If you grew up in the 90s, doesn’t it feel like everything was better back in the day? Technology was behind compared to what it is today, though nobody seemed to care. Even the world of pro sports was behind the skill level of today, though again, the intensity just made it even more must watch television than it is today. In terms of nostalgia, names like Dennis Rodman bring us back to those day. Just an FYI, Dennis has changed drastically over the years, but his involvement was a little too obvious for us on this list.
Instead, we dug a little deeper in finding these popular 90s athletes that changed significantly under the radar. From figure skating stars, to former NHLers to even F1 drivers - we’ve truly got it all in terms of athletes from the 90s on the list. Our number entry might shock you the most coming from the world of baseball. He was an icon in the 90s though today, he’s frequently discussed for his current image, rather than his legacy.
Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to send the article to a fellow 90s lover. If you love nostalgia, this is the article for you, but we warn you, some of these transformations are pretty tough to handle! Without further ado, we turn back the clock and take a look at these 15 90s athletes you wouldn’t even recognize today. Let’s begin!
16 Jacques Villeneuve
The 46 year old legendary driver Jacques Villeneuve has become old and gray, sadly. Back in the 90s, the driver was part of the F1 boom, his popularity particularly rose in the mid 90s. The French Canadian drove for the likes of Williams, Renault and Sauber throughout his storied career. He even gave NASCAR a try at one point in time, though his results weren’t as impressive as his storied F1 career.
Nowadays, along with looking old and grey, he’s making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was recently audited by the Quebec government for unpaid taxes. He’s also pretty outspoken when it comes to the current crop of F1 drivers recently making the bold claim that Lance Stroll is one of the worst F1 rookie he’d ever seen. Now that’s a good way to motivate a fellow Canadian!
15 Mia Hamm
We know we’re getting old when the great Mia Hamm is well into her mid 40s at the age of 45. It seems like yesterday she scored the epic goal against Brazil back in 1999, but the reality, that was nearly two decades ago. Ultimately, she would retire following the Athens Olympic Games closing off her story book international career in May of 2004. In terms of her legacy, Hamm will always be remembered as a trailblazer in women’s soccer – especially in the US.
Nowadays, she’s aged gracefully and of course, looks different in comparison her days in the limelight. She serves as an ambassador nowadays along with working with various charitable organizations and other ongoing sponsorship deals. She’s also a happy mother of three nowadays, so she’s got her hands pretty full.
14 Tonya Harding
In terms of the absolute worse transitions from their days in the spotlight compared to now - Tonya Harding is a strong candidate for that award on this list, though we even have Sammy Sosa a little later, so really it’s a judgment call. The 90s figure skating athlete is now 47 and judging by the recent pics posted of the former US Olympian, she looks like a crazy cat lady barely getting by. Of course, Harding’s stock plummeted back in the mid 90s when she decided to hire someone for the purpose of breaking her rivals leg, Nancy Kerrigan.
She never recovered from the 1994 incident and would just continue to spiral. She even took on boxing at one point, yup this is real life folks. We’ll have Nancy a little later in the article and you guys can judge for yourselves which one aged gracefully and which turned into an old crazy cat lady person.
12 Keith Tkachuk
Seriously, if Keith Tkachuk ate himself back in the 90s, his current look would be the result. Okay, we’re being a little harsh, but the American forward seems to be enjoying life a little too much since retiring. He’s put on some serious weight looking unrecognizable and the picture above is clear justification of that as even his head appears to be overly large with the helmet merely floating on his noodle.
Okay, enough burying the guy and let’s put his accomplishments over a bit. The Massachusetts native was a durable winger spending 19 years in the league. He collected 500 goals, becoming just one of five to reach the outrageous number from his country. He was also the sixth American to hit 1,000 points. When talking about the greatest American to step foot on the ice, it’s hard to overlook Keith.
11 Lennox Lewis
A three-time World Champion, Lewis’ career reached a high point during the late 90s when he defeated Evander Holyfield unifying the titles and becoming the Undisputed Champion of the world. Lewis was part of an elite class of boxers and one of the last boom points for the sport. Looking back at his legacy, the boxer is regarded as one of the greatest ever with an incredible record of 41 wins and a mere two loses. Not to mention out his 41 victories, 32 were by the way of knockout.
Like most boxers, Lewis has aged and gained a couple of pounds but after rigorous dieting and training for some many years, who can blame the guy? Age 52, you can still catch the boxer working interviews for the likes of GQ magazine and even, giving his thoughts on the recent McGregor versus Mayweather fight. We wish the boxer all the best in his retirement.
10 Pete Sampras
To Pete’s credit, he isn’t the most unrecognizable face on the list, still maintaining similar qualities to his younger days, though, he does like older, hairier and dare we say, resembles a homeless person a little more nowadays? Resembles is the key word here folks as the legendary tennis player is doing just fine in retirement with his estimated net worth of $150 million. The cash really sums up how good of a player he was throughout his career.
Now 46 years old, the American began in the late 80s and would take his game to the next level during the 90s. Who can forget his career coming to an end at the 2002 US Open when he defeated his long time foe Andre Agassi in the finals - it was quite the ending for one of the greatest off all-time in the sport. Nowadays, he gives his perspective on the current crop of tennis stars.
9 Elvis Stojko
Perhaps one of the greatest names in Olympic history, Elvis Stojko is regarded as one of the most popular Canadian Olympians of all-time (particularly for his showmanship). A three-time World Champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist, Elvis helped put figure skating on the map. During the mid 90s, it was hard to find a more popular athlete in the space than the great Stojko.
Age 45, Elvis still takes part in numerous skates worldwide. Back in 2016, he took part in a Stars On Ice tour. He’s also taken part in a plethora of interviews, still rocking that trademark smile from ear to ear. Like some others on the list, he does look different today but to his credit - he’s aged gracefully still looking to be in great shape.
8 Jose Theodore
NHL players usually age gracefully, though as we saw earlier in the article, Keith Tkachuk was the exception, though he’s not alone – we’re looking at you Bret Hull. There must be something in the air in the United States, but that’s a different topic for another day.
Former Montreal goalie Jose Theodore hasn’t aged badly, though he looks significantly different to his days manning the net in Montreal and trying to score points in the club with Paris Hilton. The former Vezina and Hart trophy winner had a breakout season during the tail end of 90s. He would peak in 2002 winning both prestigious awards. Nowadays, you can find Jose on French-Canadian sports networks giving his thoughts on the current state of the Montreal Canadiens. As you might expect, he’s been a little harsh with the team as of late, but seriously, who hasn’t?
7 Ken Griffey Jr
The baseball world recently celebrated Ken Griffey Jr’s birthday. The iconic 90s baseball star celebrated his 48th birthday recently. Ken peaked in the 90s as he spent the entire decade trailblazing a path with the Seattle Mariners, staying with the team from 1989, all the way till his exit in 1999. It’s cruel to call him underrated, but in the midst of an era dominated by the likes of Sosa and McGuire, Griffey was quietly cementing a legacy as a true great. The baseball Hall of Fame agreed as he received an overwhelming 99.32% of the vote – a record for the Hall of Fame in terms of electoral vote percentages.
Working as a special consultant for the Mariners behind the scenes, Ken looks a little chunkier nowadays but has also aged gracefully heading towards his 50s.
Nowadays, when we hear the name Ronaldo - we instantly think of Real’s Cristiano. However, back in the 90s, it was the Brazilian Ronaldo stealing all the headlines as one of the greatest natural scorers in football history. When we think of the greatest strikers of all-time, Ronaldo’s name always comes up as one of the very best.
His later years were a little more troublesome however. The legend loved to party and it got him in trouble more times than not. Who can forget the 2008 prostitution scandal that saw one of his escorts leak controversial photos. Along with the partying, Ronaldo has put on some serious weight throughout the years, looking unrecognizable. Speaking of unrecognizable, that’s Diego Maradona in the photo next to him, another player who you can’t even recognize nowadays. He would have made the list as well, but the argument can be made that he peaked more so in the 80s than 90s. Nonetheless, like Ronaldo, he’s also aged pretty badly since the 90s.
5 Nancy Kerrigan
Unlike Tonya Harding who spiraled following the controversial incident, Nancy thrived and has done her best to remain in the spotlight ever since, taking on various public appearances. She was even recently featured on Dancing with the Stars, her run was quite successful - though she was ousted during the seventh round. The program proved the skater has aged gracefully and still looks stunning nowadays as she nears her 50s, truly remarkable stuff.
She recently took on a public interview discussing her current whereabouts, Nancy admitted family is her main priority nowadays. Kerrigan underwent some tough times prior undergoing several miscarriages, though she’s content nowadays. For what it’s worth, she still never received a direct apology from Tonya Harding.
4 Sergei Fedorov
If you don’t know who Sergei Fedorov is, please check your pulse. Before there was Pavel Datsyuk, there was Sergei Fedorov. The likes of Wayne Gretzky himself praised Sergei for his tremendous work ethic on the ice, the guy was a horse back in the 90s and one of the very first player’s in the league to put on emphasis on both scoring and playing responsible defensive hockey at the same time. Although we remember him for his dazzling skills up front, he was just as good at the back, so good that the Wings even tried him out as a defenseman at one point in time.
Today, the Hall Of Famer is back at home playing the role of General Manager for club CSKA Moscow, one of the top tier teams back in Russia. He appears in North America from time to time whether it be during alumni games, or special appearances for the Red Wings or NHL in general. The 90s star is inching towards his 50s at the age of 47.
3 Mike Piazza
A star in the MLB during the 90s, Piazza is regarded as perhaps one of the greatest catchers of all-time. Not only was he aggressive and edgy at the plate, but he could also smoke the ball when at bad, those over 400 career homeruns are evidence of that.
Along with Ken, who we discussed earlier in the article - Mike received a positive vote in getting elected into the baseball Hall Of Fame back in 2016 receiving a positive 83% of the vote. Along with his baseball HOF induction, the 49 year old Pennsylvania native is also a proud owner of a soccer club back in Italy, A.C. Reggiana. The club is still a long way away from playing in Italy’s top tier Serie A league, currently playing the C league.
2 Bryant Reeves
Looking at photos of Reeves back when he was drafted in the first round back in 1995 compared to photos of today in his 40s, you’d find it hard to recognize the former Vancouver Grizzly. His career was notable, becoming a big time fan favorite. His NBA journey was ultimately cut short as he called it a career during the early 2000s due to nagging back injuries. He peaked in the 90s becoming one of the more well known faces.
Since retirement, Reeves has lived a quiet life away from the spotlight. Living out of a cattle ranch, Bryant is enjoying his days alongside his wife and four children. We’ve seen a little more of the players as of late as he’s taken on more interviews than normal, along with making appearances for several regional Hall of Fames.
1 Sammy Sosa
When we think of the 90s and the most unrecognizable athletes from the time period – the name Sammy Sosa will forever be linked. The only player to hit 60 dingers three-times, Sosa dominated during his MLB run, particularly with the Cubs during his ’92 till 2002 run. He finished his career with an insane 609 homeruns.
Sadly, nowadays, he’s not making the headlines for his legacy, which also heavily debated but instead, he’s making waves for his blatant skin color change. Yes, Sosa has in fact bleached his skin multiple times. Although it does seem so peculiar, the bleaching business is actually worth multi-millions so he’s not the only one. Recent pics surfaced of him dabbing overseas, and fans went bonkers looking at how different he appears to look nowadays.