The ego-driven athlete: A top five list


Narcissism is defined as having an excessive love or admiration for oneself.  The word comes from the mythological Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and then drowned after staring at it so much.  Good lesson to be learned, huh?

The modern, professional athlete is a special breed.  They have to be in order to excel amidst the stiffest of competition.  Along with the fame and fortune that comes with being a superstar athlete is the inevitable paparazzi of the media.  It’s the price they pay.  Microphones are stuck in their faces daily and they’re forced to answer a series of inane questions from media members who think they know more about the sport than they actually do.  High profile athletes are often unable to go out in public without fans gawking at them, asking them for autographs and invading their privacy.  But there is a fine line between humility and boastfulness, between knowing that you’re good and insisting that everyone else knows you are.

Many athletes handle fame and riches modestly and with class.  Tim Duncan comes to mind.  Brandon Roy scored 50 points in a game last season then credited his teammates for his performance!  But several athletes take it to another level.  It is all about them.  They can’t get enough face time.  They crave the attention.  They become standoffish, arrogant and do more to turn people away rather than gain new fans.  Often that comes at the expense of the team.  Rather than be grateful and respectful of their fan base, their teammates and the sport itself, their attitude is emblematic of what’s wrong with professional sports.

So get your popcorn ready.  Here’s a countdown of the five most arrogant, narcissistic athletes playing professional sports today:

alex-rodriguez-mirror-details5) ALEX RODRIGUEZ – A-Rod redefined baseball salaries when he signed with the Yankees for $275 million.  A-Rod makes so much money, he could singlehandedly jump start our nation’s economy with one week of spending frivolously.  Long considered one of the top talents in the game, Rodriguez continues to put up stout numbers, except in October.  A-Rod has won two MVPs while in pinstripes but has yet to bring a title to the Big Apple.  His recent relationship with Madonna was nearly inexplicable.  He’s 33, she’s 50.  What?  Betty White wasn’t available?  Not that I have a problem with older women, particularly if they’re multi-millionaires but he probably could have done better.  Madonna’s served as muse to (many) other famous athletes like Dennis Rodman, Brian Shaw and Jose Canseco, so we’ll see if that will get him out of his post-season funk.  Unfortunately we never got the chance to see Madonna, Brian Cashman and Hank Steinbrenner voguing together in the new Yankee Stadium sky boxes.  A-Rod’s Details photo shoot showed images of him kissing his reflection in a mirror.  ‘Nuff said.

stephon-marbury4) STEPHON MARBURY– While Stephon’s clothing line that provides affordable apparel in an overpriced market is a worthy cause, this is still a man who sat on the sidelines for the New York Knickerbockers and refused to play while collecting millions of dollars from the franchise.  Where can I find a job that pays me to do nothing?  Memo to self: check for high-paying inactivity.  Even Marbury’s teammates have called him out, labeling him as the proverbial, locker room cancer.  Prior to destroying the Knicks clubhouse, he did the same in Minnesota and Phoenix.  Last year, he was seen at a Lakers-Knicks game AFTER BUYING A TICKET.  Think about that.  He was ON THE KNICKS ROSTER.  His Celtics experiment didn’t work either.  Name one other industry where a person can refuse to work and still get paid.  He’s even been webcasting himself.  Stephon still considers himself to be the greatest talent to emerge from Coney Island.  It’s unfortunate he’s the only one that feels that way.

brett-favre3) BRETT FAVRE – On again, off again.  Foxsports recently reported Favre may return… again.  Lovely.  Football fans will now be subjected to another several weeks of ‘will he, won’t he’ when it comes to Favre returning for another year.  Many Green Bay faithful have to secretly be thankful they don’t have to be glued to his every press conference waiting on his ‘final’ decision.  Favre’s had more farewell tours than The Who.  It’s bad enough we’re submitted to his incessant Wrangler commercials.  Does anyone really care whether he returns?  Michael Jordan didn’t retire this much.  Can’t we just look forward to the football season?  Brett, spare us all of the melodrama of your indecision.  Make your call to stay in the game or retire and be done with it.

chad-ochocinco-hof-jacket2) CHAD “OCHO CINCO” JOHNSON – Wide receivers (see Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter and Michael Irvin) have traditionally been the most boastful athletes and Chad Johnson is no exception.  This is a man who legally changed his name to a number so that he could put it on the back of his uniform.  He has singlehandedly led an up-and-coming, talented Bengals team back to the bottom of the National Football League standings.  Known for his antics and touchdown celebrations, while on the sidelines of one game, he once wore a large yellow jacket with ‘Hall Of Fame’ written on the back.  Awfully pretentious considering his career has taken a considerable downturn.  His touchdown celebrations are less and less frequent these days as is the likelihood he’ll be wearing one of those yellow jackets for real.

terrell-owens1) TERRELL OWENS – Without question, T.O. gets the nod for being the most self-centered and self-serving athlete in any sport today.  Only Owens could coin and copyright the expression “I love me some me.”  The media circus he himself creates feeds this man’s ego even further.  He is the very essence of narcissism.  In fact, when Narcissus looked into that pool of water, he may very well have seen Owens’ reflection!  T.O. once felt Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten were conspiring to not throw him the ball.  It reeked of a boy upset his siblings wouldn’t let him play with their toys.  He later backtracked, claiming he never made those comments.  Years ago, he allegedly overdosed on sleeping pills then claimed that never happened either.  Owens has his own publicist.  He holds press conferences shirtless in his front driveway while doing sit-ups.  There’s not a man around that wouldn’t trade their body type for Owens’ but probably not at the expense of being friendless.  Now he’s got his own reality television show.  Like we couldn’t see that one coming.  Unfortunately for him, he’s probably the only one watching.

It is worth noting that, aside from Brett Favre, none of these athletes have won a championship.  In team sports, the rise of the ‘individual’ often comes at the expense of the common goal and to date that has happened in the case of all these players.  Often, they’re simply un-coachable.  While they’re all among the most talented in their respective fields, they may continue to get their face time but one thing they won’t be getting is hardware at the end of the season.

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26 Replies to “The ego-driven athlete: A top five list”

  1. I can’t believe you don’t have Shaq at the top of the list! If there was ever a guy more full and in love with himself, it’s the guy that can’t hit the side of a barn from five feet away. Just when I was hoping the Cavaliers might win a championship, they sign the most overpaid player in all of professional sports!

  2. Great read! And as usual… your topic is a most original,interesting & creative post.
    Nice work.

  3. Dan-O…. when I first posted this blog on Fox, Shaq’s name was brought up quite a bit. Stay tuned for I have another good Shaq post coming up soon.

    The only reason that I didn’t include Shaq is that he at least puts up. He’s got a mouth and an ego but he’s backed up his talk. He’s also got a decent sense of humor.

    Does he like to see himself out there? Yes. But story goes that when he landed in Miami, he told Dwyane Wade he was there for one thing. Not to party, not to hang on South Beach, but to win a championship.

    In Cleveland, he’ll be okay with playing second fiddle. None of the guys on this list would ever do that.

  4. No Lebron? Mr. No handshake himself or I like to confiscate other people’s property because I feel embarrassed guy?

    I do agree with m though…nice writing.

  5. Heavy D in the HOUSE! How’s Crystal River treatin’ ya’, man.

    I was chilling with Puckett not long ago at the Hard Rock. Let me know if you’re ever down Tampa way.

    If I had to choose between Kobe and LBJ, I’d probably put Kobe on the list before LeBron. Don’t hate on the new school, old fella.

    Besides, any player that averages 7 assists a game for his career as one of the game’s best scorers can’t make the list.

  6. Great piece, Chris.

    I think that all the great ones have to be egocentric. Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Dan Marino, etc. Oops, I don’t think any of those three ever played on a championship winning team either.

    Pitcher vs batter usually comes down to which is the most confident in his abilities—-not his team’s. Receiver vs cornerback is the same way.

  7. Chris

    As you said many of these athletes are a special breed. And as you’ve alluded to they’re narcissistic and overbearing. That being said when they can’t back up their words it’s really fun to see them bite the dust ! Especially when it comes to the likes of Shaq and A-Rod. That being said I don’t begrudge them the talent that they’ve got. However I do wish that they actually got semblance of an education to begin with. As undoubtedly intelligent as Shaq is said to be. He does say some of the dumbest things that actually make no sense whatsoever.
    And this is what the kids want to be like ?

    I know he’s not an athlete but the one guy that I’d have definitely placed on your list would’ve been the unber-agent Scott Boras.

    Alan Parkins

  8. Chris

    One more thing I should’ve added to my previous comment. It is that in many cases the athletes are enabled by their agents , in order to play a role . Be it either as a villain or hero At the end of the day a lot of it has to do also with not only productivity on the field. But the gimmicks created that’ll get them noticed both on and off it as well.

    However , it’s extremely hard to recognize when infact they’re being genuine or just showing a real lack of intelligence.

    I dropped a boxing piece on the Jones Jr Jeff Lacy bout that took place in Biloxi, Mississippi , over the weekend.

    And then there’s a piece on Bolt’s decimation of that 100m field at the World Track & Field Championships in Berlin.

    I Ain’t No One’s Bit_h But My Own

    Below is the boxing piece.

    Bring Out Your Aged And Weary Is That What This Sport How Now Become ?

    Hey Chris how is it that there’s more action happening off the field than there’s meant to be on it concerning the Raiders ? Was it really a love tap that Cable gave to his assistant ? Looks as if they’re off to another season of discontent and quite possibly sheer mediocrity ! Oh I love to see Raider Nation wallow in their own self absorbed notion of greatness and their aloofness ! Couldn’t be happening to a nicer organization.

    Alan Parkins

  9. Han… interesting points, Han. Don’t know enough about Cobb but what I do know warrants putting him on the list. He was certainly an ass. Williams was also egotistical but he was also the best hitter of his generation.

    Dan Marino…. hmmmmm. I’d agree, but in light of today’s developments with Brett Favre, I’d still rank Favre ahead of him.

    Sidebar question, which is a better comedy? Ace Ventura with Dan Marino or There’s Something About Mary with Brett Favre?

  10. Al… Boras’ work never seems to amaze me. He’s like a kid in a candy store. I’d still rank Drew Rosenhaus slightly higher on the ego scale.


  11. Interesting. I’ll agree that agents lead athletes in certain directions about creating an image.

    But do you really think Ochocinco’s agent is behind his antics? I think that’s all Chad, man.

    Be right over to check out the boxing piece.

  12. Chris

    You’ve got to be kidding me right ? Look , anything that Drew Rosenhaus latches unto . Nothing good ever comes of it ! TO, Ocho Cinco . Need I say any more ?

    You don’t think that Rosenhaus plays a part in some of their antics ?

    I tell you this I think that the Nationals are being taken for a ride by Boras. HTF do you pay $15m to a kid merely based on his alleged potential ? I don’t care if ha can throw close to 100mph ! Until he can perform at a consistent basis from AAA on up. This kid is only getting by on reputation only.

    And as for the Nationals the signing bonus doled out to Strasberg’ll no doubt represent close to 50 % of what they’ll receive as their part of MLB’s tax sharing revenues doled out to the small and mid market teams around the game of baseball.

    And Nats’ owner Stan Kasten is one the wealthiest men in the country. How screwed up are the finances of baseball at present ?

    Alan Parkins

  13. Alright, I’ll buy into that.

    I love how prognosticators already have the Nats eventually trading Strasburg to the Yankees or Red Sox.

    You’re not ragging on the Del Homie, are you?

  14. Chris

    Oh whoa is me ! As myself and countless millions of others’ll now have to put up with Fox and ESPN’s round the clock coverage of Favre’s imminent return to the NFL. Couldn’t a neurosurgeon have performed a frontal lobotomy on Brett ? Or would that’ve been far too much to ask ?

    What’s even more ridiculous in all of this . Is that you had Vikings’ players actually wanting the guy. How much faith and loyalty were they actually showing in Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels to begin with ? What a bunch of wankers !

    Alan Parkins

  15. Chris

    In the NFC South this upcoming season. It it may well be the Bucs who’ll end up with the slop bucket at the foot of the division. And it’ll be left to the Falcons, Panthers and Saints to do battle for divisional supremacy. As to which one of ’em prevail , who can say ?

    Alan Parkins

  16. “Mary” VS “Ace Ventura”

    Something about Mary has certainly held up better over the years. Several parts still funny….Ace, not so much.

    But, just like on the field, Marino’s work in Ace was much better than FaRve’s in Mary.

  17. I’ll agree with that.

    LACES OUT!!!

    I’ll also admit watching “Ace” once again a few days ago and tv and laughing out loud quite a few times.

    Although there’s not too many images more disturbing than either Cameron Diaz’ hairdo or Ben Stiller getting ‘caught’ in his zipper.

    Sorry, Han, didn’t mean to make you flinch.

  18. Chris

    Ain’t nothing wrong in watching ‘Ace Ventura’ . At least you got to see Courtney Cox , before she got to become Courtney Cox-Arquette.

    I’ve got over thirty katanas (swords) ceremonial as well as fighting weapons in my home. I’m inclined to now sharpen one up and actually commit the ancient Japanese art of seppuku (ritual disembowelment). As I don’t think that I can take much more of the Brett Favre story.

    I don’t know what it is that Childress and the owner Zygi Wylf feel that they can obtain from this. I know it’s all about winning. But at this moment in time are they really that good with the addition of Favre ? What happens , should midway through the regular season his rotator cuff start to act up ?

    Who’ll they be blaming then ?
    Ain’t that a bitch !

    Alan Parkins

  19. I guess there’s a fine line here.

    I’m not sure why a franchise like the Jets mortgaged their future for the Favre experiment unless they actually made money off the deal, or were ultimately using it as an excuse to get rid of Mangini.

    It ended up well for them as they ended up with their QB of the future in Sanchez.

    With the Vikes, I guess they weren’t sold on either Jackson or Rosenfels and figured they didn’t have much to lose. How much money are they making off signing Favre… minus the 25 mil they’ll have to pay him? Maybe this will give them time to develop Booty if he’s going to eventually be the one to take Favre’s place.

  20. Stopped by your blog for the first time today. Great stuff, Chris. I’ll definitely be coming back for more.

    After seeing the headline, I thought Favre was a no-brainer for #1. However, your post convinced me otherwise.

  21. Drew, glad you enjoyed. I had a fun time with this one.

    Yeah, I think it’s tough to rank anyone ahead of TO, although if they gave Brett Favre his own reality tv show, it would be eerily similar to the Beverly Hillbillies.

    Whoops, did I say that out loud?

  22. Hi,

    What a great list. I am always on the look for top lists, and your list is great starting point. Lists are very useful.

    I found your blog from yahoo. Really Good article.

    Will visit again.

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