Father Time spares no man, yet that hasn’t prevented people from trying to stop him, or at least slow him down. The general perception is that athletes are rich, so they can afford to keep youthful features longer than us, mere mortals. They can’t age, they live on in record books and collective memories, so they must stay young, fresh and unbeatable forever. However, while this logic is not without merit, it’s also flawed. Athletes are human, hence prone to mistakes. These can’t be prevented simply by spending money – some things are just irreversible.
It’s impossible to stay young forever, but it’s also impossible to prevent people from trying. Athletes on this list wanted to stop aging by refusing to mature either physically or mentally. Some of them got into plastic surgery, others didn’t want to man up and embrace their changed role on a team. Instead of acting like savvy veterans, they were rather rookies, comitting stupid mistakes. Most of these they’ll never be able to live down, no matter how beloved they were in the past. This includes both, bad surgeries and tarnished reputations.
15. Johnny Manziel
Yes, Johnny Football (TM) is just 25, but don’t you think that he’s trying to come off as much younger? His spoiled, entitled attitude is characteristic of a teenager more than of a Heisman Trophy winner and a first round draft pick in the NFL. Manziel would definitely love to turn back time and get another chance in the league, but instead of manning up, he still acts immaturely and doesn’t show any promise of growing up. Currently rumored to join the CFL, Manziel’s camp definitely thinks that he still can turn things around, but since he’s already 25, it’s probable that his time in the NFL is over and his TD-to-INT ratio will stay at 7-7.
14. LeBron James
Receding hairline aside, LeBron James looks much older than he actually is. At 32, decades devoted to crafting his basketball abilities and season after season of many competitive games really show. Seven (and counting) NBA Finals in a row really took a toll on his facial features. Also, James is a veteran, yet he wants to appear much younger than he is, as he not only references sports games, cartoons and music made by guys much younger than James, but dresses rather youthfully. He seems a bit confused with his current role, as he wants to come off as a veteran, yet gets into teenage-like acts, most notably on the social media.
13. David Beckham
David Beckham was one of the first true superstar athletes, who transcended sports and became a brand. He and his wife Victoria, a former singer for the Spice Girls, became so popular in Britain, that one could confuse them with the Royal Family. When they came to the U.S., they were welcomed with such fanfare as if they actually were the princes of Britain. It was presumed that David could make soccer the number one sport in the States off his popularity alone. Well, it turned out that they didn’t posses as huge star power as they were believed to, but still they earned a lot of money trying to win over American crowds. Part of that was thanks to David’s charm and good looks. Unfortunately, years of Botox become more and more visible with time. The 42 year old still tries to come off as boyish far too often, despite being a grown man. It’s good enough that he’s over his hip-hop phase though, as the baggy pants and cornrows were not a good look for the Brit, but now his face seems emotionless and plastic.
12. Katarina Witt
Katarina Witt is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in figure skating. She won both trophies for East Germany, from which you can guess she is pretty, well… let’s say she’s no longer a teenager. To sustain her good looks Witt has undergone a couple of plastic surgeries, including breast augmentation. Known for revealing her cleavage in order to flaunt her curves, Witt was quite controversial during her stunt as a judge in the British reality show Dancing on Ice. Now in her 50s, Witt seemed to go out of her way just to look young and attractive. The Germans still love her, she’s an icon of winter Olympics and she definitely thinks that to remain that way she must also look younger.
11. Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney is another middle-aged man that’s been struggling with baldness. Rooney, just like James, is just 32, yet he looks much much older. This probably also has to do with exploitation, as Rooney has been playing top level soccer since he was 16, so that definitely contributed to his appearance. An integral element of it is his moving hairline, which rather quickly has left his head, well, exposed. He reportedly spent £30,000 on hair extensions, but it just didn’t seem to stay there. The hairline is showing again and Rooney looks really old. Much older than he actually is.
10. Rene Higuita
The man known as El Loco, who was capable of making incredible and horrendous decisions in the span of one game, is most fondly remembered for his scorpion kick intervention, which was equal parts insane and awesome. The man was rather rugged and shaggy, until he got so dissatisfied with his looks that in 2005 he underwent plastic surgery live on television. The new and improved Higuita, now calling himself “Handsome Rene,” looks almost unrecognizable. He’s now reminiscent of a leading man in a soap opera more than the heroic and reckless sports icon of Colombia.
9. Sasa Curcic
The Serbian midfielder is now known from the his reality show appearances on shows like Big Brother and The Farm, rather than his soccer career. For a long time he was playing in the Premier League and was apparently inspired by the British celebrity culture to embark on that type of career after his playing days were over. He was already preparing to become a media personality as a player for the Aston Villa, when he got a nose job. Curic claimed that his nose was too big and he was having trouble breathing. He might’ve looked better, but his position at the club suffered, since he didn’t inform his team that he was having the procedure and would not be able to play until his nose fully healed. It was later revealed that Curic also bleached his hair and capped his teeth. Apparently they also contributed to his breathing problems.
8. Carlos Boozer
This doesn’t refer to Carlos Boozer now, as he apparently accepted that he’s bald, but rather the process of his coping with it. He might rely on fedoras a bit too much these days, yet the power forward seems fine with aging. During his NBA career, Boozer was a very productive power forward, who never averaged less than 10 points a game. He had some post-season success in Utah and Chicago, but never won a ring. His most shameful moment on the basketball court came in Chicago, as Boozer was wearing what appeared to be “shoe polish.” In reality he decided to grow his hair back and someone proposed that he could cover it by dying it black. This didn’t turn out too good and he’s been mocked for it even now.
7. Greg Hardy
How old is Greg Hardy? Answer quickly, without consulting the Internet. If you answered “over 30,” you’re definitely in the wrong. Hardy was born in 1988, so he’s just 29, yet he’s already out of the NFL and participating in bizarre MMA fights. Once a great defensive end, Hardy fell off due to a court case about assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He was suspended for 10 games. The Panthers cut ties with him, he was picked up by the Cowboys, but was a bad influence on younger players and the team also gave up on him. Instead of being a veteran and leader, Hardy acts like a teenager, constantly arguing and throwing fits.
6. Dennis Rodman
Take away his sunglasses and Dennis Rodman’s face will give you nightmares. On the basketball court, The Worm was one of the best rebounders in league history. Even during the later years of his career, on the Lakers and the Mavericks, which were considered largely unsuccessful, Rodman was able to pull down 11-14 rebounds a game. Always sparking controversy whenever he went, Rodman chose flair over norm. That is why, even though he’s nearing 60, you’ll never see him dressed in clothes more suitable to his age. Then there’s also the sunglasses, which cover most of his face. They preserve his rebellious, youthful image, which he spent some time building.
5. Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona is almost 60, but it would be hard to tell when looking both, at his actions and his outfits. When he was coaching the Argentine National Team, he was forced to wear suits, but they never seemed to fit him. On the daily basis he prefers tracksuits, as they’re just more comfortable for his big belly. Diego is a man known for doing stuff that’s comfortable rather than one that would require him to do some actual work. He was a god in Argentina, actually has his own church, yet with time he turned out to be very human. He’s been battling obesity ever since his retirement, maybe earlier. Another thing he’s into is plastic surgery.
4. Sammy Sosa
How controversial your bodily modification must be that your past achievements, like the MVP title and seven All-Star appearances, are just a footnote when your picture pops up on television stations and in internet articles? This is exactly what happens to Sammy Sosa, who’s now more associated with skin bleaching than his impressive baseball career. He claims that the sudden change of color of his skin is a result of a bad softening treatment. Really? Because it looks like skin bleaching. You have to admit, he looks very weird now. Even if you’re not familiar with how he used to look, you’ll probably tell something is wrong with his face.
3. Paul Gascoigne
Gazza is a man who never grew up. He was a genius on the soccer field, playing as an attacking midfielder for Newcastle, Tottenham or Lazio, as well as the English National Team, yet he could never be relied on for longer stretches due to his off-field problems. Gascoigne had mental issues, which he tried to contain through drinking. As you can guess, it clearly had the opposite effect. He eventually lost control of his life. He’s been battling addiction for about 20 years, with rather mixed results. Recently though he proudly claimed that he has exchanged “booze for Botox” and got really into plastic surgery to regain the features he lost due to years of alcoholism.
2. Caitlyn Jenner
Before her sex change, Caitlyn, then going by Bruce, looked really strange. Young Jenner was a handsome, muscular guy, who looked the part of an Olympic gold medalist. However, as he got older, Jenner developed a fondness for plastic surgery. His sex change is obviously not a consequence of what is short of addiction to constantly “perfecting” his looks, but rather finally accepting who he was. Jenner got into plastic surgery in the 1980s, when he was going through a hard time – he was getting divorced for the second time and lost a lot of money. With his self esteem lacking, Jenner went under the knife multiple times just to feel better.
1. Mickey Rourke
Some might find the actor’s presence on such a list preposterous, but there was a time when Mickey Rourke took boxing really seriously. He loves the sport just as much as acting, which somewhat cost him, as his handsome face was destroyed by all the punches he took. As an amateur, Rourke was 27-3, which, you must admit, isn’t all that bad. Later on he focused on acting, but came back to boxing in the early 90s. His trainer was the legendary Freddie Roach and Rourke went 6-0-2. The legitimacy of those fights was however put into question multiple times. In 2014 Rourke, 62 at the time, fought in Russia against an American boxer, who came out later on about being paid by Rourke’s representatives to take a dive. The fights might’ve been staged, but the face suffered for real. Rourke had a lot of plastic surgeries. You be the judge if they did more good than harm.
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