Top 10 Superstitious Players of All Time
Sports are all about the skill and technique of the player. The best players are those who have the right combination of dexterity in a particular sport, the diligence to hone the skill, and the physical and mental capability to channel it all to display a great game. Yet, a lot depends on external factors, and even in the best form, a player may still fail to make a mark. There are good days and bad days for every player. As a result, many players seem to believe that luck plays an important part. Many of them carry lucky charms, or have specific rituals that they stick to. Thus, superstitions always played a major role in most of the athletes’ lives. Let us look at Top 10 Superstitious Players of All Time.
Top 10 Superstitious Players of All Time
1. Björn Borg
Legendary Swedish tennis player Björn Borg had superstitions which were just related to one particular event: the Wimbledon, unlike any other athletes on this list. Borg, for his steely confidence on the court, was nicknamed the Ice Man. But when it came to the annual tournament of Wimbledon, Borg would always prepare wearing the same Fila shirt and by growing a beard. This hilarious superstition achieved great popularity along with him and helped him to secure the title of Wimbledon amazing five times straight from 1976 to 1980. The “lucky beard” of Borg eventually became one of sport’s most popular superstitions and was adopted by many players in the NHL and NFL such as Ben Roethlisberger during 2006 season.
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2. Michael Jordan
Many hardcore basketball fans think that the demigod of basketball Michael Jordan had enough skill to beat an entire team and thus didn’t need any support from unknown powers and superstitions. But as a fact, Michael Jordan himself was known for a specific superstition that he carried during majority of his career. Five-time NBA MVP Michael Jordan always wore his shorts from University of North Carolina under his uniform while leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships titles during his legendary career. Jordan believed that the mesh marvels brought him luck as he led UNC to the NCAA Championships in 1982. Jordan began wearing longer shorts in order to cover his lucky pairs under them, which further set a trend in the NBA.
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3. Serena Williams
Serena is widely considered as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, who is feared for her competitive nature and on-court aggressiveness. But Serena herself believes that much of her famous winnings are the result of closely followed routines on the way to the title. She always ties her shoelaces in a specific way and brings her shower sandals to the tennis court. Serena always bounces the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second serve. Serena is the three-time Wimbledon champion and wears the same pair of socks during an ongoing tournament that she participates. She also figured out that her major losses were the result of not following her own routine correctly.
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4. Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy is widely regarded as the greatest goaltender in the history of the NHL. This legendary goaltender was a firm believer in the power of specific superstition. The former Montreal Canadien star skate towards the net before turning around at the last second all in the backward motion before every game, and he believed it made the goal shrink throughout his career. He also converses with the posts while thanking them when a puck gets deflected, or touches them, during any game play that he ever participated in. This three times Conn Smythe trophy winner earned his nickname St. Patrick due to his almost spiritual relationship with his goal posts.
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5. Turk Wendell
Former New York Mets reliever Turk Wendell is believed to a full-blown maniac when it came to superstition throughout his career. He followed a specific set of routines and superstitions during any game that he ever participated in. For instance, when walking to the mound, he always leaps over the baselines. He always chewed black licorice while pitching and brushed his teeth in between innings during any game. As a lucky charm, he always wore a necklace designed with the sharp teeth of wild animals that he had hunted and killed with his own hand. His superstitions also extended off the field as he signed a contract for the New York Mets for $9,999,999.99 to honor his number-99 uniform in 2000.
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6. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but sadly, earned his reputation as a bad free-thrower. Most players of NBA set a specific routine every time they get to the free throw line, but Shaquille never did the same thing twice whenever he missed a free throw. So every time he got to the line and missed a free throw, he would either change his footing or change the way that he released his shot and sometimes even change the way he held the ball. He thought what he was doing before brought him bad luck, and he desperately needed something different like a different stance or different foot to bring him the good luck again. Shaquille also chewed 4 pieces of gum before every game that he participated and put it underneath his seat on the bench.
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7. Jason Terry
Houston Rockets shooting guard Jason Eugene Terry is widely considered the most superstitious player in the NBA. His own set of superstitions includes wearing five pairs of socks while playing and eating chicken like Wade Boggs before games. 37-year-old Jason Terry does his most bizarre superstitions while he’s sleeping on the night before each match. He goes to sleep in shorts from each player from opposing team. He always wears the shorts which he manages from his fellow players. It is a strong matter of debate how Jason manages to get the shorts of opponent team members, but he has a very strong network of equipment managers. There is also a chance that opponent team members themselves show their love towards Jason by supporting his superstitions.
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8. Mark Teixeira
After one of CC Sabathia’s socks accidentally ended up in Mark Teixeira locker, he developed a new superstition from that scenario. Teixeira unknowingly put on one sock with his own number 25 on it and another sock with Sabathia’s number 52 on it. He noticed this when the game already started, and Teixeira had one of his best games in his career that day. He made two home-run, six RBI performance and decided that he was going to wear two different socks in future games due to his previous success with different socks. From that match, he never wore same number tags on two feet, and continues his different socks appearances.
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9. Jason Giambi
Cleveland Indians designated hitter and infielder Jason Giambi was a pitcher’s worst nightmare when he had his top form in MLB but in recent years his hitting power has cooled down. But Giambi was prone to slumps even in his heyday. Whenever he goes through a difficult phase where he doesn’t perform well, he wears a golden thong as a solution of that scenario. the 6-foot-3 first baseman slip his 240-pound frame into a tiny pair of golden thongs before playing each match when he couldn’t meet with his performance level. This five-time All-Star’s superstitions went viral due to his fellow teammates who repeatedly borrows his bikini bottoms to break out of their own slumps.
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10. Caron Butler
Caron Butler has a huge attachment with his superstitions but for bad health concerns, he was banned from performing them publicly. Butler always drinks a half of 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew before any match starts and then he drinks the other half of it at halftime. Butler also chews 12 pieces of straw on the bench during the middle of the game that he took from McDonald’s or Burger King. Many times, it is seen that he cuts the straws up and chews on them or just works his way down the straws while chewing them continuously. Many players often chew the straws in the bench, but the unusual part about Butler is that he chews on straws from just McDonald’s and Burger King. This may be called a superstition but it also proves his loyalty towards McD or the King.
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There are many other superstitious players in all the games. It has often been noticed that the compulsion to follow certain routines or carry certain objects is more than just superstition, and is borderline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Be it an innocent superstition or some kind of a disorder, the players definitely seem to find mental strength through these habits and charms.