Growing up and going to school comes with some of the worst days that we will have to experience when we are kids. While most out-of-shape kids on the playground dread having to run the mile, almost every kid will spend days on end plotting and scheming a way to get out of picture day. It is a day that sees kids wearing outfits that their parents force them to wear, and even though you’re suffering with your friends, there is very little to be done to make the day any better. The entirety of the day is spent looking at the clock, counting down until the moment you’re forced to flash the most fake smile of your life. The moment comes and goes in the blink of an eye, and for the remainder of the day, you have to remain in the most uncomfortable outfit possible before heading home and finally feeling like yourself again.
It doesn’t matter how talented you are, how popular you are, or how highly you think of yourself. There is not a person in this world who is impervious to taking a terrible yearbook photo. It may be hard to believe, but even the most attractive people in the world have had their fair share of embarrassing photos. Of course, not everything in this life is equal, and the 15 athlete yearbook photos that we have tracked down are among the worst that you will ever have the privilege of seeing. You had better brace yourself, because the pictures that you are going to see on our list today will change your perception of these 15 athletes.
15. Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin is currently one of the best basketball players on the face of the planet, and his accomplishments inside the NBA are nothing short of impressive. At just 28 years old, Blake Griffin already finds himself being a five-time NBA All-Star, the 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year, and the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner. Moreover, Blake Griffin was a dominant force in college, and the number 23 that he wore at the University of Oklahoma has since been retired by the school. But back before he was a dominant force on the basketball court, Blake Griffin’s parents had little issues with making him wear a hilariously bad outfit on picture day. Not only is Blake Griffin sporting a lame outfit, but his choice of rocking an afro in the photo only adds to how funny it is. Now that he makes unfathomable amounts of money, Blake Griffin does an exceptional job and making sure that his haircut stays on point at all times.
14. Derek Jeter
At this point in his life, is there anything that Derek Jeter hasn’t done? Jeter was a 14-time All-Star selection, and he was instrumental in leading the Yankees to 5 World Series titles. Jeter also took home 5 Gold Glove Awards, 5 Silver Slugger Awards, and his number has since been retired by the team. Not only has Derek Jeter put together one of the greatest baseball careers of all-time, but he has also had the distinction of dating some of the most beautiful women in the world.
But before he was the captain of the most famous sports team on the planet, Derek Jeter was a very average looking kid who sported one of the worst haircuts of all-time. It may be hard to believe judging by this picture, but this kid would go on to become one of the greatest baseball players of all-time who dated some of the hottest women of his era.
13. Venus Williams
Venus Williams, along with her sister Serena, helped usher and a new era of tennis playing during their rise to prominence. While there had been a number of great women’s tennis players before them, Venus and Serena help elevate the game to an entirely new level, bringing plenty of mainstream attention to the sport as well. Rarely do you see an athlete amass nearly $40 million over the course of their career, and this is without factoring in her sponsorships. Not only has Venus made an incredible amount of money, but she has brought home a number of major title victories and several Olympic gold medals.
Despite the amazing accomplishments that she has achieved throughout her career, Venus Williams took a hilariously average picture back when she was just a kid going to school. Then again, I would have given anything to have had a picture turn out half this decent when I was growing up.
12. Joe Flacco
Before the discussions began about the validity of Joe Flacco being considered an elite NFL quarterback, he was just a goofy-looking kid who was going to high school in his native New Jersey. Flacco of course would go on to have a very successful college career at Delaware before being taken in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft. Say what you want about his statistics or lack of Pro Bowl selections, but Flacco is a Super Bowl champion as well as a Super Bowl MVP who has been the focal point of the Baltimore Ravens since he was drafted.
In this yearbook photo, Joe Flacco looks like he’s more inclined to sit at home eating Doritos and playing video games as opposed to putting in the time required to become a solid quarterback. Some things never change, and it is good to see that Flacco still sports his signature unibrow after all these years.
11. Hulk Hogan
For our younger readers, it might be hard to imagine a time and a place where Hulk Hogan was a young man, especially considering the fact that Hogan has looked old since the 1980s. Nevertheless, this insanely bad yearbook photo gives us a look into what Hulk Hogan looked like before Hulkamania began running wild throughout the world. The much younger and chubbier Hogan still had plenty of hair in this picture, though he had yet to amass the world’s largest pythons, brother. The transformation that Hulk Hogan would undergo over the course of his career would be incredibly impressive, and he was the face of professional wrestling for longer than perhaps any other athlete. Despite his accomplishments, the Hulkster was still forced to take this awful yearbook photo back in his youth.
10. Paul Pierce
He may be a retired NBA legend at this point in life, but during his prime, Paul Pierce was one of the most lethal players in the NBA. The former Boston Celtic and Brooklyn Net was a 10-time NBA All-Star selection. Pierce’s NBA career lasted from 1998 to 2017, and he would finish his career with a total of 26,397 points scored to go with 7,527 rebounds. In 2008, Pierce helped lead the Boston Celtics to an NBA title, taking home NBA Finals MVP in the process.
Pierce has never been known for being one of the better-looking basketball players in the country, and this photo snapped at him while he attended Inglewood High School does very little to help his cause. It’s a good thing that your looks have nothing to do with the amount of talent that you possess, because Pierce’s yearbook photo would have held him back from achieving much of anything in the NBA.
9. Michael Phelps
Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete who has ever lived. Though most people in the United States couldn’t care less about swimming as a sport, each and every time Michael Phelps took the biggest stage in the world, all eyes were fixed on him. He captivated the attention of the entire world during his prime, and his accomplishments at the Olympic Games have left him being considered perhaps the greatest athlete of all-time. Aside from taking home an insane number of Olympic medals, Phelps also shattered plenty of world records in his prime.
We really don’t know where to start with this picture, but that incredibly 90s hairdo deserves some recognition. Even kids who go on to become Olympic legends can’t escape terrible fashion trends, and seeing Michael Phelps with what appears to be bleach blonde hair is a hilarious reminder of how terrible all of us looked.
8. Joe Montana
Long considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history before some kid from San Mateo, California came along and knocked him off his perch, Joe Montana was the pillar of excellence in big games. Montana was the 49ers quarterback from 1979 to 1992, and his tenure spent with the team is nothing short of jaw dropping. Montana was a four-time Super Bowl champion, taking home 3 Super Bowl MVP awards in those games. Simply put, Joe Montana was the best quarterback in NFL history until the recent accomplishments by Tom Brady, who admired Montana while growing up in the Bay Area.
Before he put the football world on its head by becoming the best quarterback the game had ever seen, Montana used to sport one of the most deliciously retro hairstyles while he was growing up. Very few people could have known that this shaggy haired kid from Pennsylvania would go on to become one of the greatest football players of all-time.
7. Dennis Rodman
This photo serves as perhaps the only instance on this list where an athlete, despite taking an ugly yearbook photo, actually looked better back then than he did in his prime. Rodman burst onto the scene in the NBA with his incredible ability of grabbing rebounds in playing some truly tenacious defence. Rodman’s career in the NBA saw him win five NBA titles and be selected to two NBA All-Star games. Regardless of how talented he was when he played professionally, most people will simply know Rodman for his wild hair styles and insane personal life.
Before Rodman was a lightning rod of media controversy in the 1990s, he was a pretty average-looking kid who was growing up in Dallas, Texas. Rodman seems like the type of person who has always had a very unique personality, and his time spent in the limelight generated plenty of controversial moments for the media to sink their teeth into.
6. Charles Barkley
Say what you want about his personality in the media these days, but back during his basketball playing prime, Charles Barkley was an unstoppable force on the hardwood. In fact, Berkeley was so dominant that many people consider him to be the greatest basketball player who never took home an NBA championship. Just to put his career into perspective, Charles Barkley was an 11-time NBA All-Star selection, a five-time All-NBA first team selection, and he was the 1993 NBA MVP.
Regardless of how incredible he was while playing basketball, Barkley was no stranger to taking some truly awful photos in his youth. Granted he has never been known for being an overly good-looking guy, but this picture is a clear indication of what Charles Barkley was working with back in the day.
5. LeBron James
Despite the talented people who are playing in the NBA right now, it seems as though the only conversation people want to have is whether or not LeBron James has surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player who has ever lived. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, LeBron James beat out Michael Jordan to make our list, though this has little to do with his accomplishments on the basketball court. Judging by this picture, LeBron has possessed an unfair advantage over the rest of this competition.
You see, unlike every other person in the world who has to go through puberty during their youth, LeBron James already looked like a 30-year-old man while he was still in high school. Given this unique advantage, LeBron was way ahead of the curve. It’s crazy to think that LeBron looks younger now than he did when he was in high school.
4. Ronda Rousey
She is usually ranked among the hottest athletes in the world today, but even Ronda Rousey had an awkward patch while she was growing up. Rousey would go on to take home the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing before embarking on an immensely successful career in MMA. Rousey would begin her mixed martial arts career by winning her first 12 professional fights, most of which ended inside of the first round. Though her professional fighting career ended with two consecutive defeats, Ronda Rousey will always be considered a legend of the sport.
Before she was the face of women’s mixed martial arts, Ronda Rousey was a nerdy looking kid who was making her way through life in Southern California. Ronda has even come out and stated that she was a massive fan of the Pokemon series, and that she spent a great deal of time in her youth fully immersed in the world of Pokemon.
3. AJ Lee
Before she left the company and stopped wrestling professionally, AJ Lee was perhaps the best female wrestler in the world, and she was a fan favourite while performing in the WWE. During her time with the company, AJ Lee was a three-time WWE Divas Champion and she also took home 3 Slammy Awards. She is still just 30 years old, and we have little doubt that she could come in and compete for a title right away.
Aside from being an incredibly talented in-ring performer, AJ Lee was also one of the hottest women in the WWE, though judging by this picture of her from her younger years, she got better looking as she got older. Hopefully AJ Lee will return to the WWE and catalyze the return of her husband CM Punk. The duo’s departure from the company has left many wishing that they were still around.
2. Adam “Edge” Copeland
If this photo didn’t already come with his name attached, we imagine that most people would have a hard time identifying who this future WWE star is. Adam Copeland was a kid growing up in Ontario, Canada before he tried his hand at professional wrestling. Going by the name Edge, Copeland would be a four-time WWE Champion as well as a five-time WWE Intercontinental Champion. Toss in 12 Tag Team titles and a 2010 Royal Rumble victory, and you have yourself one of the most impressive resumes of all-time.
Go ahead and take a moment to really let this picture resonate with you. It is said that the 1980s didn’t hit Canada until the 1990s, and the country used to be one step behind its brother to the South. Looking at his incredibly Canadian haircut, we are glad to see that Adam Copeland finally caught up with the rest of society.
1. Jeff Hardy
As one half of The Hardy Boyz, Jeff Hardy has long been considered one of the most electrifying and entertaining professional wrestlers in the world. In their younger and earlier days, Jeff Hardy was the more popular of the two brothers, and his push as a singles performer led him to great heights in the WWE. On top of being a six-time WWE World Tag Team title holder, Jeff was also a two-time World Heavyweight Champion as well as a four-time WWE Intercontinental Champion. He and his brother Matt achieved success in every promotion that they competed in, and their long-awaited return to the WWE happened at WrestleMania 33. The pair picked up right where they left off.
Jeff has always been known for having a very eccentric style inside the ring, and this photo from high school shows Jeff with perhaps the most clean cut lucky has ever sported. Seeing Jeff without his signature face paint and facial hair makes this photo incredibly awkward.
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