For most of us with average careers and 9 to 5 jobs, it’s hard to look at some people in the world and expect them to hate their job. A few occupations that come to mind as impossible to hate would be actors and actresses, musicians, and athletes. It’s extremely hard for an average person to look at someone making millions and millions of dollars for something that’s perceived as easy. While many of us are fully aware that we can’t necessarily act or play an instrument, we still can’t imagine performers like those waking up and not wanting to go to work. Most of us look at movies and music as hobbies that make us happy, so why wouldn’t it be even more exciting for those actually making millions doing.
While we can’t imagine hating a job as a performer, we are even more surprised when an athlete doesn’t like their job. This is largely because we don’t really think of sports as jobs. When an average person engages in a sport, it’s looked at as a game. When you round up a few friends for a pick-up game of basketball it isn’t perceived as hard since it really doesn’t matter how good any of you are, you can still play an entire game of basketball and enjoy yourself doing it. The truth is, this is something that most athletes have to spend almost every waking hour of their life doing or planning around. There is actual pressure to win, or you can lose your job. Sometimes athletes have a natural talent and just fall into it. Think of all the NBA players that are drafted out of high school. Do you really think someone who is 17-18 years-old has a full idea about what they want to do with their lives? It should actually come as no surprise that some athletes aren’t exactly in love with the game. Let’s take a look at a few of these players that have been publicly outed, or came out publicly themselves, as not being very big fans of their chosen career paths.
10. Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum began playing basketball right out of high school. As he began to play in the NBA and make a name for himself, he almost immediately got the taste of the lavish lifestyle that multi-million dollar athletes get to enjoy. Unfortunately, a series of injuries seemed to leave the player embittered towards the game. Bynum seems to dislike basketball so much it was reported that one of his injuries was actually suffered while bowling. When one of Bynum’s former teammates was asked if this rumor was true, the team mate was reported as saying, “I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know I’ve never met another player that likes basketball less than Bynum.”
It’s said that Bynum has a number of things he’d prefer over playing basketball, one of them being designing his own computers and phones. It appears one of his issues with the game might be that Bynum missed his chance to become an engineer since he skipped college for basketball.
9. Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi is a well-known and renowned tennis player, even though he has been out of the game for quite some time. Agassi played for so long it’s possible he might have just gotten bored with the job like anyone else who has been on the same career path for years and years. It’s said that player’s as good as Agassi get so burnt out on the game because they, obviously, play the most tennis. If you’re constantly making it to the next round and never getting eliminated, you should look forward to having your life revolve around tennis and your games for the better part of a year. Agassi said in his own autobiography:
“I play tennis for a living even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion and always have.”
One of the main reasons Agassi cited was the loneliness both being on the road and while playing. It’s a game where you play by yourself. He said it may even be lonelier than boxing because boxers have all their ringside staff and trainers. In tennis, you aren’t even close enough to your opponent to really know them and see what’s going on besides an obligatory handshake at the beginning of a game.
8. Serena Williams
Serena Williams hates tennis so much that she’s said she’d almost rather be doing anything else than playing the game. As mentioned earlier, tennis is a very life consuming game for an individual if they’re extremely good at it like Serena Williams. It was also mentioned that tennis can be a very lonely sport for a player since it’s such a solitary game. The loneliness doesn’t seem to be Serena’s issue as she’s gone on the record as saying there was a vast number of things she’d rather be doing than playing a game of tennis. While one of the things she mentioned was “going shopping” (I think all of us would rather shop than do our jobs) but she also said she’d even prefer to just “sit down.” Most of us would probably rather do something rather than just sit down and watch the grass grow.
While Serena did say she disliked the game, she also said she couldn’t imagine her life without it. The sport has obviously earned her a rather lavish lifestyle that she may not have had it not been for tennis.
7. Lance Armstrong
It’s hard to say if Lance Armstrong hates the sport that made him one of a select number of athletes that achieve fame on a global level. Even though he’s yet to publicly say it, you have to figure there may be a little bit of animosity towards cycling and the Tour de France.
After it was revealed that Armstrong had been using performance enhancing drugs during his Tour de France wins, the world of cycling stripped Lance of absolutely everything he had won. He lost all his titles and trophies, he lost all his sponsors and endorsement deals, and it’s said all of this led to a $150 million loss in a single day. To make matters worse, the cancer foundation that Armstrong started himself with $8 million dollars of his own fortune changed its name to The Livestrong Foundation from The Lance Armstrong Foundation in an attempt to distance themselves from their disgraced founder. You can only imagine there may be a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
In an Esquire article from John H. Richardson, it seemed to be implied that Lance was hitting the bottle pretty hard to deal with his demons surrounding the sport.
6. Josh Gordon
Gordon doesn’t so much seem to hate his game as he does the politics in the NFL specifically, as well as the pundits surround the game from networks like FOX and ESPN.
At one time, Gordon was in a lot of heat for marijuana use, the use of a codeine medication that was not in compliance with the NFL’s drug restrictions, and some issues with alcohol. When Gordon received a DWI, many pundits and people in the NFL seemed to give up on him. Gordon retaliated with very well written and personal open letter explaining who he was to these pundits and NFL higher-ups who had never actually met him and didn’t know the first thing about his struggle. Gordon claimed he didn’t have issues with drugs and alcohol and most of his run-ins came from bad luck and poor decision making. He stated that he was appalled with the pundits and NFL and didn’t understand how they could possibly get away with some of things they say.
5. CM Punk
Not too long ago, former professional wrestler CM Punk left the world of professional wrestling and decided to become an MMA fighter with the UFC. On his transition from pro-wrestling to MMA, CM Punk has seemingly decided to trash talk the WWE and burn every possible bridge he has with the popular wrestling promotion. Punk has cited a staph infection he experienced with the WWE and he seemed to directly blame as a result of practices in the WWE. He’s referred to it as the worst pain he’s ever experienced in his life.
Punk has also said he arrived at a point in the sport where he just stopped caring about it. While his fight with Undertaker was a huge deal to fans, Punk said he didn’t care about it all – even after he appeared in the match before 80,000 wrestling fans.
Many wrestlers have come back to the WWE after a leave of absence, but CM Punk has said he’s never going back.
4. Larry Sanders
After just a short time into a major $44 million deal with the NBA, it appeared that Larry Sanders no longer wanted to be in the NBA, but he really didn’t want to play basketball anymore at all. With $33 million left on his contract with the Bucks, Sanders’ coach told the media that Sanders was gone only for personal reasons and he wouldn’t comment any further on the subject.
It was first reported in a tweet from Gery Woelfel that Sanders no longer wanted to play according to people close to him. It was later tweeted by Steve Kyler that Woelfel’s tweet was “news to Sanders.” Regardless of who had their facts straight, Sanders has said there is more to life than basketball, you can’t play the game forever, and has wanted to do more meaningful humanitarian work.
3. Ricky Williams
Ricky Williams doesn’t necessarily hate football, but he definitely doesn’t have much in the way of a love for the game and the spirit of competition. Williams left the NFL to do something that nobody could have ever predicted from an NFL football player – he left to become a holistic healer.
Williams has elaborated on his feelings for football:
“I loved playing football, but the reasons I loved football were just to feed my ego, and any time you feed your ego, it’s a one-way street.” Williams went on to say, “There were so many things I had to deal with that erased the positives I got from playing the game that it wasn’t worth it. It’s like eating a Big Mac and drinking a Diet Coke.”
He actually did come back to the game eventually but it seems obvious that Williams doesn’t think of an NFL career as anything more than a regular day-to-day job.
2. Nicolas Anelka
Early on in his career Anelka was known as “Le Sulk” for what was perceived by the media and some players as a lack of enthusiasm for the sport of football (soccer in some parts of the word). At the time, Anelka was playing for the British Team Arsenal. According to Anelka, the reason he was so unhappy playing for Arsenal was because of the British press and how they targeted him for losses and, ironically, the name “Le Sulk”.
Later on in 2014, Anelka would have a serious run in with the FA when he used an anti-Semitic gesture in celebration of a goal. Anelka said this was only a salute to a comedian friend of his (a comedian friend well-known for his anti-Semitic views, by the way). The FA fined Anelka rather harshly and even suspended him for several games. You can’t imagine this made Anelka any happier with the game.
1. Adam Dunn
Adam Dunn hasn’t gone on record and said publicly that he hates baseball, but in an interview with Jays’ manager J.P. Ricciardi, it seems apparent that Ricciardi knew something about Dunn that the rest of us did not. A caller on a sports program had a question about the Jays acquiring Adam Dunn when a contract was over and Ricciardi asked the caller what he really knew about Adam Dunn. The caller responded with the fact that Dunn is a power hitter. Ricciardi pointed out that Dunn strikes out a lot but hits a lot of home-runs. When the caller pointed out that no one on the Jays were hitting home runs, Ricciardi had this to say about Dunn:
“Do you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much? Do you know the guy doesn’t have a passion to play the game that much?” Ricciardi continued, “I don’t think you’d be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here. I think you’d be one of the guys calling me on Wednesday night complaining about all the deficiencies the guy has. We’ve done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn, and there’s a reason why we don’t want Adam Dunn.”
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