There have been some terrible athletes that have somehow made it to the pros over the history of American organized sports. Some of these guys were either unfit, got themselves out of shape, performed poorly in college but were somehow drafted anyway and some of these dudes looked like straight up insurance salesman or genetic freaks that had no business being paid to play any sport for any poor fanbase.
That fan base may bemoan that pic on draft day – gathered together within one of America’s premier entertainment halls, a fan base can slowly lose its collective mind because of the consistent drafting of poor players that will disappoint in a way that is extremely clear to the most casual sports fans’ eye. This has often occurred to hilarious degrees and yielded tons of wonderful video clips for other, more successful fan bases to enjoy and mock openly.
Somehow players that have no business even being spectators in the arena WATCHING pros given there’s about 20 other people watching that same event that are in way, way better shape than them, find a way to get out there and suit up. Even more ironic is that some of these guys actually end up becoming good players or they become great managers, GM's or personnel men; they just look like total loafs when they are supposed to be in the best shapes of their lives at 22 or 23.
Here are some stiffs that made it to the pros. Some flamed out – even spectacularly and historically – and some went away without much fanfare. Some of these guys became great players or coaches, even. Let’s take a look at our Top 15.
15 Cherokee Parks
Though he won a National Championship with Duke during his Freshman year, Parks was not exactly the heir apparent to Christian Laettner. Parks was more of a perimeter player than a power player and, though he was drafted by the Mavericks with the 12th overall pick of the 1995 draft, he never materialized in the NBA. His best season consisted of averaging 7 points and 6 rebounds per game. Big and doofy, the NBA was no place for Parks.
14 Fred Hoidberg
The Bulls’ rookie head coach will not only have to deal with a once-again-injured Derrick Rose, but will have a tough job taking over for beloved Tom Thibodeau. Before Hoidberg entered the NBA’s coaching ranks, he was a guard for Iowa State. He was picked in the 2nd round despite looking more like a golfer than an NBA player, averaging just 5.4 PPG over 10 fairly anonymous seasons.
13 Vernon Gholston
Ah, a delicious Jets draft bust. Nothing tastes sweeter! Gholston came out of that Ohio State linebacker cesspool that has rarely produced anyone of note. Of course, his draft workout and cut frame positioned him to be a freak that fooled many an NFL team. At one point, Gholston was positioned as high as a potential top 5 pick. The Jets naturally took him at #6 overall and Gholston never failed to disappoint in his 3 ‘seasons’ with the Jets. By 2012, he was out of football completely despite a comeback attempt or two.
12 Ed Lucas
Ed Lucas completely missed his calling. There has to be an HR Block or State Farm that could use his talents. If Barry Bonds was a 5-tool player then Lucas is most definitely someone that could help you do your taxes. Nonetheless, Lucas plods on at 33 proving all the naysayers wrong with his ability to play any position, come in for a pinch hit or figure out what kind of mutual funds package might best suit your investment goals.
11 Chris Weinke
For some reason, the Carolina Panthers at one point thought it was a good idea to draft a 29-year-old rookie QB that looked like your dad did about 15 years ago. Heismann or not, there’s just no point to it. Was Weinke supposed to wake up and have a body that was suddenly not in the throes of gradually decomposing? Was his bone mass supposed to be improving, his muscles thriving, his hormones flourishing? Nope. Not gonna happen. Dumb pick, Panthers. Apparently some teams didn’t take notes.
10 Tommy Lasorda
A Hall of Fame manager that won a couple World Series’ with the Dodgers and has an affinity for pasta and falling on his butt, Lasorda was also once an undrafted player. His 3 years as a pitcher yielded a scorching 0-4 record with a 6.48 ERA. That's just awful. Thankfully, Lasorda was better suited to managing than playing on the diamond. His 20 year career saw him win nearly 1,600 games and ended with him being immortalized in the Hall of Fame.
9 Jack Haley
Added to the Bulls mid-90s championship roster to help babysit Dennis Rodman, Haley benefited greatly from his relationship with one of the NBAs most dominant rebounders and notorious figures. During the ’95 season he only appeared in one game for the Bulls. Sadly, Haley died of heart disease at the age of 51 earlier this year.
8 Robert Swift
A lanky 7’1” Center, Swift was selected by the now-defunct Seattle Supersonics with the 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft. Swift was so physically just WRONG that he notched single season marks for points, rebounds and blocks during his first season that were all in decimal-point territory. In 2006 Swift was poised to become Seattle’s starting center but he tore his ACL in less than 1 minute of preseason action. Rough stuff.
7 Darko Milicic
The notorious ‘other’ top 5 pick in what can be considered the greatest Top 5 draft pick in NBA history. Detroit with the 2nd selection had a chance to choose from Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and instead took a doofy tall guy from Eastern Europe that would become a laughable footnote in NBA history. How downright New York Knicks of you, Detroit! Very impressive.
6 David Shula
As impressive of a display of nepotism as there has been in professional sports, Shula was seemingly picked by the Colts just because that franchise lost his Hall of Fame father Don Shula to the Dolphins back in the 1960's. Shula played one season for the Colts as a WR and KR and that was enough, thank you. Shula would then move on to the coaching ranks before running the Shula’s Steakhouse business and continuing to piggy-back on his father’s impressive legacy.
5 Tom Brady
Tom Brady came in as a skinny-shouldered, hunched over nobody that could barely hold up a job against the likes of Brian Griese and Drew Henson while at Michigan. He was so hideous-looking that the Patriots just threw a 6th round pick at him in 2000 the likes of which are usually reserved for practically pointless bargaining chips between teams and small cattle. Brady blossomed into a beautiful swan, however, as he became a Super Bowl winning QB, multiple MVP-winner, future Hall of Famer, husband of the world’s richest supermodel and all around cool guy. That cheating thing remains a bit of a problem, though.
4 Mark Madsen
Dance, Madsen, dance!!! Mark shimmy’d his way to a sweet tenure of paid courtside seats during the Shaq-Kobe dynasty. His reward to millions of Lakers fans? Doing the cabbage patch to quell their unquenchable thirst for awkward white boys dancing. The gods were good to LA then for it has rarely rained since.
3 Brian Scalabrine
Speaking of awkward white boys, what’s big, red and has legs and arms all over? A Brian Scalabrine. Scary, ugly and just downright weird-looking he somehow squeezed out a whopping 11 seasons in the NBA despite being probably the 16th guy on the bench. There are water boys and 70-year-old athletic trainers that most teams would throw on the court in a blowout before calling up ole’ Scalabrine. He has now moved from the coaching ranks to sportscasting for Boston, a role that requires him to use his athleticism and keeps him away from frightened children.
2 JaMarcus Russell
Russell was the number one overall pick by (of course) the Raiders back in the 2007 draft and Russell thanked Raider Nation by coming into camp overweight and finishing his career in football with them only 3 seasons later. Russell finished his career with a passer rating of 50, the lowest by a starting QB since 1998.
1 Ryan Leaf
The #1 draft bust of all time. The Colts took Peyton Manning with their #1 overall pick and the Chargers took Ryan Leaf – a dude that loved to party and was a total jerk to boot. He gave such little crap about how he was perceived or how he treated his own body that he flew to Vegas immediately after the draft, partied all night and was visibly hungover and yawning at his post-draft press conference. Ryan Leaf never fails to provide great material for us all.