'Choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life,' or so says an old idiom, but we all know that the truth is most people do not love their jobs. Most would consider sports stars to be some of the most notable exceptions though. Whether you love soccer or hockey or anything in between, when you see people spending their entire time doing something you love and being paid handsomely for the privilege, many are a tad jealous.
The thought that an athlete could actually have no interest or not particularly enjoy their sport seems alien to some. However, it has been claimed that a large number of athletes simply view their sports as a job like any other. Some may have enjoyed the sport as a child but once the pressures and strains of it set in, they began to lose their affection for the sport. For some, the loss of love for the game can spell early retirement, whilst others can be indifferent to their sport for an entire career, yet experience great success.
The list features athletes from eight different sports. There will be many more athletes out there who don't love their sports, strange as it may seem, but have never openly expressed that this is the case. All the athletes on this list were either known to not be particularly fond of their sports or expressed as much directly themselves. Here are the top 15 athletes who hated their sports:
15 Brock Lesnar - Professional Wrestling
Wrestling may not be a sport, but you try to look at Brock Lesnar and say he's not an athlete. Lesnar took the WWE by storm in 2002, winning the company's world title and quickly became one of their biggest stars. However Lesnar left the company in 2004, as he had grown to dislike the grueling travel schedule of the business. He returned in 2012 as a part-time performer after a career in MMA. In a recent interview with fellow wrestler Steve Austin, Lesnar said he likes performing, but never embraced all aspects of the business and he views it as a job. On leaving the business in 2004, he said:
14 Ronnie O'Sullivan - Snooker
13 Chris Kluwe - Football
The genius child of a doctor and a scientist, Chris Kluwe fell into football rather by accident. When his high school team needed a kicker, Kluwe found out he was really rather good at it. A couple of decades later and Kluwe had spent eight years with the Minnesota Vikings, as well as more brief spells with the Seattle Seahawks and the Oakland Raiders.
12 David Bentley - Soccer
11 Gary Lockett - Boxing
10 Espen Baardsen - Soccer
9 Bobby Zamora - Soccer
8 Numerous Boxers
7 Stephen Ireland - Soccer
6 CM Punk - Professional Wrestling
5 Elena Delle Donne - Basketball
4 Joe DiMaggio - Baseball
Few, if any, MLB players have transcended American culture in quite the way Joe DiMaggio did. His impact upon music, film, art, TV and many other aspects of American culture is titanic. He is best known for his 56-game hitting streak, a record which still stands. DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star player in every one of his 13 MLB seasons. He is consistently ranked among baseball's elite, despite not being able to play the sport between the ages of 28 and 30 due to World War II.
3 Benoit Assou-Ekotto - Soccer
The most openly admitted soccer player to not be a huge fan of the sport is Benoit Assou-Ekotto. The French-born Cameroon international sparked controversy in 2011 with his comments, with some outraged by what he said and other launching to his defense, praising him for his honesty and frankness on the matter, echoing what they believed many players felt but simply didn't have the courage to admit. Asset-Ekotto said, "I don't say I hate football, but it's not my passion." Adding that he often felt uneasy with the seeming hypocrisy of the Premier League.
2 Chris Eubank - Boxing
While most boxers who aren't entirely keen on the sport were covered in entry number 8, special room had to be made for Chris Eubank, who seemed to have an even stronger dislike of the sport than any other. "I hate boxing." That is a quote of Eubank's, and one of many on his rather low opinion of the sport which made him a superstar. In the build up to his most notable fight, against Nigel Benn, Eubank said, "Boxing is a mugs game, 99.99% of boxers get used and abused and disfigured."
1 Andre Agassi - Tennis
There could only be one man to head this list, and that is Andre Agassi. An eight-time Grand Slam champion, and widely regarded as one of the finest tennis players of all time, no athlete has been as successful in their field in spite of having a deep dislike for their sport as Andre Agassi. The Las Vegas-born legend of the sport has always been something of an enigma, and when he spoke so strongly of his dislike for tennis in his 2009 autobiography, some were unsure of the honesty in his words.
Agassi wrote, "I play tennis for a living even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion and always have." As well as his eight Grand Slams, Agassi also won an Olympic Gold medal in 1996, staggering achievements if he really did hate tennis. Having dropped to world no. 141 in 1997, Agassi made an incredible return, becoming world no. 1 again in 1999 and embarking upon the most successful period of his career.
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