LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan. The 10 Biggest Athelete Mistakes.

Mario GonzalezCorrespondent IIJanuary 20, 2011

Lebron James, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan. The 10 Biggest Athelete Mistakes.

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 22:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena on November 22, 2010 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or u
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Lebron James' decision to "take his talents to South Beach" rocked the NBA's world this past summer, but it still appears tame next to the sizable mistakes other professional athletes have made over time. They range from the strange, the shocking and the truly unforgivable.

    We the fans seem surprised when some of our favorite sports stars run into such problems, when really these athletes are merely human like you or myself. In truth everyone makes mistakes. These mistakes, however, have been made very public due to the occupation of these athletes, and for the record they are pretty big mistakes.

    Some have more to do with the sport of the athlete, while others have more to due with the athlete's personal life, but they are all career altering mistakes none the less. In no particular order I give you some of the worst mistakes ever made by a professional athlete.

    (I apologize if I left out your favorite mistake. Please leave me a comment if you feel strongly and I'll see about adding it to the list!)

Shaquille "Ring Chaser" O'Neal

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    BOSTON - NOVEMBER 24:  Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics dunks the ball in the first quarter against the New Jersey Nets on November 24, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Elsa/Getty Images

    This picture says it all and makes me want to puke at the same time.

    Shaquille O'Neal should be proud of many things in his career, but becoming a ring chasing journeyman is not one of them. O'Neal thrilled fans in Orlando, but made his real career footprints in Los Angeles with the Lakers. He won three titles with the Lakers garnering all three finals MVP awards and also claimed his first and only regular season Most Valuable Player award in 2001.

    Then the big shake up in Laker land happened, and he was dealt to the East Coast. Since no one really knows what happened for sure, I don't blame him for this. He fit in with Dwyane Wade, and in practically no time at all he had himself another championship. Again, good for you Big Fella.

    Then it all started tumbling downhill and fast.

    Shaq would then be dealt to Phoenix to be the center they always needed. That blew up in his face. He would then move on to Cleveland where he promised to "win a ring for the King", and well, we all know where that went. I was losing respect for him at this point, but all hope was not lost until he did the unthinkable.

    Shaq went and joined the Boston Celtics. He joined a team that he had a bitter ever-lasting rivalry with and welcomed it with open arms. I'm sorry but only a ring chaser joins a sworn rival when he's hardly even useful anymore.

    Shaq can still be seen having a good game once in a blue moon, but an out of shape ring-chasing traitor is all I see today. I have no idea where if anywhere a team will retire his jersey, and frankly I don't care anymore.

Lebron James's "Decision"

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    ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 24:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat waits during a foul shot in a game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on November 24, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    I bet Chicago is looking pretty good right now in Lebron's hindsight, or New York or even Cleveland.

    It's far too early to declare the move to Miami as a total blunder, but it can't be going the way Lebron envisioned it. Free Agency is part of the game, and I understand if people choose to move teams if the move makes sense. 

    That being said, the way Lebron did it was wrong. Very wrong.

    Forget the fact that his legacy is forever tainted for joining forces with those he should look to defeat. What he did on television last July has far greater implications on how the entire world will perceive him from now on.

    Lebron could have chosen to be classy about his "decision." He could have manned up and told Cleveland, told his teammates, told his fans. Instead he chose to make a spectacle of himself by stabbing the Cavaliers in the back on national television. On top of that he used the charity donation to absolve his appalling act in the eyes of the casual viewer.

    Nice trick Lebron, but you didn't fool most of us.

    Lebron will move on from all of this, and some day in the uncertain future the boo's will get softer, but this will always be the biggest mistake in Lebron's career.

    His "decision" turned him from NBA golden boy to traitorous scum in a New York minute. Where he goes from here remains to be seen.

    Still this remains one of the most tame mistakes on the list.


Andre Agassi Admits to Using Crystal Meth Unprovoked

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 24:  Andre Agassi stands during a check presentation before playing against John McEnroe in the Stars Under the Stars gala on July 24, 2010 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Im
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    Andre Agassi is one of the tennis world's finest heroes, but some people may view him differently after hearing a startling confession in his memoirs just a few years ago.

    He earned the fourth most money in the history of tennis during his pro career and won at least one of every Grand Slam event. He also admitted out of the blue that he was a habitual user of crystal methamphetamine.

    He had a near perfect reputation for tennis greatness, and then he goes and admits something  so shocking. No one even asked him about it. No one had come forward with any allegations.

    Was he just tired of living with the guilt all these years?

    Was he trying to remain relevant by dropping a media bomb?

    Either way I don't think this action by him can be viewed as anything but a big mistake. I myself am surprised that none of his titles or tennis honors have been stripped.

Michael Jordan Plays......Baseball?

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 26:  Charlotte Bobcats principal owner Michael Jordan reacts as time winds down against the Orlando Magic in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 26, 2010
    Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

    He is the best basketball player of all time, no question.

    So why after winning three straight NBA titles, would you decide to quit to play baseball?

    Was it a God complex?

    Did he feel like he could be the greatest ever of another sport?

    Or was he just bored?

    After playing horribly for minor league baseball team the Chicago White Sox, Jordan made an amazing comeback to basketball, winning three more straight championships.

    Some people call it one of the best comebacks in sports history.

    I call it a blown chance at winning a dominating eight championships/finals MVP awards in a row, which we all know he would have done. A feat like that would have lifted him to Hercules status when remembered. Unfortunately there will always be those two years that never were.

Plaxico Burress Shoots Himself In The Thigh..... Literally.

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    GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 23:  Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants warms up for the game with the Arizona Cardinals on November 23, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants won 37-29.  (Photo by Stephen Dun
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Plaxico Burress had made mistakes before but being a 1,000-yard, Super Bowl-winning receiver can heal a lot of wounds.

    His self-inflicted gun shot wound however, had to be taken to the nearest hospital.

    While attending a New York night club one night, Plaxico's Glock hand gun slipped down the inside of his pants. While he tried to retrieve it he depressed the trigger accidentally, shooting himself in the thigh. Since he had no permit for his concealed hand gun, the charges against him were felonies.

    He was arrested by police after the incident made television and later had to place bail of $100,000. He later agreed to a plea deal which would send him to jail for two years and an additional two years of close supervision.

    Two years behind bars during your most profitable working years is one very large mistake.

    Who knows if on top of all of this, if any team will sign him when he gets out of jail.

Ron Artest's Malice at The Palace

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13:  (AFP OUT) Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest (R) helps children volunteers fill care packages during a NBA Cares service event at the Boys and Girls Club at THEARC   December 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. Bryant and all the
    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Is this really the same guy we saw go toe-to-toe with fans in Indiana all those years ago?

    Ron Artest is doing a lot of things differently now than he did when he came into the league. He does work for charity instead of drinking at half-time, he does barbeques with fans instead of punching them, and he plays less minutes now for a power-house team. While these life and career changes are quite impressive and commendable, I don't think there is an NBA fan amongst us that can forget what happened in the stands.

    The game was already over, and for most intensive purposes, nothing should have happened. Tempers flared out of frustration anyway however, and what ensued was one of the most eye-popping incidents ever seen on the NBA hardwood...or any other playing surface for that matter.

    You do have to credit Ron for laying down on the table and trying to avoid any more confrontation, you really do. A fan in the stands just could not leave well enough alone however and decided to throw a cup of liquid at Ron as he lay down.

    Next thing you know, Ron is up in the stands. He tracked down the man who assaulted him, and began to wildly throw punches in a fit of rage. Other fans soon joined in on the quickly escalating situation, and it turned into a full blown spectacle.

    Other things did happen during this fight, including the sliding punch by Jermaine O'Neal, but did anyone really suffer from this mistake worse than Artest? Ron was suspended for the entirety of the season, and quickly found himself on David Stern's black list.

    Since then, Ron has seemingly had the last laugh. He won a ring with the Lakers, even when everyone thought his move to LA was a mistake. He must have loved every second of Stern handing over that ring.

Tiger Woods

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    THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 5: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 5, 2010 in Thousand Oaks, California.  (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    We all thought he was a classy guy.

    We all thought he didn't have anything to hide.

    We all thought we loved his wife.

    Man, we thought wrong.

    It's been almost a decade since I've seen a sports fiasco rock the world like the Tiger Woods Scandal did. While it's trivial celebrity news at best, I bet everyone you know could tell you exactly where they were, and what they were doing when the news broke out. I used to wonder why this particular incident blew up as it did, but then all of the sudden it became so clear.

    We just didn't expect it from him.

    He doesn't look like a hoodlum, he had a perfect track record, and he plays the most classy sport on the planet for Pete's sake! So as soon as we hear that he's been sexting a beautiful woman that's not his wife, we want to know every detail. Unfortunately for Tiger, this was only the beginning. Women began coming out of the woodwork like roaches, all with very similar cases.

    Then there was the vulgarity of it all. Not only did he have countless extra-marital affairs, but we all found out via his text messages, that he's into some pretty nasty bedroom activities. I'm not saying people don't have their secret interests, but Tiger, you have told us far too much now to ever go back to your old image.

    Sponsors dropped him as a result of the fiasco, his play has suffered greatly ever since, and people will never be able to forget the unspeakable acts that Tiger seems to enjoy so much.

Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe was a three-peat champion of basketball, a universal fan favorite and the golden boy of the NBA.

    And then there was that one night in Eagle, Col. that changed everything.

    Allegations of sexual assault flew at Kobe Bryant first on Jul. 2, 2003. He responded by denying that he sexually assaulted Katelyn Faber, but the two of them had in fact engaged in adulterous sex. After Kobe was formally charged, he faced from probation to life in prison.

    His sponsors dropped him, his fans loathed him, and women worldwide wanted him dead. Seriously, even women who were not sports fans in the least bit. The trial raged on for a good share of the 2004 NBA season, but it didn't seem to affect Kobe much. I remember vividly when he was at court one morning in Colorado and flew home to LA that afternoon to drop 40 points on some poor team.

    The case was thrown out when Katelyn refused to testify in court. Haters will always say it's because Kobe paid her off, fans will always say because she was a tramp with no case. The truth of the matter is only two people really know what happened in Eagle, Col. that night, and the rest is just speculation.

    Since the terrible incident, Kobe has salvaged his career in amazing fashion. He signed even bigger endorsements, even bigger contracts and is now once again one of the NBA's most beloved players after winning back-to-back championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ben Roethlisberger

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to playing the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Wow. I never thought any athlete could come along and actually one-up Kobe Bryant in terms of sexual assault allegations.

    I can't even count all the women that came forward claiming they had been sexually assaulted by Roethlisberger, but seriously, they could form their own club. All the reports were however similar in nature.

    The girls reported that they met Ben at a night club or a bar, he would invite them back to a private room, and he would proceed to have his way with them. All the while two off duty cops watched the door for him so that everything went smoothly. Nothing says despicable like these reports do, and frankly I can't believe people seem to have forgotten so quickly.

    Don't get me wrong, he's a great QB, but man he seems like the scum of the earth. Just think, these are only the things that came to the surface! Imagine what lies in the deep end.

Michael Vick

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles drops back against the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Tr
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    I really could not care less that Michael Vick can run like a video game character, he has still committed the largest mistake in sports history.

    For anyone living under a rock the past four years, Michael Vick was arrested for extreme animal cruelty, amongst other charges. Apparently Vick and his buddies liked the dog fighting world quite a bit, and the results are so disgusting I can hardly type them.

    It was reported that Michael Vick and his friends would test their pit bulls to see how vicious they were. If they failed the test, they were killed. Reports claimed that the dogs were killed by being hung, electrocuted and smashed into the floor amongst many others. It's also not like this only happened once, but rather no one even knows how long this could have been going on.

    Several un-named sources claimed that Vick was "one of the heavy weights" in dog fighting and always came with loads of cash. When authorities arrived on scene at Vick's house, 66 dogs were found in a blood stained pit, amongst other dog fighting tools.

    It's amazing to me how people have for the most part forgiven him. I understand that he's a great athlete, but seriously, this is the kind of stuff horror movies are made of.

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