10 Athletes We Will Remember by a Bad Incident

Rohan SubraSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2011

10 Athletes We Will Remember by a Bad Incident

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    Great athletes do things that aren't good for their reputations.

    On this list are a number of fantastic athletes who excelled at the sports that they played. Men who scored a huge amount of points, ran for a mind-blowing number of yards, struck out a crazy amount of batters or scored a ridiculous number of goals.

    However, their stature will be completely redefined by one thing that they did, and sometimes it can be a very stupid act. Sometimes it will be because they will stop at nothing for fame, success or money.

    We think of these amazing athletes for just one incident, whether it was one moment of craziness or years of making mistakes.

    Here are 10 players whose reputations have gone down, simply because of one thing they did.

Latrell Sprewell: 1997

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    Looking back on Latrell Sprewell's career, he is remembered mostly by one thing:

    In 1997, during a Golden State Warriors practice, coach PJ Carlesimo yelled at Sprewell to make better passes. Sprewell was annoyed, but when Carlesimo neared him, Sprewell threatened him and got him to the ground by his throat, holding Carleseimo for at least 10 seconds.

    This is not the only incident where Sprewell showed that he had a short temper; he had gotten into fights with teammates before.

    Not many people will remember him for being a good three-point shooter, as he is 47th on the all-time list of top long range shooters with 1,104 threes made in his career.

Roger Clemens: 2007

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    The doping itself did not happen in 2007, but that is the year when he was busted, as the Mitchell Report was released. It was essentially a list of players who had been found to be taking performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens, among 88 others, was on it.

    Clemens' trainer Brian McNamee told the Mitchell Report Commission that he had been injecting Clemens with steroids between 1998 and 2001.

    In his career, Roger "Rocket" Clemens played for the Red Sox, the Blue Jays, the Astros and the Yankees. 

    He is also part of the 300-win club, the 4,000-strikeout club, had two Triple Crowns and achieved great heights in his day, but will always be remembered as a cheater.

Mike Tyson: 1997

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    Mike Tyson is easily one of the best boxers of all time, along with Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and others. Many people think of him as a crazy person, since he owned a tiger and did other weird things.

    However, in one fight, Tyson did one of the strangest things.

    It was 1997, and Iron Mike was facing Evander Holyfield, a big rival of his, whom he had met a few times. In the middle of the fight, Tyson lost everything and bit Holyfield's ear, which temporarily stopped the fight and lost him two points.

    He got a warning from referee Mills Lane and the fight was resumed...until he did it again, this time removing a small part of his other ear. This earned him a disqualification, but Tyson tried to justify it by saying that he was retaliating because Holyfield had headbutted him several times.

    No, Tyson's reputation isn't completely gone, but this was one of the dark points in his career.

Zinedine Zidane: 2006

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    Before the 2006 World Cup, Zinedine Zidane was regarded as one of the greatest and nicest soccer players of all time. He had a fantastic career, internationally and domestically, with Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid, not to mention the French national team.

    In the 2006 World Cup final in Germany, Marco Materazzi said some bad things to Zidane in the 110th minute. Apparently, the Materazzi had insulted Zidane's sister (and possibly his mother), using obscenities of which no one is quite sure. "Zizou" lost it, and proceeded to headbutt Materazzi in the chest, as the Italian fell to the ground clutching his chest.

    This earned Zidane a red card, so France eventually lost the match.

    Throughout his career, Zidane had several great milestones, individually and for his teams, but fans who didn't really follow him before that remember him solely for the headbutt.

Eddie Cicotte: 1919

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    Eddie Cicotte was a pitcher who played between 1905 and 1920. He played for the Tigers, the Red Sox and the White Sox, but the incident involving him was when he was in Chicago.

    It was the 1919 World Series, where the White Sox were facing the Cincinnati Reds. Cicotte, along with many other White Sox players, threw games in order to receive money. Though he did decline offers for match-fixing in the beginning, he later gave in and tanked, so they lost the World Series.

    Cicotte, however, was the first man among the eight players involved to come out, as he signed a confession.

    The "Black Sox Scandal" is something that will define Cicotte's career, not the fact that he had a very good career era of 2.38, not that he once threw a no-hitter and not that his career record was 208-149.

    No. Eddie Cicotte will be remembered as the man who once threw the World Series.

Ron Artest: 2004

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    Ron Artest has played for the Bulls, the Pacers, the Kings, the Rockets and the Lakers, but his most famous game occurred when he played in Indiana.

    It was November 19, 2004, and the Pacers were away at the Palace of Auburn Hills to face the Pistons. In the fourth quarter, Artest committed a hard foul on Ben Wallace, which got several players angry.

    Then, Artest went to the scorer's table, where a fan threw a Diet Coke cup at him. Artest thought another fan had thrown the cup, and furiously ran and punched him in the face. There was so much mayhem that the final seconds of the game were canceled, so the Pacers were awarded a 97-82 win.

    Will Ron Artest be remembered only for the punches that he threw at an innocent fan? No. But will that be an incident forever associated with him? Definitely.

    He won several awards for his defense, and other skills, but for some people, the Malice at the Palace will be the main thing linked with Ron Artest.

Michael Vick: 2007

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    Michael Vick used to play for the Atlanta Falcons and was very highly thought of by several football fans. 

    However, in 2007, a search was conducted, and it was discovered that Vick had been using dogs to fight each other. Not only that, but he had also killed at least six dogs by either hanging them or drowning them. 

    Vick pleaded guilty and went to prison for 21 months. Since then, he has apologized a countless amount of times and begged fans, players and coaches for another chance.

    Now at Philadelphia, Vick has had a so-called fresh start. For many people he is again the fantastic quarterback, with a bullet of an arm, great vision and crazy speed. But for others, he is "Michael Vick: The Dogfighter."

Diego Maradona: 1986

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    Diego Maradona is considered the greatest soccer player of all time by many people. The Argentine is often compared with Pele, Michel Platini and other greats. 

    This might be the most famous incident in soccer history; the 1986 World Cup semifinal match of Argentina against England. Early in the second half, Maradona and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton were face to face, as the ball was between them in the air. Maradona, eight inches shorter than Shilton, jumped up, and instead of using his head, he punched the ball, which eventually ended up in the back of the net. Argentina would go on to win the match and the World Cup. 

    After the game, Maradona said "the hand of God" helped him score the goal, not conceding that he had touched the ball with his hand.

    Some people will remember Maradona as the man who committed the handball, though many others would remember him as the amazing player that he really was.

OJ Simpson: 1994

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    OJ Simpson was a great running back who played in the NFL between 1969 and 1979. He was popular, until this happened.

    In 1994, Simpson was accused of the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. It was believed that he would be prosecuted, but Simpson's lawyer Johnnie Cochran somehow managed to persuade the court that it wasn't OJ. There was much evidence against him, but lawyer and client cleverly managed to evade all charges.

    Many, many people believe that Simpson was, in fact, the murderer, and are outraged by the fact that he wasn't prosecuted.

    A six-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time All-Pro selection, Simpson's name won't be talked about when it comes to football.

    No doubt, he will be called a murderer.

Tiger Woods: 2009

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    Behind Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods is generally considered the greatest golfer who ever lived. Then, in 2009, something bad happened.

    It was rumored that Tiger had had an affair with a New York City nightclub manager, though she denied it. Later on, over a dozen women claimed that they had also had affairs with Woods, and some even showed messages that he had sent them. 

    This not only hurt Tiger Woods' career, but his reputation was in the gutter. He apologized several times, and said "I have let my family down." He even went on a press conference in order to apologize.

    Then, his deals with sponsors, such as Gatorade were terminated by the companies themselves, so he lost a lot of money. Since then, he hasn't won a single major, maybe because his mind has been off of golf. He did divorce his wife, Elin Nordegren.

    Maybe Tiger Woods will be remembered for being the outstanding golfer that he is, and maybe he will just be regarded as someone who cheated on his wife.


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    Are all of these players going to be remembered by the things that they did?

    Please leave your answers below.

    I know there are a million possible choices for this, so feel free to suggest a few.

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