Sunday, November 15, 2009

Worst Contracts in Sports

To meet the demands of a passionate fan base, professional sports team often sign big name players to big time contracts. Everyone wants to snap up the next Wayne Gretzky/ Michael Jordan before a competitor does. Sometimes, these deals go terribly wrong and end up on my top 10 worst contracts in sports list:

10. In 2000, the Texas Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to a 10 year/$252 million dollar contract. He is a future hall of famer, unless voters aren't sympathetic towards his admission to drug use. His time in Texas was futile so he was eventually shipped off to the Yankees so they could deal with the mess. So how many world series championships did he bring his baseball teams? 1. I think he is a good player, maybe even great. The hardware is what matters and 1 world series title just isn't good enough.

9. David Beckham was given a 5 year/$250 million dollar contract to bring fans and legitimacy to the MLS. Yes he does have quite a bit of fan fare everywhere he goes but the dude was way past his prime.

8. Jerome James was given a 6 year/$30 million dollar contract by the New York Knicks following the 2004-2005. He was touted for his decent performance in the playoffs for the Supersonics (12.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Truth is, the fellow barely belonged in the league. He averaged 3.1 ppg and 2.1 rpg for the Knicks. The man was paid $5 million a year to score 3 points per game. Isiah Thomas for the win.

7. I was a University of Kentucky fan growing up and also a fan of their legendary coach, Rick Pitino. In 1997, the Celtics brought him to the NBA under a lucrative contract of $70 million over 10 seasons. That's a huge contract for a coach, that's Phil Jackson caliber figures. Sorry but coaches shouldn't be paid that much unless they have a few NBA rings (as coaches) in their trophy case. Sure enough, Pitino was a bust. The Celtics didn't return to their glory under his tutelage and he was fired in 2001. They didn't even make the playoffs.

6. The 1998 NFL Draft would future two of the games future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, but it didn't. The first overall pick, Peyton Manning will go down as one of the great quarterbacks of the NFL. The second overall pick, Ryan Leaf will go down as the biggest bust in NFL history. Leaf and his 4year/$32.5 million dollar contract will be enshrined in trivia questions for future generations.

5. Grant Hill was the face of Sprite because image is everything. In College, he was the man. To this day Hill is still remembered for his successes with Duke. Right from the get go, Hill was a superstar in the NBA. He was one of the best all around players in the game. With his talent he was destined to end up in Cooperstown. The Orlando Magic signed him to a 7 year/$93 million dollar contract. Big money for a future hall of famer seems justified right? Here's the but. Injuries hampered his career and Hill only played 47 games in his first four seasons with the Magic. He never regained his superstar status. Although, he still made some All-Star games solely based on his popularity. The worst contract in sports history was awarded to a farmer boy from Gans, Oklahoma by the name of Bryant "Big Country" Reeves. He played for the woeful Grizzlies when they were in Vancouver and was given a lucrative $61.8 million dollar/ 6 year contract extension following two good seasons. He was an imposing physical presence with a decent mid range jumper. His next season (1997-1998) would be his best year, where he averaged 16.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 1.08 bpg. The big man had delivered for the franchise but only for that one season. He came into training camp overweight and the dream was over. Bryant Reeves would retire from the NBA in 2001-2002.

I read somewhere that Pavel Bure's 5 year/ $47.5 million dollar contract was a bad one. The man produced 58, 59 goals in his first two seasons and was still a point a game player the following three seasons. Knee injuries forced him to retire but Bure was still a great player. Florida wanted him to be the next great one, but there's only one and that's Gretzky.


Robyn said...

Agree with most of that, but A-Rod?

He may end up being the best player to ever play the game. He was also awarded the AL MVP during his time in Texas. He didn't get them to the playoffs, but it wasn't his fault, they never had good pitching. You can't win if you don't have good pitching. But A-Rod, at the time, definitely deserved to be the highest paid player in baseball, and he probably still does. Plus, he finally broke out of his playoff slump (took years, but hey), he's gonna be scary from here on out.