I was born in 1990, so when I was growing up and falling in love with sports, these were the athletes that helped shape my opinions. The very best of the best, I was too young to factor in what my favourite players may have been like away from the game. It seemed impossible that someone who got to do what they loved more then anything for a living, could be an jerk. As I got older, I realized that while some athletes really embrace the role of being a good role model, others are clearly not a fan of interacting with media and could care less what the public thinks of them.
As you’ll find out, some of the most talented superstars of the 1990s were completely and without question some of the biggest jerks around, including the greatest basketball player of all time.
Some athletes had their darker sides come out long after the 90s have passed us away, but that just worked to soil their image all the stronger. The reasons for why they are jerks is varied, but that is just going to make it all the more interesting to read through.
Whether you loved these athletes, hated them or didn’t know who they were, here are 15 of the biggest jerks from the 1990s. True proof that just because you are talented, does not mean you are not a complete jerk. These are ordered by star power, because they’re all jerks, but some are bigger names than others!
16 Jose Canseco
While Jose found some success when he entered the league in the 80s, including winning the 1989 championship, there is no doubt that 90s fans will never forget this arrogant loudmouth of a ballplayer. Jose was never afraid to boast himself up or display his aggression on the field, whether directed at his teammates or opposing players/umpires. Off the diamond, he had numerous run ins with the law that don’t exactly paint him in a positive light.
This includes an aggravated battery in 1992 when he rammed his wife’s BMW with his Porsche. Canseco was later arrested in 1997 after hitting his wife at the time.
15 Dave Meggett
Dave Meggett’s name might not jump off the wall at you, but there is no doubting that he had a respectable career. Playing from 1989-98, Megget primarily made a name for himself as an outstanding kick-returner for the New York Giants. On top of 3 All-Pro selections, Megget also won a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Megget was also an awful person off the field. With multiple arrests stemming around misconducts towars women, Megget was finally arrested and sentenced with to 30 years in jail after being convicted of sexually assaulting and robbing a young woman in South Carolina. Added bonus? He also won the Walter Payton Man Of the Year Award in 1988, something tells me he didn’t exactly keep living up to those ideals.
13 Evander Holyfield
Mike Tyson may be the more popular name now, but you could easily make the argument that Holyfield was a better boxer. Winning the two bouts against Tyson, including the infamous ear biting incident that occurred in 1997, Holyfield had a great career. Unfortunately, Holyfield has also been accused of hitting his wife in front of his children.
In a report, his wife (whose 17 years younger then Holyfield!) states: "He then hit me in the face, the back of my head twice, and in my back. I tried to get up and he told me not to get out of the bed. "
Candi Holyfield also talks about how the relationship has been emotionally abusive, and that the abuse started six months into their marriage.
12 Albert Belle
While Belle was not always on great teams, there is no argument that a 10 year career in the major leagues isn’t an accomplishment. Belle also had 381 home runs and was the leagues RBI leader in 93, 95 and 96. Belle was also notorious for his anger and was at the center of controversy at several parts of his career.
One of the incidents occurred in 1991 when he threw a baseball into the stands at a fan who was heckling him. Not to mention that he corked his bats so that’s not really a cool guy move.
Still aren’t convinced he’s a jerk? How about the fact that after vandals threw eggs at his house on Halloween (definitely annoying but…) Belle then ran them down with his car. He’s also smashed more equipment in locker rooms then can we can keep track of. Belle also was open in his hatred for the media, which doesn’t really make him a jerk, but it doesn’t earn him any brownie points either.
11 Charles Barkley
Even if you never watched Barkley play during the '90s, then you have surely seen him on TNT where he works as an analyst. On the court, Barkley had undeniable talent but it didn’t stop some players from thinking he was an jerk.
One of these people was Charles Oakley who stated he’s talented “but he's an a**hole. My thing is, when Barkley played basketball, he didn't practice, he wasn't a leader, he wasn't this or that, he just had natural talent so he got chosen to the Dream Team.” Oakley went on to state how Barkley was openly critical of others but did-so in a way that was not constructive.
Barkley was arrested for a DUI in 2008 and that is also an incredibly selfish and ignorant decision.
10 Lance Armstrong
Now let’s get one thing clear. 86% of the Tour De France winners since 1967 have been implicated in some form of doping, so the fact that Lance doped too maybe should not have come as big of a shock as it did. But it did, largely because Lance was apparently a jerk. On the track, he made few friends due to his competitive edge including saying to an injured cyclist and former teammate before a race: "Poor Jonathan and his stupid little French team."
After having his Tour De France medals stripped from him after the revelation of using performance enhancing drugs, Armstrong admitted that he was seeing a counsellor to help him better handle public interactions.
In a report with Time.com, Armstrong compared himself to Voldemort and stated ““God knows I could. I mean, I was a complete d**k for a long time. I led a life that for 20-30 years everybody just stood around and said ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ and then there was another ‘yeah’ and then a whole bunch more ‘yeahs."
9 Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez is a jerk for a lot of reasons. First off, using steroids? Not so good. Using steroids and handling it the way his P.R team did? Not so great either. A-Rod garnered no public sympathy and was labeled as an expensive jerk by most baseball fans.
An in person interaction with a fan, who asked A-Rod for a photo also led to a less then pleasant exchange.
“As I go over and ask for a birthday snap shot (he could of said no, and I was not interrupting a meal b/c he just sat down), A-Rod, his wife and friends start huffing and puffing. I walk away and A-Rod says 'Fine, whatever, sit down.'
After sitting back at my table, my friend Sam asks me if he was an A**hole. I said yes. Apparently, A-Rod heard this, shouted “Did you call me an A*8hole?” and gave my friend THE FINGER.”
It ended up going viral and caused many people to pose the question, is A-Rod an a**hole? (Yes).
He also cheated on his wife (allegedly with Madonna) which is hardly a good guy thing to do.
8 Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds has always seemed like he was a bit of a jerk when he was playing. Not that he was an outright bad guy, just that he didn’t seem super friendly. Bonds admitted that “I was preparing for my job. I thought at that time it was in my way in what I needed to do to go to work. So I was a little more standoffish or whatever you want to call it.” What is a bit more of a jerk move was cheating on his wife for years. There was also a story that Gary Sheffield went up to Bonds in 2001 and asked if he could train with him. Bonds agreed and asked Sheffield not to bring a car, and then when Gary showed up, Bonds left him stranded.
Sheffield then rented a car and when he arrived at Bonds house, Bonds freaked out and locked him out. What? That’s both illogical and a huge jerk move.
7 Eric Lindros
Eric Lindros clearly had an ego on him. Refusing to play for the team that drafted him is proof enough of that. Then you hear the rumors that he is a locker room cancer and brutal to play with on the ice, all this despite his immense talent. Combined with the fact that there is a rumor that his teammate, Rob Brind’Amour’s wife, slept with Lindros and it is clear why a lot of people consider him to be one of the biggest jerks in the history of the NHL. Lindros played until 2007, but he was most effective during the '90s, including winning the Hart Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award during the 1994-95 season.
6 Steve Austin
If you were watching wrestling in the '90s, there is not a doubt in my mind that there was no more of an iconic face than Steve Austin. Stone Cold dominated the ring with a badass attitude, a beer in hand, and charisma that helped win over the entire crowd on a regular basis. Outside of the ring, Steve has several occasions in which he was accussed of beating his wife. In 2002, Steve was arrested and pleaded no contest after striking his then-wife during a fight. Steve was ordered to a years probation, fined $1000 and had 80 hours of community service.
In 2004, he was again arrested after he wrestled with his girlfriend and ended up throwing her to the ground.
No amount of championships or great moments can make up for beating someone you love. Not cool, Steve.
5 The Ultimate Warrior
There are not a lot of people out there who are going to state that The Ultimate Warrior is one of the most charismatic wrestlers in the history of the WWE. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people out there that are going to be convinced that The Ultimate Warrior was also a jerk. Triple H stated that he was one of the most unprofessional wrestlers that he had ever worked with. While Warrior had a strained (at best) relationship with the WWE, there was still an outcry of sadness after he passed away in 2014.
In the mid 2000s, he also came out at a Young Republicans event and stated “queering don’t make the world work” which isn’t exactly the best thing to be thinking, much less to say.
…He also attacked Hurricane Katrina victims
“They never gave a care for order, cleanliness or function before, but now that they can get someone's attention who will possibly take over the responsibility of their life for them, they go on these tirades about how their life has been ruined…. And they are fat. Have you ever seen so many fat people? Poverty? Poverty of what? Having enough to buy so much food to eat that you become obese — this is poverty?”
4 Brett Farve
Now it is only natural that when Brett Farve signed with the Minnesota Vikings, that he pissed off A LOT of Green Bay Packer fans. Leaving your franchise is one thing, especially if they clearly were ready to move on, but signing with your rival? Ouch.
You also have the incident where Farve sent pictures of his genitalia to Jenn Sterger. Sending naughty photos to your partner is one thing but “"I just want to make it clear that I never met him, saw him, etc., because I don't roll that way…Some big boobed hoes have morals and souls, believe it or not," said Sterger.
The fact that Farve had been married for over 10 years and has several kids, also helps make this story a bit more despicable.
3 Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is one of the greatest boxers of all time. It is unbelievable that he has been able to revamp his public image in such a positive way, when you consider that the dude has also been a serious jerk in his life. Tyson has been married three times, and his first one lasted from 1988 till 1989. She described the marriage as “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine,” which hardly paints Tyson in a positive way.
Tyson’s second marriage lasted from 1997 till 2003. At the time of filing for divorce, Monica Turner stated that Tyson committed adultery throughout the marriage.
Not to mention that he bit off Holyfield’s ear during the '90s…so, probably not the nicest of guys, at least not back then.
2 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels is a Born Again Christian and is very vocal about his faith and the role that religion has played in his life. Yet to get to this place, HBK also had to come from a very dark place and that place for Shawn would happen largely during the '90s. Shawn battled an addiction to drugs as well as pain medication that made him incredibly volatile and hard to work with. During his retirement speech on Raw, Shawn mentioned to the crowd that there was a time in his life where the only people in the entire world that liked him, was the fans. He’s come a long way, but I bet Shawn would be the first one to admit that he was a jerk back in the '90s.
1 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, and for any kid who grew up in the '90s, that wasn’t even a question. Unfortunately, as I got older and started to read more about one of my former idols, it also became very evident that Jordan is a real jerk.
One of the more familiar stories is when Chamillionaire approached Jordan, someone he had admired for years, and asked for a photo. Jordan then cursed out Chamillionaire and said he would take a photo with him if he bought a jersey off of Jordan for $15,000. Seriously Michael?!
To make matters worse, Rick Reilly of ESPN described Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech as “It was, by turns, rude, vindictive, and flammable. And that was just when he was trying to be funny. It was tactless, egotistical, and unbecoming. When it was done, nobody wanted to be like Mike.”…hardly what you want. Described as a sore winner, it’s too bad that one of the greatest of all times is also incredibly bitter.