Top 15 Insane Performances That Launched Athletes to Superstardom

What is a “star” in terms of sports? In most people’s eyes, a star is someone who stands out above their peers for a number of reasons that could include their play on the field, their attitude on or off the field and their ability to draw a crowd.

What creates a “star” in sports? There are many different answers to this very broad and overarching question. For example, a player could come out of nowhere to win his team a championship, could realize his or her potential and become one of the best players in the league or simply put on one masterful performance that seems to transform them into a star.

The latter example will be the focus of this article. We will be looking at how one game, tournament or performance can turn a regular or unknown player into an absolute star. Now some of these players were known before these spectacular games, but there is little doubt that these fantastic performances helped to create and shape the superstar that these players have become.

So read on and enjoy reliving some brilliant performances that turned these athletes into stars!

15 Cardale Jones: 2014 Big Ten Championship

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

14 Madison Bumgarner: Game 7, 2014 Word Series

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

13 Buster Douglas: Fight vs. Mike Tyson


12 Roger Clemens: 20 Strikeouts in 1986

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

11 Usain Bolt: 2008 Bejing Olympics

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10 Carli Lloyd: World Cup Final 2015

Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

9 Adrian Peterson: 2007, Week 9

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

8 Pele: World Cup Final 1958

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

7 Jordan Spieth: Masters 2015

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

6 Stephen Curry: 54 Points on the Knicks

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

5 Tiger Woods: Masters 1997

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

4 Magic Johnson: 1980 NBA Finals, Game 6

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3 Johnny Manziel: 2012 Win against #1 Alabama

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

2 Michael Jordan: Game 2 of the first round of the 1986 Playoffs

William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

1 James Rodriguez: 2014 World Cup vs. Uruguay

It’s rare that one game can essentially make a player millions, but that is the case with Colombian star James Rodriguez. Before the 2014 World Cup, Rodriguez was an emerging player for AS Monaco, but not seen as an elite midfielder. That all changed with his brilliant performance throughout the World Cup, highlighted by a fantastic game against Uruguay when Rodriguez scored both goals in a 2-0 win, including the goal of the tournament. His great performance earned him a reputation as a superstar and a monster deal with Real Madrid.

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Top 15 Insane Performances That Launched Athletes to Superstardom