12 Sports Stars and Teams with the Worst Luck

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2015

12 Sports Stars and Teams with the Worst Luck

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Whether you want to admit it or not, sports is full of luck—both good and bad—that can absolutely play a key role in determining the outcome of a game.

    From that unlucky hop on the Bill Buckner grounder in the 1986 World Series, to the lucky bounce the Pittsburgh Steelers got to complete the Immaculate Reception, there are things that, sometimes, just happen for better or worse.

    Rather than try to find an explanation for it all, though, it might be best to just go ahead and accept bad luck for what it is—especially if you're a fan of these athletes and teams, because they're the most unlucky in sports right now.

Alex Ovechkin

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    A former No. 1 overall pick, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin continues to be the Carmelo Anthony of the NHL, putting up incredible stats for himself but never leading his team to a title.

    Like others on this list, Ovie can't be blamed for the bad luck that's happened with his Caps, though.

    Continuously leading Washington to the postseason—which he has done in all but one of the past eight years—even when No. 8 is at his best, the rest of his team seems to choke, with one of the league's best still even waiting for his chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final.

    Go ahead and call Ovechkin overrated or a choke artist, but he's too good to attribute his failed title search to that. There has to be bad luck involved.

Texas Longhorns Football

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    Ever since the team's national championship season in 2005, it seems that the Texas Longhorns football team has struggled to get much of anything going.

    For years, those who donned burnt orange and held up Hook 'Em signs were always at least competing for national championships but, seemingly, always falling short under former head coach Mack Brown.

    Nowadays, though, nothing seems to be going right for the football team.

    Whether it was letting go of Brown, the embarrassing departure of their athletic director, Steve Patterson, or the culmination of it all by losing on a botched PAT in a game against Cal this season, the Longhorns have bad mojo going right now that people in Austin hope turns around soon.

San Jose Sharks

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Founded in 1991, the San Jose Sharks are about to enter their 25th season in the NHL. Guess how many Stanley Cup titles they've won in that time? Zero.

    While not hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup in nearly a quarter-century sucks, that's not the unlucky part. That comes with the amount of opportunities the Sharks have had in their 24 completed seasons, as they've made the postseason 17 times, yet, have never even reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Already proven to be one of the NHL's most consistent franchises, Sharks fans and players hope that, at some point, all the bad luck losses in the playoffs end and they're able to win a championship—which was "supposed" to happen last year.

Felix Hernandez

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    In his 11 MLB seasons—all with the Seattle Mariners—Felix Hernandez has been one of baseball's most-dominant pitchers, winning 143 career games to this point, and he's only 29 years old, leading the league in ERA twice and earning himself a Cy Young Award.

    That's great and all, but King Felix is still looking for his first taste of the postseason, as his M's haven't helped him experience October baseball yet.

    With his Mariners a favorite with some to make a deep run in 2015—predicted by Sports Illustrated to reach the ALCS—Hernandez has done his part in getting there, leading the league in wins and posting another remarkable season, but his team has struggled again, making him a king without much of a court.

Notre Dame Irish Football

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    Andrew Shurtleff/Associated Press

    Quick, name me a Notre Dame football player who has gone from standout in college to superstar in the NFL in the past decade-plus. It's tough, isn't it?

    I'm not saying that's the only reason the Irish find themselves on this list, but it's certainly a major one, as the school continues to try to return themselves to being a powerhouse in college football.

    One of the winningest programs ever, the Irish's luck in 2015 has been, well, anything but four-leaf clover worthy, as they've lost their starting running back, starting quarterback and are doing all they can to stay in the College Football Playoff race.

    Who knows what will happen with the Golden Domers, but the pressure is on—they haven't won a national title since 1988. 

Cleveland Cavs

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and others to help end the city's 51-year drought without a professional sports team winning a title, but that doesn't mean they're going to do it.

    Welcome to the life of a Cleveland sports fan, guys.

    One only needs to look back at the 2014-15 season for the Cavs, who, after enduring the pains of having three megastars play together, finally seemed to reached their peak entering the playoffs.

    Unfortunately, one injury turned into another, as Love separated his shoulder in the first round against the Boston Celtics and Irving broke his kneecap in Game 1 in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, with both missing the rest of the season.

    Who knows if the outcome against the Dubs would have been different if one or both were playing? One thing I do know, though, there's some funky stuff that seems to only happen to the Cavs in the worst of times.

Scott Kazmir

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    For several reasons, it was easy to put left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir on this list, as he's had to overcome plenty of misfortunes throughout his MLB career.

    A former first-round pick who was a prized prospect, Kazmir first ran into ill-timed injuries, leaving him on the shelf and even being mentioned as a bust.

    Then, when he did get healthy, he was the lone All-Star on terrible Tampa Bay Rays' teams, often finishing with a strong ERA, but never having won more than 13 games in a season while in Tampa.

    Now 31 years old and in his 11th season in the bigs, Kazmir is, once again, experiencing terrible luck, as he's pitching better than he ever has—posting a 2.73 ERA—while compiling just a 7-10 record between his time with the Oakland A's and Houston Astros.

    Kazmir has all the goods when on the mound, but he hasn't had the support to earn the title of an ace.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

    Where do I even begin with the Portland Trail Blazers' bad luck?

    Initially traced back to the bad knees of star big man Bill Walton, who was hobbled after guiding the team to their only NBA title, the unfortunate luck has continued to today.

    Of course, the team passing over Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie in the 1984 draft has stuck with them, but players like Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and others have continuously suited up for Rip City, only to leave injured or in decline.

    Add in the fact they're sort of that middle-of-the-road team that can routinely compete—just not for titles—and seem to develop great players who only leave in free agency (LaMarcus Aldridge), and it's easy to see why the Blazers are one of the unluckiest teams on the planet.

Tony Romo

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    For plenty of reasons, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo continues to be one of the most-unlucky athletes in sports—and a lot of it isn't his fault.

    Whether it's people thinking he's a choke artist—when, in reality, stats kill that argument—he plays well but his team loses for reasons out of his control, or he gets injured, Romo is always criticized.

    His latest bad luck injury was nothing more than a fluke, which seems to be the narrative for a lot of his past injuries, too, meaning Romo might just have luck that no one would ask for.

Netherlands Men's Soccer

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    Fabrizio Bensch/Associated Press

    One of the most prestigious soccer nations on the planet, the Netherlands men's soccer team embodies what it means to always be a bridesmaid and never be a bride.

    That's because, even with world-class talent that few teams can match, the Netherlands have yet to win a World Cup, having to settle for runner-up finishes in 1974, 1978 and 2010.

    Even after they weren't projected to make a deep run in the 2014 World Cup, the team was still able to reach the semifinals of the tourney, where, naturally, they lost in heartbreaking fashion to Argentina in a penalty shootout.

    Netherlands may be a soccer power, but until they win it all, they'll be considered unlucky.

Chicago Cubs

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    Whether it's a billy goat, Steve Bartman or something else, the Chicago Cubs just can't seem to get off the schneid in their quest for championship glory.

    Unlike other teams on the list, it's not as if the Cubbies have had tons of opportunities to do so, either, as they're bound for the 2015 playoffs for the first time since 2008. 

    Still, not reaching the World Series since 1945—when the Curse of the Billy Goat began—and not winning it all since 1908, the Cubs and their fans believe something has been preventing them from getting a ring.

    And things have just gotten downright silly in trying to reverse their billy-goat curse, with pro-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi chowing 40 pounds of goat meat in 12 minutes with three others to help that happen.

Derrick Rose

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Of course Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was going to be high on this list, he's the epitome of a snakebitten athlete.

    A former league MVP, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft has suffered and then battled knee injuries ever since, forcing him to miss pivotal moments that would otherwise be reserved for a superstar-caliber player like himself.

    Constantly under pressure and facing criticism because of his fortune and fame, D-Rose is a game-changer capable of carrying his team to a title when healthy, but his luck hasn't allowed him to be that player we all know he can be.