4.2k voters

Overhyped Athletes Who Still Performed

Updated January 27, 2020 55.8k votes 4.2k voters 39.5k views47 items

List RulesOnly superstars who back up the fuss surrounding their career

Overhyped athletes who still performed represent a special breed of athletes who captured the attention of fans and critics around the world with their potential then went on to live up to the expectations and often exceed them. These athletes were expected by so many to dominate their respective sports and they did just that.

These fine football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, boxing and Olympic athletes had all eyes upon them as they were projected by experts to have long and successful careers filled with titles, awards and praise. Many did that and then some, going down as some of the best to ever play the game.

A great deal of these athletes were taken first overall in their respective professional drafts, such as star NHL players Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, who were taken first in the NHL Draft in 2004 and 2005, respectively, or NBA Slam Dunk Champion Blake Griffin, who was picked first in the 2009 NBA Draft. Professional football players are right up there as well, such as 2011 first overall pick Cam Newton who made a quick impact on the Carolina Panthers in the National Football League.

Others not only captured the attention of prospective professional teams but also entire countries as they represented their homeland on the world's stage in the Olympics. Michael Phelps is perhaps the best example of a highly hyped athlete who lived up to the expectations. The swimmer shattered numerous personal, Olympic and world records as he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

All of these athletes accomplished what so many up and comers aspire to do. They made headlines first for their potential, then became household names for their performance and many went on to become legends of the sport. Of course some went on to wait too long to retire but for the most part, these athletes had nearly flawless careers and it does not get much better than that.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo1


    BirthplaceSanto António, Portugal

    TeamsManchester United F.C., Real Madrid C.F., Sporting Clube de Portugal, Portugal national football team

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    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

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    Usain Bolt

    Age: 34


    BirthplaceSherwood Content, Jamaica

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  • Michael Phelps4

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceTowson, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

    TeamsNorth Baltimore Aquatic Club

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  • Conor Mcgregor5
  • Michael Jordan6


    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    TeamsChicago Bulls, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Washington Wizards, North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball

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  • Kobe Bryant7

    Kobe Bryant

    Dec. at 41 (1978-2020)

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

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    BirthplaceMoscow, Russia

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  • Kimi Räikkönen9


    BirthplaceEspoo, Finland

  • Peyton Manning10

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts

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  • Wayne Gretzky11

    NationalityUnited States of America,Canada

    BirthplaceBrantford, Canada

    TeamsEdmonton Oilers

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  • Maria Sharapova12


    BirthplaceNyagan, Russia

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  • Simona Halep13


    BirthplaceConstanța, Sud-Est, Romania

  • Yelena Isinbayeva14


    BirthplaceVolgograd, Russia

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  • Tiger Woods15

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceCypress, California, United States of America

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  • Cam Newton16

    Cam Newton

    Age: 31

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia

    TeamsCarolina Panthers, Auburn Tigers football, Florida Gators football

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  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar17

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Bucks, UCLA Bruins men's basketball

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    #1 of 165 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time#1 of 42 The Greatest UCLA Basketball Players of All Time

  • Mike Trout18

    Mike Trout

    Age: 29


    BirthplaceVineland, New Jersey

    TeamsLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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  • Kevin Garnett19

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceGreenville, South Carolina, United States of America

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    #14 of 256 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#8 of 133 The Best Boston Celtics of All Time

  • Mark McGwire20

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplacePomona, California, United States of America

    TeamsSt. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Athletics

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  • Blake Griffin21

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceOklahoma City, Oklahoma

    TeamsDetroit Pistons

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  • Andrew Luck22

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    TeamsIndianapolis Colts, Stanford Cardinal football

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  • Herschel Walker23

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceWrightsville, Georgia, United States of America

    TeamsDallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Georgia Bulldogs football team

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  • Tim Tebow24

    Tim Tebow

    Age: 33

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceMakati, Philippines

    TeamsNew England Patriots, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Florida Gators football

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  • Michael Vick25

    NationalityUnited States of America


    TeamsAtlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers

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