When athletes don’t live up to the hype or garner more attention than deserved, they’re labeled by many – including me – as overrated. These athletes are usually overpaid and receive far too many opportunities in their respective sport to not produce at the highest level possible.
Any athlete that makes it to the professional level is going to be far more talented and skilled at that sport than the average person. You don’t make it that far in any sport without falling in that 1%. At the same time, not all athletes are made equal and some are more skilled than others.
In regards to overrated athletes, it’s not that they aren’t good at their sport and it’s not that they didn’t work hard to get to where they are. It does, however, have everything to do with the expectations that they fail to live up to – despite receiving plenty of opportunity to succeed.
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Which Overrated Athletes Receive Too Much Attention?
Let’s be honest, we all have those athletes that we just can’t seem to understand why they’re so popular. The fact that so many people continue to support these overrated players as if they’re superstars in their respective sport is beyond me – yet, it’s something that happens every year.
Overrated players are usually cocky, selfish, and full of themselves. They expect everyone around them – including teammates, coaches, and refs – to be perfect, yet they fail to live up to those expectations themselves. It’s not supposed to be a good look, yet they make it look good.
Of course, then there are the overrated athletes that stick to themselves and aren’t prima donnas. They’re still overrated and shouldn’t be given all these opportunities, but they don’t make matters worse by being self-centered – I mean, that has to stand for something, right?
20. Draymond Green
Draymond Green is only as good as the teammates he plays with – and even then, he’s still not that good. He does good things for his team and is a good teammate, but his production is average at best. He hasn’t averaged more than 8.4 points per game in the past four years.
His best years came when opposing defenses were too busy trying to contain the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. If you ask me, anyone in the league can perform well when playing alongside those three. Since Durant left, his production has dropped.
19. Carson Wentz
There was a time when Carson Wentz was viewed as one of the most promising quarterbacks in the NFL. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field more often than he would’ve liked. He had three good years in Philly, but also two terrible seasons – including his 2020 campaign.
That campaign resulted in Philly trading him to Indy, which has certainly worked out well for the quarterback thus far. He’s reinventing himself and has 25 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions this season, but he’s still wildly overrated and we need to see this play on a more consistent basis.
18. Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane is one of the greatest American-born hockey players of all-time. He has won three Stanley Cups and six major awards in his 15 years with the Chicago Blackhawks. There’s no denying his offensive prowess, recording 411 goals and 702 assists over 1,055 career games.
With that said, the reason Kane is on this list is because of his defensive play – or lack of it. He’s always putting his goalie and defensive pair in a tough position, often resulting in goals for the other team. Someone with his status in the NHL world should be more defined defensively.
17. Cam Newton
If this list were created a few years ago, then Cam Newton would definitely be in the top-five. While he’s still overrated in the eyes of many, I have him listed this high because many fans are starting to realize just how overrated he is. As more people see that, the less overrated he is.
With that said, I firmly believe that there are at least a dozen active quarterbacks that deserve a job in the NFL more than Newton. With Carolina putting their trust in Cam this season, it goes to show that some people still view him as an impactful player – unfortunately he’s far from it.
16. James Harden
James Harden is one of the most versatile scorers in the game and has been for quite some time. There’s no denying his talent and he has earned the respect of the NBA community. With that said, this season has exposed Harden in a way that isn’t going to surprise a lot of people.
We all know that Harden made a career at the free throw line, but let’s be honest – a lot of the calls against him are BS and we can see that now with the NBA rule changes in effect this season. He’s not getting the calls he once did and has struggled at times this season.
15. Erik Karlsson
Erik Karlsson was once viewed as one of the best defenseman in the NHL during his time with the Ottawa Senators. He then enjoyed two productive seasons with the San Jose Sharks, but has been a shell of his former self ever since then. He’s still talented, but definitely overrated.
Over the past two seasons, Karlsson has only recorded 41 points in 76 games. That’s not terrible for a defenseman, but it’s not up to Karlsson’s standards. Even his defensive output has suffered in the past two seasons. The analytics aren’t there and the statistics aren’t there either.
14. Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa is a former Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Houston Astros to a title in 2017 – even though the team cheated. He just finished his 2021 campaign and was fifth in MVP voting. He also won a Gold Glove and was an All-Star – it wasn’t a bad season by any means.
Correa is due for another contract and is hitting free agency this offseason. He will likely sign a massive deal with a contender, but it’s going to be a risky investment for that team. He’s not very consistent, he’s not someone you can rely on every night, and he’s injury-prone.
13. Juju Smith-Schuster
Juju Smith-Schuster was one of the brightest young receivers in the NFL just a few seasons ago. He had an incredible 2018 campaign that ended with 111 receptions, 1,427 yards, and 7 touchdowns en route to making his first and only Pro Bowl appearance. It was quite a year.
Since then, Smith-Schuster has spent more time on TikTok than he has in the endzone. He had a decent season last year, but only recorded 15 receptions and 129 yards in five games before suffering a season-ending injury in 2021. At least he’s good at all those dances on social media.
12. Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. For those that aren’t aware, drafting a running back that high almost never ends well. While his career started as well as everyone expected, he hasn’t been the same ever since.
Through his first four seasons, he had more than 1,350 rushing yards three times – including 1,631 rushing yards in his rookie season. He was also heavily involved as a receiver. He failed to amass 1,000 rushing yards in 2020 and could potentially fall short of that mark again in 2021.
11. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is one of the most talented and skilled players in the NBA. He can dribble as well as anyone, knows how to get his teammates involved, and can score as often as he wants. Unfortunately, that’s only the case when he’s on the floor – and that seems to be rare today.
Irving has only played in 74 games in the past three seasons – including zero thus far in 2021. He misses too much time due to injury, drama, personal reasons, and everything in-between. He’s unreliable and while he can help your team win, it often comes at a ridiculous expense.
10. Jamal Adams
Jamal Adams is one of those NFL players that talks the talk every single minute he’s on the field, but rarely walks the walk when it’s time to execute. He’s not a bad safety by any means, but many people regard him as one of the best safeties in the league, which he is far from.
He got sick of playing for the New York Jets and wanted to play for a contender, so he forced his way to the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, he hasn’t done enough to help them win and the Seahawks are now worse than they once were. He’s no stranger to big hits, but that’s about it.
9. Trevor Story
Trevor Story is known as a speed-power type of player in the MLB. He’s one of the top shortstops and has been a quality player in the big leagues since 2016. In 2018 and 2019, he hit 72 home runs, 193 runs batted in, and had 50 stolen bases in 302 games (1,186 at-bats).
In his two years since, Story has only hit 35 home runs, 103 runs batted in, and had 35 stolen bases in 201 games (761 at-bats). He’s still productive, but it’s clear he’s been on a decline the past two seasons. If he leaves the high elevation in Colorado, it’ll only get more difficult for him.
8. Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty is currently in his 14th season in the NHL – all of which were spent with the Los Angeles Kings. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner, one-time Art Ross Trophy winner, and one-time Calder Memorial Trophy winner. There’s no doubt he has enjoyed an incredible career.
With that said, his production and overall play has declined greatly over the past few seasons – almost to the point where he’s terrible. The analytics don’t speak in his favor and he’s not worth the $11 million yearly contract. He can still reinvent himself in LA, but in a much smaller role.
7. Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper is a former first overall draft pick in 2010, Rookie of the Year winner, six-time All-Star, Home Run Derby champion, and just finished the 2021 season with his second MVP trophy. He led all major leagues with 42 doubles and had an impressive .309 batting average.
Despite hitting more than 30 home runs in his past three full seasons (he had 13 home runs in the shortened 2020 season and was on-pace for 30+ home runs), Harper garners way too much attention and his production doesn’t translate to wins. He’s good, but definitely overrated.
6. Russell Westbrook
There’s a good chance we will never see another player like Russell Westbrook in the NBA, at least not for a while. He’s a one-of-a-kind player that does it all on the court – he shoots the ball, he drives to the paint, he gets his teammates involved, he plays defense, and he rebounds.
With that said, Westbrook’s production rarely translates to wins – as we saw during his time with the Rockets and Wizards. Even playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis isn’t going as well as planned. He’s one of those players that fills the stat sheet, unfortunately to no avail.
5. Conor McGregor
There was a time when Conor McGregor was the UFC’s prized possession. He was the money fight that every fighter wanted. He joined the UFC in 2013 with a 12-2 MMA record. By 2015, he won his first seven UFC fights, was the Featherweight champion, and defended his title once.
2016 was a weird year for Conor. He lost to Nate Diaz, but won the rematch five months later. Three months later, he fought Eddie Alvarez and won the Lightweight Championship. Since then, McGregor is 1-3 and looks like a shell of his former self. We’ll see if he can reinvent himself.
4. Mac Jones
Mac Jones was drafted by the New England Patriots with the 15th overall pick in 2021. The Patriots are hoping he can be the franchise quarterback they’ve been looking for since the departure of Tom Brady. He certainly has a lot of upside, but boy is he overrated in the NFL.
He’s having as good of a season as you’d expect from a rookie, but he’s extremely inconsistent and clearly doesn’t have the trust of his coaching staff – evidenced by his three pass attempts in a game against the Buffalo Bills. Many are calling him Offensive ROY, but it should go to Ja’Marr Chase.
3. Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. looked like he could be one of the greatest wide receivers of all-time during his time with the New York Giants. At the same time, he was always involved in drama and caused more problems than he did success. That eventually led to his departure from NY.
When he arrived in Cleveland, everyone thought there was no way the Browns could fail. In 29 games (2019-2021) with the Browns, he had 114 receptions, 1,586 yards, and 7 touchdowns. His lack of consistency led to his trade to the Los Angeles Rams. He’s unreliable at best.
2. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons was the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. While he didn’t play in 2016 due to a foot injury, he had an impressive first three years in the league – he won Rookie of the Year, was a steal champ, an All-NBA, and an All-Defensive player.
He does a lot of things well, but there has always been a lot of criticism against him – largely because he can’t shoot the ball, he isn’t a leader, and he crumbles in clutch moments. To be that type of player and try to force a trade with a holdout just shows how immature he is as a player.
1. Jake Paul
What a year Jake Paul had in 2021. He grew his riches at an insane rate and was one of the most talked about ‘professional athletes’ in the world. Personally, I don’t consider Paul a pro athlete or a pro boxer and I don’t understand why everyone is so infatuated with his antics.
While Paul made millions this year, he essentially stole that money from the boxing community. Since ‘turning pro,’ Paul has a 5-0 record. Of those five fights, none of the fighters were pro boxers. He fought a Youtuber, a retired NBA player, and the other three were against former UFC fighters.
He certainly has some skill and seems to be improving, but don’t call yourself a pro boxer if you’re only interested in fighting non-boxers. Until you show me that, you’re nothing more than entertainment for those that are easily-fooled.
Which Athletes Do You Think Are Overrated?
I think we can all agree that the athletes listed above are all fairly overrated – albeit some more than others, but they’re all overrated in their own right. With that said, I’m sure there are plenty of other athletes that some fans find overrated and those players should be highlighted as well.
Of course, you also have athletes that were overrated throughout history. Some of those names include David Beckham, Michelle Wie, Pele, Eli Manning, Babe Ruth, Danica Patrick, Oscar De La Hoya, Lynn Swann, Tony Romo, Jack Dempsey, Joe Namath, and more.
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At the end of the day, every athlete has expectations – whether those expectations come from their teammates, coaches, or themselves. The players that take those expectations and live up to them throughout their career are a blessing in disguise. Overrated athletes are far from it.
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