Get your game face on. An old expression used by every coach or parent of an athlete at every level. Your game face is just a technique to get your mind focused on the task at hand, the big game or match that lies ahead. It also has the benefit of intimidating your opponent and gaining an edge even before the competition has begun.
Some sports more than others place a higher value on establishing intimidation and using your face to strike fear and doubt into your competitor. Hockey players grow beards during the playoffs, tennis players can have stare downs as they cross over between games and of course boxers and MMA fighters have that all important face to face chat with the referee prior to getting at each other.
In all those circumstances having a mean mug to show your opponent is extremely helpful in getting inside your competitor’s head. Any opportunity to strike at your opponent’s confidence and get them doubting their own ability or believing you are invincible, works to your advantage. That is why so many athletes put a great deal of preparation and showmanship into their appearance because they know their opponent is watching.
Unfortunately for some athletes having that battled, scar laden face to show opponents is not available. Their genetic makeup which helps to give them the ability to perform at the highest level in their field has also bestowed upon them the face of an innocent child. It’s possible these select few athletes have used their youthful looks to their advantage in lulling their competitors into a false confidence, believing that anyone who looks that young can not be much of a threat. Soon to realize they were mistaken after being reminded not to judge a book by it’s cover.
It’s also enjoyable for fans of every sport to see an athlete competing against the world’s best when it appears from their baby face that they should be at home learning to drive. These unique athletes have a way of inspiring fans and reminding us all that it doesn’t matter what you look like in sports as long as you can play. Sports is one of the truly merit based areas of society and the baby faced athlete reminds us of that each time they step out to compete.
Here are the top 15 baby faces in sports.
15. Ricky Rubio
Thank God Ricky Rubio has been able to grow a beard. Rubio is going to be a very important player for the progression of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are a young team overall, so Rubio’s baby face fits in perfectly.
Underneath the beard he has grown this season is a face that screams of innocence, with his wide eyes and boyish haircut. He really has that look to him that he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
14. Manny Machado
Manny Machado may eventually start to show his age (22) but for now his ears are reminiscent of a young Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle. His Baltimore Orioles teammates probably find him adorable and must crack some jokes in the clubhouse. Thankfully, Machado is a heck of a young third baseman. Perhaps Machado should consider growing some facial hair, if he can.
13. Mike Glennon
His subtle facial hair isn’t fooling us. Mike Glennon looks like he’s only in the initial stages of puberty. He saw some playing time as a starter this past season, as Josh McCown proved not to be the answer. The Buccaneers seem set to move on to a franchise quarterback in the upcoming draft, i.e a Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, so it appears Glennon’s baby face will remain in the background, if in fact he returns to the Bucs.
12. Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin looks like the kind of guy that could pass for a junior high student. If he was a teacher, you probably would second guess whether he was a teacher or a student. Lin has bounced around the league somewhat in the last couple of years. That’s part of what his appeal was during the days of “Linsanity” back in New York. He didn’t have the look of a typical NBA player, but he sure looks lovable.
11. Brendan Gallagher
Brendan Gallagher has endeared himself to Canadiens fans, due to his relentless effort and willingness to go to the dirty areas of the ice despite his small size. You probably won’t find a feistier player at his size and of course, he has one of the most adorable smiles you could ask for. He really gives you the impression of the little brother you have that’s a real pest and would get on your nerves, but you would go to no end to defend him because he’s your pest.
10. Jared Spurgeon
Jared Spurgeon has quietly carved out a nice career for himself as s productive defenseman for the Minnesota Wild. Drafted in the 6th round and listed as only 5-foot-9 and just 185 pounds, he is certainly undersized to play defense in the National Hockey League. Defying the odds, Spurgeon has made himself a regular in the Minnesota Wild lineup and at age 25 has a promising career ahead of him. Now if hockey doesn’t work out, Spurgeon has the face of a neighborhood newspaper delivery boy, so as long as the publishing industry stays afloat and if Spurgeon’s NHL contract can’t make ends meet then you might see Jared dropping off the morning edition of the Minneapolis Tribune.
9. Isiah Thomas
This old school hall of famer who is currently 53 years old, still looks as though he could be entering his sophomore year at Indiana where he was an outstanding collegiate point guard for the Hoosiers. The only difference from college era Thomas to the modern edition is his hairstyle has gotten more reserved. When he played at Indiana and then with the Pistons in the NBA, Thomas would smile at you and speak with a soft tone and then cut your throat out on the basketball court. It was quite a juxtaposition to watch such a young looking player compete with such ferocity.
8. Matthew Stafford
Matt Stafford like many youthful looking men will forego shaving for a time and allow some fairway to appear on their face in the faint hope of having their looks match their age. This technique rarely works, but lucky for Stafford as an NFL quarterback he can hide his floppy hair and chubby child-like cheeks beneath the blue and white helmet of the Detroit Lions. Stafford is 27 years old, but if he ordered a beer outside of Detroit, the server would certainly ask to his I.D.
7. Buster Posey
Possibly the best catcher in baseball and the heart and soul of the multiple World Series championship teams in San Francisco, Buster Posey has the perfect name for a baseball player and someone who looks 12 years old. His child like face belies the toughness of a gladiator as Buster recovered from season ending surgery in 2011 after a home plate collision to return to full time duty behind the plate and resume his already stellar career. The Giants are in good hands when Buster is calling the game.
6. Michael Carter Williams
Michael Carter Williams is a professional basketball player for the Philidelphia 76ers. At 6-foot-6 he has the height of a professional basketball player but the face of a stock boy working in your neighborhood grocery store. Williams is 23 years old and being selected 11th overall in the 2013 NBA Entry Draft, have many believing he has a bright future in basketball, but if he ordered off of the children’s menu, no one would bat an eyelash.
5. Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler is a professional golfer, but it’s unclear if he’s golf game will ever be able to grab more attention and headlines then his hair and looks. Rickie is 26 years old and been playing professional golf for several years now, despite climbing the money list and rankings, Fowler still looks as though he is a lost member of the boy band One Direction. He’s baby face is sometimes hidden beneath his oversized hats and covered by his shaggy hair, but when visible he looks like the face on a poster inside your teenage daughter’s locker at school.
4. Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward is a professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz. He is from the great basketball state of Indiana that has produced many great basketball legends and memories including Larry Bird, coach Bobby Knight and was the home of Reggie Miller through his fantastic career with the Pacers. This is a great basketball tradition Hayward is stepping into and through his first few years as a pro he appears to be up for the challenge.
3. Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy has the name you would associate with an outlaw from the Old West. The NFL quarterback is currently plying his trade with the Washington Redskins, firing bullet passes at receivers instead of holding up banks like Billy the Kid. McCoy was a star at the University of Texas, setting numerous school and NCAA records and receiving a number of honors for his exemplary play. McCoy has yet to reach the same heights in the pro ranks as he did in college, but with his youthful looks, if he were to go back to school he would not look out of place even though he is currently 28 years old.
2. Steph Curry
Steph Curry has established himself as a bona fide NBA star. He’s gone from just being one of the best shooters in the NBA to one of the best point guards to one of the leagues best players. His ability to handle the ball, get to the basket and of course his deft shooting touch make him a nightmare to defend. Steph sports the popular chin strap look with his facial hair, but he still he looks like he should be the starting point guard for a high school team, not the Golden State Warriors.
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Number one on our list is the NHL’s first overall draft pick from 2011. “The Nuge” as he is referred to is a silky smooth centre that has the difficult task of turning around the perennial basement dwellers known as the Edmonton Oilers. Ryan has a slight build being as he is just 21 years old and it has made life in the NHL a challenge. RNH has already missed considerable time due to injury but when healthy he has already proven to be a regular point producer at the NHL level.
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