The 25 Biggest One-Hit Wonders in Sports

Kelsey GivensAnalyst IIOctober 12, 2011

The 25 Biggest One-Hit Wonders in Sports

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    They shine bright for one spectacular moment, and then poof, they're gone never to repeat the same greatness again.

    These are sports' greatest one-hit wonders.

    Whether it be a player, a team or an entire league, these phenomenon rise from almost out of no where to have an amazing play or a miraculous win, before sinking back into the abyss of mediocrity. 

    There are tons of players and teams who have had random bouts of good luck. but these one-hit wonders stand out above the rest with their shocking greatness that fades as quickly as it came.

    So here is a list of 25 of the biggest one hit sports wonders of all time. 

    Image via Wonder-Tonic tmbler

No. 25 XFL

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    This is truly a one-hit wonder, lasting only one season.

    The success of the league was supposed to come from the fact that it ran during the NFL off season. But for all of the hype that went into creating and starting it, including movie plugs and apparel sales, the XFL just couldn’t get the viewership it needed to survive past the 2001 season.  

No. 24 2006 George Mason Basketball Team

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    This team had a string of major upsets in the 2006 NCAA basketball championship. They were seeded at No. 11 and beat four consecutively higher seeded teams before losing in the semi-finals of the tournament.

    The following year the team didn’t even make it into the tournament. 

No. 23 Steve Mason

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    In 2007 he was named the OHL goalie of the year, and when he joined the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008, he became rookie of the year as well.

    But after his début season with the Jackets, his talent seems to have waned a great deal and he is no where near the talent level he used to be at. 

No. 22 Brady Anderson

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    If only injury hadn't hindered what might have been an amazing player.

    In 1996 Brady Anderson had a total of 50 home runs and the following two seasons each saw 18.

    But thanks to various injuries, he never was able to see that level of success again for the rest of his career. 

No. 21Carlos Newton

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    He seemed to be a star burning bright, accomplishing something not many have done in a UFC; a bulldog choke victory, which ended the three-year Welterweight Championship run of Pat Miletich in 2001.

    But he seemed to be a star that burnt out quickly, since he lost the championship only six months after defeating Miletich. And he never seemed to come close to that level of success again in his career.  

No. 20 Jonathan Cheechoo

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    At one point in his career he was on fire. During the 2005-2006 season he scored 56 goals, which came after two seasons where he scored only 28 per season.

    Then as quickly as his brilliance came, it left with a decreasing amount of goals per season after that.  

No. 19: Mike Bielecki

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    He was a key element in the Cubs wins for two seasons, winning 18 games in 1989.

    After 1989, however, he began a steep decline, only winning 10 the next season and then steadily less and less after that. 

No. 18 Austin Croshere

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    Austin Croshere was one of the main reasons the Pacers made it to the NBA Finals in 2000. And for this he earned a reported $51 million, seven-year contract.

    However, he never was able to duplicate that level of success and was eventually waived. 

No. 17 Bob May

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    During the 2000 PGA Championship, Bob May was a major competitor with Tiger Woods. 

    For his first real national success, May became a popular player, even though he didn't win the tournament.

    Back injuries would later keep him from becoming the golf star he could have been. 

No. 16 2006-2007 Golden State Warriors

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    This is traditionally a winning team. They missed the playoffs for 15 years before finally making the postseason in 2007, where they upset the Mavericks in the first round before losing in the second.

    The following season saw some success as well, but in 2008 they went back to their old losing ways. 

No. 15 1997 Florida Marlins

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    This team went from being OK to exceptional in the span of one off season.

    Wayne Huizenga, most well-known for making Blockbuster what it was in its prime, spent a reported $89 million on bringing the best free agents to his team for the 1997 season.

    The team won the National League championship and defeated the Indians in game seven of the World Series.

    Then the next season they had to sell off a good amount of players in order to make up for the loss of revenue they suffered with the expensive free agents purchase. They went 54-108 in 1998, a 180 degree switch from their success the season before. 

No. 14 Troy Hudson

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    This Timberwolves point guard had a stellar performance against the Lakers in the 2003 Western Conference Finals, where he averaged around 23 points a game.

    However, after the finals he seemed to lose his spark, averaging only around 10 points per game for the rest of his career. 

No. 13 Desmond Howard

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    He had a pretty good stint with the Redskins before having his major moment with the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.

    During this game he returned a Patriot kick for a 99-yard touchdown.

    He wasn’t terrible after this wonder play, but he never saw that much success again on the field. 

No. 12 Tommy Maddox

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    The predecessor to Ben Roethlisberger, Tommy Maddox was originally drafted by Broncos in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft.

    He left the NFL after not having much success, before eventually returning to have an amazing season with the Steelers. He had 20 touchdowns, threw for 2,836 yards and earned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

    Sadly the next season he wasn't able to come even close to this success and was eventually replaced. 

No. 11 2010 San Francisco Giants

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    One of the worst teams in the MLB offensively, the Giants shocked everyone in 2010 when they won the World Series. 

    And in true fashion, after their one moment of glory, they are returning to poor offensive fashion. 

No. 10 Rod Smart

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    This former XFL player became a huge hit in 2001 when he came on the field with “He Hate Me” in place of his name on his uniform.

    People went wild over the funny and memorable jersey, but after the XFL folded he seemed to sink back into the shadows of fame from whence he came.

    He is now attempting to get his acting career started. He has been in several indie films and says plans to move to Hollywood

No. 9 Jerome James

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    He went from awesome to, well, not so awesome once he signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Knicks in 2005.

    During the 2005 playoffs, Jerome James had an average of 17.2 points per game and an average of 9.4 rebounds, which then dropped to an average of 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds after signing his contract. 

No. 8 Bud Smith

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    He was the 2001 MLB Rookie of the Year, after his no-hitter performance against the Padres in September of 2001.

    But after all of that success, he was only able to pull off one more win in the rest of his career. 

No. 7 Derek Anderson

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    He had an amazing break out season in 2007 when he had 29 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and threw for a total of 3,787 yards.

    But this was his only good season. After this he progressively got worse and worse, never showing the same greatness again. 

No. 6 Ickey Woods

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    In his first season with the Bengals, Ickey Woods was one of the main reasons the team made it into Super Bowl XXIII. 

    That season alone he ran for 1,066 yards and had 15 touchdowns.

    Sadly, he tore his ACL the following season, ending any greatness that could have been. 

No. 5 Slam Ball

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    Slam Ball is basically the game of basketball with trampolines.

    It became pretty popular in the early 2000s when Spike TV aired the Slam Ball league’s games, but after only three seasons, the league disintegrated due to conflicts between the network and promoters.

    Slam Ball began to come back in 2007, but never reached the height of popularity it experienced from 2001-2003 in the U.S. 

No. 4 Stephen Bradbury

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    He’s the Australian speed skater who won gold in the 2002 1,000 meter event, after a collision took out the majority of his opponents in the last bend of the course.

    After winning big, he promptly retired and never competed again. 

No. 3 2003-2004 Tampa Bay Lightning

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    This team steadily built credibility and talent, before truly exploding onto the scene in 2004 with a Stanley Cup win. It was the only championship win the team has had since, and after they won, the team steadily went downhill, finishing dead last for the 2007-2008 season.  

No. 2 Maurice Clarett

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    He had everything going for him. He was the running back that led Ohio State to a 2002 National Championship, and he was only a freshman, so he had three more season to build upon the success he had already had.

    But it was nothing but downhill after this one moment of stardom for Maurice Clarett.

    He tried to leave OSU to go to the NFL, but faced problems in challenging the league’s rule that requires a player be three years removed from high school to join.

    And on top of that he got himself into quite a bit of legal trouble, driving with an open container with guns in his car. 

No. 1 James 'Buster' Douglas

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    James 'Buster' Douglas came out of nowhere to defeat then Heavy Weight Champion Mike Tyson in 1990, despite a 42:1 shot of actually winning.

    The odds were so against him that most bookies weren’t even taking bets on the fight, he said in an interview with On the Ropes Boxing Radio.

    After his fight, he lost in his very first defense against Evander Holyfield, possibly due in part to his weight gain. He retired for six years following this loss before trying to make a comeback, but was never as successful as when he beat Tyson, and eventually retired for good in 1999.