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Sports stars that don't love what they do


Gabe
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In the main football thread somebody commented about Emmanuel Adebayor looking like he did football for a job that he was pretty good at rather than really loving it, and made me wonder about other sports stars where they aren't in it for the love of their field, but because they just had some skill in it and went along that path.

 

David Batty was another where I think some ex-teammates (or perhaps even he himself) have commented that he never really loved the game; Chris Eubank was always very honest that he was a boxer for the money; Ronnie O'Sullivan seems to often hate everything about snooker and David Bentley has always been very open about how he was never really that fussed about being a football star.

 

I know it's weird, but I always find it a bit sad when professionals that I may admire/appreciate don't perhaps love their sport as much as the fans so I'm are there some other good examples of stars that just don't like their jobs all that much?

 

Edit: How could I forget Gareth Bale? And Benoit Assou-Ekotto?

 

I guess this should be more a case of what interesting stories are there about those who don't really love their job - Stephen Ireland's international exile is an interesting one, for example.

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I'm sure that there is a NHLer who walked away from a contract that was going to pay him about $13m with the rationale "I've made enough, what am I going to do with it?"

 

On a tangential note, after 9/11 Pat Tillman walked away from a $3.6m contract with the St Louis Cardinals of the NFL to sign up to the US Army and fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He was killed by friendly fire in 2004 amid allegations of a coverup as he was deeply unhappy with America's conduct in both regions.

 

I've googled for the name but there definitely a 1970s footballer who retired, I think, to become a vicar or lay preacher.  (Not ex-Man United Phillip Mulrayne who became a Catholic priest post-football career.)

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My friend's friend played at PGA and Korn Ferry level events and apparently hated every moment of being a golfer, which he said was incredibly common. The travelling and pressure is immense and despite being minted he sacked it off to go and work on a building site in Australia or something. I think he just liked the outdoors.

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Patrik Berglund - Though I got the story wrong.  Although he said it was to do with his mental health, it was after he was traded to Buffalo, who are a very bad team.  He was supposed to have the ability to block the trade by naming teams that he would accept a trade to but his agent screwed up the paperwork.  He had a year off and signed a contract in Sweden.

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30 minutes ago, Art Vandelay said:

My friend's friend played at PGA and Korn Ferry level events and apparently hated every moment of being a golfer, which he said was incredibly common. The travelling and pressure is immense and despite being minted he sacked it off to go and work on a building site in Australia or something. I think he just liked the outdoors.

I imagine golf to be an incredibly lonely sport because whilst you will have some level of locker-room friendships, it's not the same as being part of a team (plus a lot of players will have very different schedules.) Add in the travel, the fact you can throw away a whole tournament in a few holes and the odds on actually winning anything and it doesn't sound too appealing outside of the big money if you are good at it.

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Nick Diaz one of the most popular UFC fighters of all time has expressed on a number of occasions how much he hates fighting. I think he would be far happier if he was a professional triathlete but MMA earns him alot of money and pays the bills. 

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Not sure whether to include Kimi Raikkonen or not. I think he likes racing but there's a story that he could have played Ice Hockey but didn't like getting up early for practice so chase to race cars instead, plus other stories like racing snowmobiles using James Hunts name whilst under contract to Ferrari

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Kimi must love racing because he joined Sauber just to stay on the grid when it seemed the ideal time to retire.  He clearly has no time for any of the PR stuff that comes with the job and I wonder how much he contributes to feedback and development.

Nick Kyrgios seems to only be playing tennis for the money, and like Kimi a lot of people seem to like his no care attitude.

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My wifes dad used to coach Jennifer Capriati and she hated tennis, probably because her father was apparently pretty crazy and denied her any kind of normal childhood and pushed her into it. No wonder she went off the rails.

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1 hour ago, Nick_L said:

My wifes dad used to coach Jennifer Capriati and she hated tennis, probably because her father was apparently pretty crazy and denied her any kind of normal childhood and pushed her into it. No wonder she went off the rails.

 

Isn't it a similar story with Andre Agassi?  He's said he hated tennis at some times in his life because his Dad forced him to play it and then trained him like a maniac.

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Tennis is a curious one in that the stars are basically hothoused from a very early age and have no semblance of a reasonable childhood before they become (if lucky) money making machines.  It's a wonder there aren't more psychological issues.

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27 minutes ago, feltmonkey said:

 

Isn't it a similar story with Andre Agassi?  He's said he hated tennis at some times in his life because his Dad forced him to play it and then trained him like a maniac.

 

Yes, my wifes dad coached him as well

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Victoria Pendleton has pretty much shit canned cycling hasn't she?

 

Though I can appreciate that towards the end of it, it must have been absolute purgatory.

 

Adversely, my brother played on the PGA tour for 14 years. Loves the game, pretty much every aspect of it. Maybe it's because he was never quite that successful?

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42 minutes ago, feltmonkey said:

 

Isn't it a similar story with Andre Agassi?  He's said he hated tennis at some times in his life because his Dad forced him to play it and then trained him like a maniac.

 

His autobiography - which is a brilliant read - is mostly about how much he hated tennis. Pretty sad really.

 

 

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9 hours ago, marsh said:

Victoria Pendleton has pretty much shit canned cycling hasn't she?

 

Though I can appreciate that towards the end of it, it must have been absolute purgatory.

 

Adversely, my brother played on the PGA tour for 14 years. Loves the game, pretty much every aspect of it. Maybe it's because he was never quite that successful?


She did yeah.  But she was sort of “last of the previous era” in a lot of ways and it seems to be a lot better now for the female cyclists than she had it.  Nicole Cook had a bad time too.

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11 hours ago, Bob Sacamano said:

Kimi must love racing because he joined Sauber just to stay on the grid when it seemed the ideal time to retire.  He clearly has no time for any of the PR stuff that comes with the job and I wonder how much he contributes to feedback and development.

Nick Kyrgios seems to only be playing tennis for the money, and like Kimi a lot of people seem to like his no care attitude.


Ive a feeling he contributes a LOT in the behind the scenes stuff.  Sure I’ve seen it spoken about on various bits and pieces, teams love working with him for that reason 

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I’ve not seen anything to suggest she doesn’t love tennis, but even Raducanu mentioned recently how she loved racing motocross but reached a point - at about the age of 10 - where she had to choose between that and tennis, so went for the one with more earning potential.

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Curtis Woodhouse gave up football for boxing, but with a happy ending when he fulfilled his ambition of becoming a British champ.

 

 

Compared to the US, it's a real shame there's no money in motocross here. If you don't have a local track, it's really hard to find places to ride. Same with stunt riding (versus the US), as it goes.

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In terms of F1, Eddie Irvine probably qualifies. Was a decent driver, managed his career well, got himself into a very lucrative position as the lead driver for Jaguar (at which point he was the best-paid person in the entire Ford corporation worldwide, much to the chagrin of an incoming Ford CEO), then left once his contract was up to invest the money in property.

 

Conmpared to some of his contemporaries, especially those who reached the level he did of a few wins, he had a pretty short career in the sport. So I think he liked it, but defintiyl didn;t love it enough to carry on down the grid.

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14 hours ago, Bob Sacamano said:

Nick Kyrgios seems to only be playing tennis for the money, and like Kimi a lot of people seem to like his no care attitude.

 

Also Bernard Tomic:

 

https://au.news.yahoo.com/i-never-loved-tennis-bernard-tomic-built-career-on-50-effort-36468967.html#page1

 

Quote

Tomic bombed out in the first round and at the press conference that followed, he announced that he was ‘a little bit bored’ on the court.

 

He also boasted to reporters that he had so much money he didn’t care if he won or lost, causing an avalanche of outrage from fans and tennis legends.

 

“I don't regret what I said. That's why I said it, to piss a few people off,” he said.

 

Frustrated fans have all but given up on the troubled star, who openly admits to giving half-hearted performances and playing purely for the money.

 

But instead of feeling like he’s let his fans down, Tomic believes the success he has generated from such little effort is something to be proud of.

 

“I think all my career's been around 50 per cent and I haven't really tried and really achieved all this, so [it’s] just amazing what I have done,” he said.

 

“I never loved tennis. I am just going to go about it as a job.”

 

“Wouldn't anyone want to take a job in a professional sport in one of the biggest sports in the world and only give 50, 60 per cent and earn millions of dollars? I think everybody would take that.”

 

 

Here's a video of him being "Tomic the Tank Engine" at Wimbledon 2019:

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/48868080

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If I remember correctly, Curtis Woodhouse used to be somebody to buy on Championship Manager as he had high potential.

 

Those Tomic highlights are great for how little he cares about being on court.

 

Espen Baardsen is another - I remember him being coming through at Tottenham but after only 60-odd games for three clubs he retired at 25 to travel the world.

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