20 Biggest Disappointments in American Sports Since 2000

Amber Lee@@BlamberrSports Lists Lead WriterJune 11, 2015

20 Biggest Disappointments in American Sports Since 2000

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    Disappointment is no stranger to sports. Being disappointed or being a disappointment is the other half of the double helix that is the genetic makeup of sports. There are no championships or Hall of Famers if someone, or something, isn't a disappointment. 

    The reason we love sports—despite knowing disappointment—is because there’s always the possibility that someone, or some other team, will be disappointed and we’ll be the champions. Whether you’re a fan, athlete, coach or someone else deeply involved in a sport, disappointment is so pervasive, but tolerable, because there is always the other side of the coin.

    However, few people live the kind of disappointment that makes sports so bittersweet. For every upset, there was a disappointing favorite. For every Tom Brady, there has been countless first-round draft failures. And some sting so much more—moments of disappointment that become historic anecdotes and cautionary tales.

    These are 20 of the biggest disappointments in American sports since 2000.

Johnny Manziel's Rookie Year

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    Despite falling to the bottom half of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, few players have come into the league in recent years with more fanfare than Texas A&M Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. Despite putting up ostentatious numbers in College Station, Johnny Football fell to No. 22 overall.

    After all the hype, including an offseason filled with highly publicized questionable activities, Manziel’s first season in Cleveland was nothing short of a nightmare. He failed to win the starting job over veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer, and in two late-season starts he combined for a total QBR rating of 2.9 before going down with a season-ending injury against the Panthers.

    In fact, Manziel was outplayed by undrafted free agent Connor Shaw out of South Carolina, an undersized scrapper who impressed many by playing through an obvious injury, while hanging tough with the division-rival Ravens in the final game of the season. Even though things fell apart toward the end, Shaw showed up Manziel through three quarters.

    Not only did Manziel embarrass himself on and off the field his rookie season, he actually managed to take down teammates with him—or at least one of them. According to countless reports, it was a party thrown by Manziel in late December that led to problematic wide receiver Josh Gordon missing a walkthrough prior to that final game against the Baltimore.

    Manziel also overslept and missed the walkthrough, but he was already ruled out due to injury, so it was less of an issue. Gordon’s violation, coupled with previous indiscretions, resulted in him being suspended for the final game of the season.

Andrew Bynum's Post-Laker Existence

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    Selected No. 10 overall by the Lakers straight out of high school in the 2005 NBA draft, big man Andrew Bynum enjoyed some success over his seven seasons in Los Angeles. Although he played a full 82 games only once in his career, which had been hampered by injury throughout, Bynum was a contributing member of the Lakers championship teams in 2009 and 2010. He was also named an All-Star for the first time in 2012.

    The following August, Bynum was part of a four-team trade that sent him to Philadelphia and brought Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. Despite any promise he showed over the years, Bynum had long been considered an underachiever by many, and quotes attributed to him and former teammate Kobe Bryant after the trade suggested their strained relationship may have played a part.

    If Bynum was a disappointment for the Lakers, then what was he for the 76ers, since he didn’t play a single game in Philadelphia during the 2012-13 season, which he missed due to injury? The following season he dressed for a total of 26 games—24 with the Cavaliers and two with the Pacers. At age 27, Bynum is already all but out of the NBA, and most of his memorable moments have to do with his increasingly ridiculous hairstyles he rocked while riding the bench. 

    Although his inability to stay healthy was an ongoing disappointment, there was nothing about Bynum that was more disappointing than the fact that he simply never seemed to care. There have been multiple reports since 2012 that he just didn’t like playing basketball.

Regular-Season Warrior Eagles

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    From 2000-10, the Eagles missed the playoffs just twice. With coach Andy Reid at the helm, Philadelphia won the NFC East six times (four straight from 2001-04) and finished second three other times—a very impressive 11-year stretch of regular-season achievement.

    Unfortunately for still-championshipless Eagles fans, that regular-season success just didn’t translate in the playoffs. Over that period in the postseason, the Eagles lost in the Wild Card Round twice, the divisional round twice, the conference finals four times and once in Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots in 2004.

    It would be easy to compare the Eagles of the 2000s to the Bills of the 1990s, but at least Buffalo managed to make it to the big show four times before blowing it in soul-crushing fashion at the Super Bowl. Philadelphia flamed out just shy of the championship game though.

Tiger Woods' Scandal, Steep Decline

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    From 1997 through 2008, golf great Tiger Woods was on quite the roll, winning 14 major championships in just over a decade. In addition to being one of the most recognizable and popular athletes in the world, Woods has also been among the highest paid, thanks in large part to lucrative endorsements, with Nike chief among them.

    Then in late November 2009, everything changed in the blink of an eye. It was about 2:30 a.m. on the Friday morning following Thanksgiving that a woozy Woods was found bleeding after crashing his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree, right outside the Florida home he shared with then-wife Elin Nordegren.

    Initially it was reported that Nordegren had used a golf club to break the rear window to assist Woods in exiting the vehicle, but within hours a much different picture began to be painted. In the weeks and months that followed, a salacious scandal played out in the media that linked Woods to extramarital relations with nearly a dozen women. Eventually, he and Nordegren divorced.

    Although it was among the ugliest and most publicized sex scandals in sports history, it was a redemption story in the making, if only Woods would start winning again. Once considered a serious threat to match or surpass the record 18 majors set by Jack Nicklaus, today Woods is pushing 40 and it’ll be seven years this month since his last major win at the U.S. Open in June 2008. These days the only thing Woods seems to accomplish on the course is new career lows, having reached another just days ago.

Heat Losing to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals

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    As if “The Decision” wasn’t bad enough, in July 2010, LeBron James really piled it on by appearing alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at a Heat pep rally in Miami. Actually, is it even called a pep rally after high school or college? Maybe elaborate welcome rally is more accurate. Whatever.

    Just days after making the announcement, fans in and around Cleveland were still dealing with the shock and sadness of losing their hometown hero after seven championshipless seasons, and he was already on stage with his new team. As lights lit the stage in Miami, burning LeBron jerseys lit the streets of Cleveland.

    To add insult to injury, during the event James promised Heat fans not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, but eight championships in Miami. Immediately installed as perennial favorites, James was expected to get started right away, especially with his heavily favorited Heat being heavily favored against the Mavericks. But it was Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas that won their first championship instead, defeating Miami in six games.

    Not only was the Heat’s performance disappointing, so were the comments made by James during his postgame press conference: “All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today.” James would play four seasons in Miami, reaching the Finals each time, but only winning two titles. 

Seattle SuperSonics Sold, Relocated

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    In 2006, Aubrey McClendon and Clayton Bennett bought the SuperSonics from Starbucks founder Howard Schultz for $350 million. At the time of the deal they stressed that it was not their intention to move the team, provided they were successfully able to come to terms with local and state officials on funds for a new arena. That was their official story anyway. 

    According to Forbes, McClendon and Bennett “seemed to be sincere,” having negotiated in earnest with the town of Renton before the Washington Legislature shut it down, refusing to allocate taxpayer money to the project. It worked out perfectly for the team’s new owners, who it was later revealed never had any intention of keeping the Sonics in Seattle—in 2007 that’s exactly what McClendon said in an interview with the Journal Record (h/t Forbes).

    Incensed at McClendon’s deceptive actions and public comments, then-NBA commissioner David Stern fined him a then-record $250,000. Also fuming about the deception, Schultz filed suit against the new ownership group, hoping to get the sale voided. Months later he dropped the suit, conceding deception alone wasn't legal grounds to nullify the sale.

    Although things have largely worked out for the team with the move to Oklahoma City, the deceptive nature of the move is still very disappointing looking back—even for fans with no connection to either city. Even more disappointing at this point for basketball fans in Seattle is that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in April that they are at least two to three years away from bringing a team back.

Lindsey Vonn Misses Sochi Olympics

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    The Winter Olympics simply just aren’t as compelling as the Summer Olympics. There’s no heat, no skin, no hype, and so many of the events are mind-numbingly repetitive. Seriously, when curling becomes one of the breakout events of the games, something is obviously up.

    Then again, maybe Americans are so disconnected from the Winter Olympics because we’re not particularly competitive in them—we tend to account for less than 15 percent of all medals awarded, right around 10 percent total gold. Curling is actually really popular here, with Americans having embraced the sport ironically, despite being terrible at it.

    With our days of figure skating supremacy (if you could even call it that) a thing of the past, skier Lindsey Vonn was one of the few athletes with name recognition going into the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. When injury forced her to withdraw just weeks prior, NBC was left scrambling to replace Vonn, who was going to be the face of the Games and a cornerstone of their coverage.

    Vonn’s absence wasn’t just a marketing nightmare, it was also a major blow to the U.S. team. As one of the greatest female skiers ever and the only “American woman to ever capture Downhill gold at the Olympics” and win “four World Cup overall titles,” Vonn was expected to build on her performance in Vancouver in 2010, where she took gold in downhill and bronze in the super-G.

Kentucky Basketball

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    For all the talk about the ridiculous advantage the one-and-done approach to recruiting has provided coach John Calipari in Kentucky, the Wildcats are seriously lacking in the championship department since 2000.

    Though they’ve made the NCAA tournament all but two seasons since then, Kentucky has only one championship, despite being a favorite nationally in five of the six seasons under Calipari.

    The obvious favorites this past season, Kentucky fell to Wisconsin 71-64 in the Final Four. In 2013, Sporting News listed Kentucky as one of the most disappointing teams of the year, after getting bumped by Robert Morris (who?) in the first round of the NIT. The following October, CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello promised the Wildcats wouldn’t have a repeat of the disappointment from the year prior. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Kentucky ended up with.

    Despite some bumps along the way in 2013-14, the Wildcats were definitely expected to compete with the out-of-nowhere Huskies of UConn in the 2014 championship, but ended up losing 60-54. After his most recent loss, Calipari said he was disappointed, but still proud of what his team accomplished before being bested by the Badgers.

    Weeks after their most recent tournament loss, Kentucky introduced a subtle change in their logo, courtesy of Nike. Perhaps they’re looking for a change in postseason mojo more than anything else.

Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLVIII

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    Seahawks fans surely see this one quite differently, but for Broncos fans and any of the 100 million-plus viewers who tuned into Super Bowl XLVIII hoping for a competitive game, they were seriously disappointed. Even now looking back at the 43-8 score, it didn’t even seem that close! The game was effectively over by halftime. 

    Though both Denver and Seattle finished the regular season 13-3, the difference-maker was supposed to be at the quarterback position, with the Broncos’ Peyton Manning coming off the best season of his career to date. No small feat, given the guy has been an offensive juggernaut since being drafted in 1998.

    Manning was named the 2013 NFL MVP by the PFWA and the AP, which also named him the Offensive Player of the Year, having amassed nearly 5,500 yards and 55 touchdowns, while completing over 68 percent of his passes. On the other side of the field was second-year, second-round pick Russell Wilson, who threw for more than 2,000 yards less than Manning that year and 29 fewer touchdowns.

    Manning, who has earned a reputation of coming up short in the playoffs (he is now 1-2 in Super Bowls), set the stage by giving up a safety to the Seahawks on the first play from scrimmage. It was the quickest score in championship history, a record Manning definitely didn’t want any part of. Seattle’s defense was lights out through the game, and Manning had one of his worst postseason performances ever.

The Knicks

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    Although the Knicks haven’t won a championship since 1973, their second in four years, they had been perennial (at least) contenders most seasons through 2000. That’s when the Knickerbockers started their skid into the gutter, where they remain 15 years later. Just Google "why are the Knicks so bad," and you'll get a sense of just how bleak things have become. 

    Plagued by bad ownership, bad management, bad contracts, bad draft picks, bad decisions and a lot of underachieving and poor play, the Knicks just can’t seem to get their crap together. Since the 2000-01 season, they’ve made the postseason just five times, losing in the first round four times (winning a total of three games) and the conference semifinals once.

    Despite bringing in the legendary Phil Jackson as president in March 2014, things aren’t improving for the Knicks. In fact, their 17 wins last season marks the worst season in franchise history. But these guys can’t even get losing right. Winning two meaningless late-season road games cost the team a guaranteed top-four pick and a 25 percent chance at the No. 1 pick.

    Considering the Knicks' continued dysfunction and the proven ineptness of CEO James Dolan, the occasional strongly worded letter from fans is to be expected. Angry fan mail isn’t generally addressed at ownership level, but in February Dolan responded personally to a letter. He called the fan “sad” and “hateful”, and an “alcoholic, maybe.” Dolan closed by telling him the Knicks don’t need him and to go root for the Nets. Seriously.

Washington Capitals in the Postseason

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    Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin was selected No. 1 overall by the Capitals in the 2004 NHL draft. Though his first year was lost to a lockout that forced the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season, Ovechkin came ready to play the following season, immediately establishing himself as one of the game’s most dominant players.

    Washington didn’t qualify for the playoffs in Ovi’s first year, but his 106 points made him the third highest scorer in the regular season—with 52 goals, he finished just four short of the league leader. Ovechkin bested the Penguins' Sidney Crosby by four points, who he also beat out for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year.

    A decade later, Ovechkin still has that goal-scoring touch, and remains ones of the rare superstars that is just as likely to find the back of the net as he is to punch the opposition in the mouth. But despite leading the Capitals to the playoffs in seven of his 10 seasons in Washington, this team continues to epically underachieve in the postseason.

    And the Caps don’t just fizzle out in the first round, getting swept year after year, their losses tend to be a lot more soul-crushing than that—like following up a first-round Game 7 win with a second-round Game 7 loss. Until recently, Ovechkin was largely inoculated from the failures of his team, but after earning a reputation as a coach-killer (he’s currently on his fifth), that’s starting to change.

    In May 2015, Ovi issued a Mark Messier/Joe Namath-style Game 7 guarantee that the Capitals would beat the Rangers in the second round of the playoffs. Not only did they lose the game, the Caps blew a 3-1 series lead for an NHL-record fifth time—beating a record previously held by…them.

    Days later, USA Today’s Chris Chase said “Alex Ovechkin is the most underachieving MVP in the NHL.” He noted that Ovi is the “only multi-time NHL MVP never to win the Stanley Cup.” Obviously the 29-year-old may still have more than a decade ahead of him, but for now it’s fair to say he’s come up short and disappointed more than once.

Michael Vick's Dogfighting Operation

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    One year after being drafted out of Virginia Tech No. 1 overall by the Falcons in the 2001 NFL draft, quarterback Michael Vick was already a bona fide superstar. Even though he didn’t see much playoff success during his six seasons in Atlanta, Vick’s dual-threat attack made him one of the most explosive and exciting players in the game.

    Maybe he was a little too explosive, because in July 2007 Vick’s world blew up. That’s when he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond on a number of charges related to a dogfighting operation that was called “Bad Newz Kennels,” run on a property he owned in southeastern Virginia. The details of animal abuse that surfaced during the investigation are too grisly to repeat here, but still linger in the minds of animal lovers who were aware of them years later.

    The following December Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in the operation. He received a longer sentence than his two co-defendants because he had repeatedly lied about his involvement, and the judge said he wasn’t convinced Vick had “fully accepted responsibility” for his actions, per ESPN. After missing two full seasons, Vick returned to the NFL in 2009, when the Eagles signed him.

    Perhaps because of the success he enjoyed for a while in Philadelphia, there were plenty of fans that seemed willing to forgive and forget the past. But years later there is still a huge portion of the population that will never see Vick as anything but a dog killer. It was disappointing to see a superstar’s career derailed in his prime, but even more disappointing that he did it to himself, while displaying a callous disregard for living creatures. 

2013 MLB Hall of Fame Class: Nobody

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    The continued fallout from baseball’s ugly steroid era was on full display in January 2013, when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected nobody into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was the eighth time since the voting process was put into place in 1936 in which no players were enshrined at Cooperstown.

    The closest anyone got was Craig Biggio, who has since been inducted, but steroid era standouts like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were resoundingly defeated, with voters sending a clear message about their future prospects.

    The debate will rage on for decades to come about those most closely associated with steroids, but it was still disappointing for MLB fans to see no one inducted in 2013, especially with candidates like Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling among those on the ballot.

Portland Drafts Greg Oden No. 1, and Everything After

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    For some reason quarterback Ryan Leaf is often mentioned as one of sports’ all-time draft busts, but just imagine how much additional ire and/or generalized mocking he’d have received over the years had Peyton Manning been selected after him. Such is the case with Greg Oden, who was selected No. 1 overall out of Ohio State by the Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA draft.

    After missing his entire first season in Portland due to injury, Oden dressed for just 105 total games in three seasons—he played just two in Portland, sat for three, and most recently played for the Heat during the 2013-14 season. Not only was Oden a massive disappointment on the court, he hasn’t been much better off—in August 2014 he was arrested and charged with a felony, in addition to various misdemeanor charges, stemming from an alleged assault on his girlfriend.

    But draft busts are not uncommon, even at the No. 1 position. What makes Oden stand out like a sore thumb is that superstar Kevin Durant was chosen No. 2 overall out of Texas by the SuperSonics. Though he has yet to win a championship, the six-time All-Star was finally named the NBA’s MVP in 2014, after coming in second place three times prior.

    Every success Durant will enjoy over the course of his career will, unfortunately for Oden, further highlight the Trail Blazers' epic misstep.

Matt Leinart and Vince Young

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    The 2006 Rose Bowl was one of the greatest college football games ever played—if not the single greatest. No. 1-ranked USC, led by Heisman-winning quarterback Matt Leinart, and No. 2 Texas, also led by their own show-stopping quarterback in Vince Young, faced off in what would become a battle for the ages.

    Seemingly unstoppable under Pete Carroll for a stretch there, the Trojans were favored over the Longhorns going into the game, which was a barnburner throughout. Down by four points with 19 seconds on the clock, it was do or die for Texas on 4th-and-5. Young didn’t just get the first down, he ran it the full eight yards to score the winning touchdown, his third of the game.

    There were high hopes for both quarterbacks going into the NFL. Young was drafted No. 3 overall by the Titans and Leinart No. 10 by the Cardinals. They were expectations, which unfortunately, neither quarterback came close to meeting. Leinart played just 33 games and has been out of the league since 2012. Young, whose career started off substantially more promising, played just 60 games and has been out of the league since 2011.

Andy Roddick's Non-Repeat Performance

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    In September 2003, 21-year-old American Andy Roddick looked poised to become our next tennis superstar after his surprise win as a fourth seed at the U.S. Open to collect the first Grand Slam title of his young career.

    With Pete Sampras effectively retired and a seriously declining Andre Agassi just three years away from officially calling it quits, Roddick was the future, and the future looked bright. Unfortunately though, it turned out we had witnessed the peak of Roddick’s career, rather than the start of great things to come.

    In September 2012, a 20th-seeded Roddick fittingly retired following a fourth-round loss at the U.S. Open, nine years after the biggest triumph of his career. He was just 30 years old when he walked away.

Lane Kiffin's Continued Employment

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    Lane Kiffin’s proven track record of failing upward is almost as impressive as it is anger-inducing. It's actually hard to fault him at this point—it's more disappointing that stupid teams will never learn. It all began back in January 2007, when late Raiders owner Al Davis, who was known for thinking outside the box in the worst possible ways in his later years, made 31-year-old Kiffin his head coach—the youngest in NFL history.

    After going an unimpressive, but pretty much par for the course, 4-12 in his first season, Davis tried to menace Kiffin into resigning, so he wouldn’t be on the hook for the $4 million remaining on his contract. It didn’t work, and Kiffin remained in the job through the first four games of the 2008 season, at which point he was fired. Davis then went on to publicly rail against Kiffin in a bizarre and unprecedented press conference that lasted nearly an hour.

    Despite having gone 5-15 in the NFL, in December 2008 the University of Tennessee hired Kiffin. The following season he coached the Vols to an unimpressive 7-6 record, including a humiliating 37-14 loss to Virginia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Instead of just being happy to have a job, in January 2010 Kiffin left Knoxville for those sunny SoCal skies to replace Pete Carroll at USC. 

    In Kiffin’s first two seasons, the Trojans did well with Carroll’s leftovers, but were not bowl-eligible due to sanctions. Going into his third season in 2012, USC was ranked the No. 1 team in the country, ahead of No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 LSU. It finished the year unranked at 7-6, capping the season with a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. It was the first time since 1964 the preseason No. 1 finished unranked.

    Kiffin managed to keep his job, but the “resignation” of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, his own father, was not a good sign. Kiffin only made it through five games of the 2013 season, the last straw being a 62-41 road loss to Pac-12 opponent Arizona State. Trojans athletic director Pat Haden was so fed up with Kiffin that he pulled him off the team bus upon their arrival back in Los Angeles and fired him, then left Kiffin behind at LAX to find his own ride home.

    After leaving three straight jobs as one of the most reviled figures in each team’s history, you’d think that Kiffin would have spent more than three months or so unemployed, but Alabama hired him as offensive coordinator in January 2014. A year later, some believe his play-calling in the 2015 Sugar Bowl cost Bama a shot at a national championship. Yet within days, his name was already being batted around as a potential head coaching candidate in the NFL.

'The Decision'

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    After playing his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers, who drafted him straight out of high school No. 1 overall in the 2003 NBA draft, LeBron James decided to test the free-agency waters in the biggest of ways in the 2010 offseason.

    With James having grown up just 45 minutes south of Cleveland in Akron, the possibility of him leaving via free agency wasn’t just business for many fans—it was personal. No matter how he would have announced his exit, it would’ve been painful, but James really managed to twist the knife.

    On July 8, ESPN aired “The Decision,” a 75-minute prime-time special for James to announce that he was taking his talents to South Beach, and teaming up with friend Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat in Miami. The special was particularly egregious, given that the news had been leaked that afternoon.

    No matter what he did before or what he’s done since, there are countless basketball fans out there who will hold this PR nightmare against LBJ until the day he dies. The highest concentration of these fans used to be in Cleveland, but since James returned to the Cavs in 2014, they’re pretty much over it.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

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    Dubbed by so many as the “Fight of the Century,” the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in May was many years in the making. In fact, it was too many years in the making. It was the fight everyone was desperate to see about five years ago—but we all tried to pretend it was still something special.

    From “Fight of the Century” to “Fraud of the Century,” the 12-round impressively redundant match was more an exercise in endurance for the increasingly frustrated audience than it was for Mayweather alternating between hugging the ropes and hugging Pacquiao to stop his momentum.

    Not that it mattered in the slightest—at least to the passed-their-expiration-date boxers who orchestrated one of the biggest money grabs in sports history. With 4.4 million suckers (like me, who knew better) forking over $100 to watch the pay-per-view fight, in addition to the gate proceeds and sponsorships, more than $600 million was made.

    Of that obscene number, which is still being finalized, Mayweather’s camp will take home 60 percent of approximately $400 million. Pacquiao’s camp gets 40 percent for just showing up, thankfully, because that’s really all he did—Mayweather won easily by unanimous decision. Meaning the only two people in the world that weren't disappointed by that painfully dull nightmare were the boxers themselves. 

Lance Armstrong's Horrifying Fall from Grace

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    Though he would not win his first of seven consecutive Tour de France events until 1999, Lance Armstrong became a source of inspiration three years earlier. Diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer in October 1996, Armstrong was given somewhere (depending what you read—it varies) between a 20 and 50 percent chance of survival.

    Thanks to top-notch medical care and his physical ability to withstand extremely aggressive treatment, Armstrong was declared cancer-free in February 1997, just five months after his initial diagnosis. During that time he founded what would become the Livestrong Foundation, which produced those yellow rubber bracelets that everyone seemed to have for years.

    Already a national hero, Armstrong’s star continued to rise each year he won the Tour de France from 1999-2005. Although doping allegations dogged him for years, he always vehemently denied them. But Armstrong’s facade began to crack in June 2012, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency publicly accused him of doping violations dating back to 1998.

    Not only was Armstrong cheating, he was also accused of fostering a culture of systematic doping, encouraging his teammates to engage and threatening anyone that threatened to expose him. Two months later he received a lifetime ban by USADA, who stripped him of all of his titles. Backed into a corner and having made fools of millions of people who had believed in and defended him over the years, Armstrong finally confessed to a watered-down version of his various misdeeds during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013. A week later USADA CEO Travis Tygart publicly accused the disgraced cyclist of lying during the interview.

    As if being one of the most hated athletes in the world (perhaps even in sports history) wasn’t enough, in January Armstrong told the BBC that, had he had the opportunity to do it all over again, he would probably still cheat. A month later he hit a bunch of parked cars in Aspen, Colorado, and tried to cover it up by having his girlfriend take the blame. Of course, at this point, disappointing doesn’t even begin to encapsulate the vile wretchedness that is Lance Armstrong.


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