The Strangest Lucky Charms in Sports

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIJuly 20, 2012

The Strangest Lucky Charms in Sports

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    Athletic competition is an art that requires patience, dedication and a little bit of luck. As they search for that slight advantage, ballplayers will essentially try anything to please the gods and sway momentum in their favor.

    And during this search for lucky charms, athletes will alter their hygiene routine, change their eating habits and even keep a sweaty jock strap under their pillow just to keep the winds blowing in the right direction.

    Dare we say, the sports world is full of habitual creatures.

    Let's check out the strangest charms in sports, those that really reek of insanity.

    LeBron James' pixie dust doesn't even scrape the edge.

25. Lamar Odom's Sweet Tooth

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    Everyday is Halloween in the Odom household.

    "The games I played well (against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals) were the games where I ate candy for breakfast."

    Well then, it's settled. Call Willy Wonka, send in the Oompa Loompa reinforcements and get this man some sugar.

24. Turk Wendell's Hunting Necklace

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    Few of the things former Met reliever Turk Wendell did during games was considered normal. And for that we're thankful.

    A pack of rare rituals was headlined by two memorable charms. Wendall not only wore a sharp-toothed necklace that was allegedly built from the teeth of various animals he'd killed (made from bits of real panther, so you know it's good), but he even chewed black licorice instead of tobacco in the dugout.

    Oh, and did we mention he brushed his teeth while dugout-corner creeping?

23. St. Louis' Nutty Squirrel

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    During the Cardinals' run to the 2011 World Series, a fearless squirrel was seen prancing across the diamond in an effort to inspire the fans. So maybe that last part is assumption, but man, did that rodent spark a story.

    The small animal was eventually seen starring on Skip Schumaker's baseball card and earning a spot on the 2011 World Series ring. What a finish.

22. Michael Jordan's College Shorts

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    After Air Jordan won the '82 national championship with UNC, he evidently knew his epic short shorts would lead him to success.

    Underneath the Chi-town uniform worn during his illustrious career were Jordan's beloved college shorts, helping him approach immortality one breathtaking last-second shot at a time.

21. Andy Roeser's Fashionable Jacket

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    With the third-best odds in the 2009 NBA draft lottery, few expected the Clippers to jump up to No. 1. But president Andy Roeser knew exactly what it took to manipulate the winds.

    Breathtaking fabric was all that was required for the pong balls to magically roll in Los Angeles' favor. All-America forward Blake Griffin of Oklahoma was the talented consolation prize.

    Endless posterizations from the Griffinator several years later, and Roeser is still smiling somewhere in the shadows.

20. Wayne Gretzky's Baby Powder

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    Only the gentle touch of baby powder can possibly lead a hockey player to greatness.

    Surrounded by constant war and endless violence, one powder-covered stick reigned supreme.

    The Great One took care of his stick, and his pine took care of him.

19. Jason Terry's Socks

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    He wears the shorts of the opposing team the night before every game, eats the same pregame meal and wears five pairs of knee-high socks on the court...Jason Terry is clearly a habitual specimen.

    But while he's got reasons for the headband, he claims the five socks are "just a comfort thing." And surely a sweaty thing.

18. Knickerbockers' Crafty Horseshoe

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    After finishing the 1984-85 season at 24–58, the Knickerbockers and their New York faithful were praying for a 7' miracle.

    With a glistening horseshoe by his side, director of basketball operations Dave DeBusschere was able to secure the first pick and, in turn, Georgetown mammoth Patrick Ewing.

    There was finally light at the end of the Knicks' tunnel.

17. Jeremy Abbott's Little Piggy

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    Before winning the 2005 Junior National title, Olympic figure skater Jeremy Abbott stated, “Stranger things could happen; pigs could fly!”

    Since then, flying pigs have become the charm behind the success. Abbott is now the 2008 Grand Prix Final champion, a two-time (2007, 2011) Four Continents bronze medalist and a three-time (2009, 2010, 2012) U.S. national champion.

    No more bacon for this Olympian.

16. Pelle Lindbergh's Drink of Choice

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    We'd like to believe that the 87 wins goaltender Pelle Lindbergh totaled during his five-year career were the direct result of his strange obsession with one particular Swedish beverage.

    Rumor has it that the Philly netminder drank Pripps in between periods, obviously delivered to him precisely from Sweden. Talent could never have been a factor.

15. The 76ers' Crystal Ball

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    Philadelphia president Pat Croce didn't quite trust his 33.73 percent odds before the 1996 lottery. He decided to have a Waterford crystal ball delivered from Ireland to improve his team's luck. 

    And you can bet the then-beleaguered Sixers earned the top choice, and the eventual rights to some talented cat by the name of Allen Iverson.

    Future cemented.

14. Alexei Ramirez's Bundle of Dried Tobacco

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    Class, class, class. That's the way Chi-town shortstop Alexei Ramirez rolls.

    ESPN Chicago columnist Jon Greenberg saw the White Sox youngster smoking a cigar, and dare we say, we're impressed. (The White Sox are enjoying first place as—what we believe to be a—direct result.)

    Jim Leyland's cigarettes have nothing on this blossoming star's ways.

13. The Bucks' Memorable Lure

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    Heading into the 2005 lottery, the Bucks possessed a modest 6.3 percent chance of earning the No. 1 pick. Essentially no chance, to skeptics.

    But naturally, a fishing lure helped Milwaukee and general manager Larry Harris "reel in" the top draft choice. Although, they must've forgotten their charm when they decided to choose Andrew Bogut over Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

12. Tiger Woods' Red Style

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    The greatest golfer on Earth has worn a red shirt in the final Sunday round of major tournaments since the moment he stepped on a professional course. But ubiquitous curiosity continues to flood the green.

    The color seems to honor his alma mater, Stanford, and his mother, who is an alleged fan of red.

    However, we believe the color is meant to instill fear in opponents' eyes. And it certainly does.

11. Caron Butler's Chewed Straw

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    "It calmed me down."

    Indeed, straw-chewing was once an integral part of Caron Butler's regimen. That was until the NBA decided to ban his obviously heinous addiction.

    That David Stern, always a buzzkill.

10. The Kings' 3 Pennies

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    The legend of the Kings' three pennies goes back to August 2011

    Before the season, Luc Robitaille and Bailey the mascot placed the three coins under center ice.

    One was from 2002, the year Robitaille won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. The second was from 2006, the year in which Bailey's favorite Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl. And the third was from 1893, the year the Cup was first awarded. 

    This financial charm clearly inspired the Kings to become the first eighth-seeded team to win the Stanley Cup. Breathtaking.

9. Les Miles' Strands of Grass

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    "You might try it. It's not a bad deal. I suspect it's better than chewing tobacco and some other things that people put in their mouths."

    Well, when you put it that way, we're almost convinced. And with 103 career wins, we'll take Les Miles' mad-hatting ways any day of the week.

    Keep in mind, this grass-eating video was taken moments before LSU's Jordan Jefferson hit receiver Rueben Randle for a two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 21-14 lead. Charmed success.

8. Bruce Gardiner's Obedient Stick

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    He only scored 34 goals during his journeyman NHL career, but center Bruce Gardiner will always be remembered for his odd pregame toilet regimen. And we don't mean answering nature's calls.

    After going 14 games without a goal as a rookie, Gardiner was allegedly approached by Senators teammate Tom Chorske, who told him to put his stick in a toilet bowl.

    Gardiner did the dirty work and scored two goals the same night as a result. He had four goals in his next three games.

7. Mets No. 1 Draft Pick Gavin Cecchini

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    When the New York Mets chose Barbe High School shortstop Gavin Cecchini 12th overall in the 2012 MLB draft, fans drooled over his athleticism and future promise. What few realized was that this kid was also a good luck charm, a sign of a bright future.

    As Cecchini watched Johan Santana mow down hitters from a Citi Field suite, he couldn't have predicted what was to come. The first no-hitter in Mets history.

6. David Beckham's Beloved Rear

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    The man once nicknamed "Goldenbuns" seems content with the fact that his posterior may be lucky.

    While we're sure Victoria Beckham is in favor of her husband's lucky bottom, it was David Beckham's A.C. Milan teammates that were truly inspired back in 2009, after he scored his first goal against Bologna.

    Culture shock at its finest in Italy.

5. Nelson De La Rosa Breaks the Curse

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    He became an iconic figure of Boston's 2004 World Series run, their first championship in 86 years.

    The 2'4" Nelson De La Rosa was perhaps the most pivotal member of that Red Sox team, an inspirational actor who was seen spreading his luckiness throughout the clubhouse during the Sox's quest for long-awaited promise.

    Pedro Martinez seemed like the happiest man on Earth.

4. Jason Giambi's Thong Song

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    He was 0-for-32, frustration building with every mediocre at-bat. Until, it hit him. The "gold lam thong with a flame-line waistband." Of course!

    And what do you know, Jason Giambi hits a home run on the first pitch. Since then, the thong has been an emergency tactic. Only when he's in a slump, that is.

    Sisqo would be proud.

3. Wade Boggs' Love for Chicken

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    Athletes are raised to maintain healthy, well-rounded diets. But 3,000-hit-club member Wade Boggs did things his own way. The protein-filled way.

    A poultry meal before every game led the quirky third baseman right to the Hall of Fame, where he continues to be studied for his bevy of remarkable rituals.

    Considering this is the same dude who supposedly tanked 64 brewskis on a road trip, a chicken addiction seems pretty routine.

2. John Henderson's Fearless Trainer

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    The real-life Terry "The Office Linebacker" Tate, John Henderson is always a sight to behold. Especially come game time.

    As he tears through the locker room with a determined fury, it becomes clear just how crazy the 6'7" defensive tackle truly is.

    Round of applause for trainer Joe Sheehan, who undoubtedly enjoys a relaxing Yoga session following his open-faced slaps on Henderson.

1. Justin Morneau's Slurpee Run

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    As the son of a former hockey player and a former hockey player himself, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau certainly has his fair share of superstitions.

    But it's the Nick Punto-created Slurpee that truly gets Morneau ready to play ball, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. "One-half Mountain Dew, one-half red or orange stuff" and Punto's magic touch are all it take to create a chilled masterpiece.

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