental moment in his playing career. Needless to say the Thurman Thomas never let the moment succumb him.

3) Chris Webber

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    Webster should just implement Chris Webber’s picture next to underachiever in the dictionary. No player has underachieved as mightily as Webber, from college to the pros. Timeouts, injuries, and poorly planned soirees sum up Webber’s career.

    In the process he redefined the face of college basketball and redefined the power forward position with glimpses of supremacy. Unfortunately, they never materialized to be more than a brief timeout from a career short on sustained success.

2) Barry Bonds

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    Barry Bonds picked the perfect sport for him and his talents. A man whose shadow probably would not walk with him if it did not have to. Bonds stands alone and deserves to be mentioned among baseball immortality. His sudden muscle growth created a stir that Bonds has yet to address. He is terminally unhappy and is permanently disgruntled, a constant in losers, see Al Bundy. A 22-year playing career that features one World Series and no rings on teams built around him equals loser.  

1) Terrell Owens

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    If appearances on SportsCenter equaled championships then Terrell Owens would lead all professional athletes in rings. For all the hoopla, for all the regular season numbers Owens has a goose’s egg for touchdowns in the Super Bowl and conference championships. In fact Teir-rell has just one Super Bowl appearance in his illustrious career.

    The accomplishment has never equaled the acclaim. The attention paid to Owens is remarkable considering he has yet to affect a team in a positive way on or off the field. He attacks anyone who threatens his grasp on the media. When his career is over the individual accomplishments he has amassed will secure him a spot in the Hall of Fame, but the lack of championships will leave him well short of football immortality.