All kids dream of becoming the next sports superstar. In this fantasy they are nationally beloved, maybe one day even having a trophy named after them. Of course not all fantasies come true. Many top athletes end up hated throughout the sports world even if they are among the greats. How they do it varies, but they always take one of the few necessary steps.
Loyalty is a word many people throw around as a desirable trait. In sports loyalty may have diminished thanks to free agency and trades. However there are times when players completely turn their backs on the city and fans by means that come off a little too harsh. The perfect example of this is LeBron James. When he left the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with his talents, and headed to the Miami Heat his hometown couldn’t have felt more betrayed. Certainly James is a talented player and a decent person, but his “the decision” has branded him a disloyal backstabber.
A big part of being a respected athlete is showing how mature you are. Athletes are not true role models and should never have to take on that role. That said, this does not give them the right to become whiners who spend more time arguing with the referees than they do trying to win. One of the worst whiners currently in sports is Sidney Crosby. Outside of Pittsburgh Penguins fans just about everyone seems to hate Crosby. Not all of this has to do with him being a good player. Fans are annoyed by his constant complaining. Many times his attention is more focused on drawing a penalty than it is scoring a goal.
Look no further than steroids in baseball for the prime example of how cheating can destroy an athlete’s reputation. Once beloved players from the 1990s like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and everyone else associated with rear-end injections of human growth hormones are now shunned by many. Barry Bonds may have the home run record, but with it are multiple asterisks the size of his juiced up head. Alex Rodriguez is the most well-known current player suffering the fate of his baseball forefathers as he is currently serving a suspension for the entire 2014 season. Although labeled a cheater, Rodriguez does have a few other indiscretions that made him hated around the sports world. The banned substance usage just gave Bud Selig an open invitation to take him out of the game.
You may never see a yellow Livestrong bracelet on someone’s wrist ever again because of what Lance Armstrong did, commit an ultimate sin: tell a lie. From our earliest days we are told how bad lying is. After all he went through and all of the good he did for cancer research it turns out Armstrong’s entire career was built on lying. He cheated and proved that he had no loyalty to his fans. Thankfully we didn’t see much public whining, although we can guess there was probably plenty of it behind the scenes. Armstrong is the ultimate cautionary tale of what to not become. He was the face of cycling and now he’s just any other guy who lost it all.