1. Last night Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in history to reach 30,000 career points, but his career isn’t all about success. ESPN discovered that Kobe is on pace to have missed more shots than anyone in history by 2013.
You can read John Hollinger’s piece here.
This just goes to show you, even the greatest, most successful athletes in the world fail. And many of them don’t just fail. They fail at historic rates.
2. Cy Young gave up more hits (7,092) and more earned runs (2,147) than any other pitcher in history. Today the award for the league’s best pitcher bears his name.
3. Cal Ripken Jr. is a beloved legend and Hall of Famer. He hit into 350 double plays in his career, which is more than any other baseball player who’s ever lived.
4. Brett Favre threw more interceptions (336), fumbled more times (166), and was sacked more often (525) than any other football player in the history of the NFL. And (despite his controversial final years) he’s one of the greatest QBs ever.
5. Wilt Chamberlain is a legend, best remembered for scoring more points in a single game than anyone ever has. But he also missed 5,805 free throws in his career. That’s more than any other basketball player.
6. John Elway won multiple Super Bowls, was known as one of the most clutch football players of his era, and is a Hall of Famer. But even he had issues. He was sacked 516 times in his career. That’s good for second on the all-time list.
(A sack isn’t purely a quarterback’s fault, but he certainly bears part of the blame.)
7. Rickey Henderson was thrown out attempting to steal bases 335 times. That’s the most of any baseball player in history. But he also got away with it more than anyone else ever has.
8. Until Kobe catches him, John Havlicek’s 13,417 missed shots are more than any one else who played an NBA minute. He won eight championships and is a Hall of Famer.
9. Reggie Jackson struck out 2,597 times in his career, the most in baseball history. But today, he’s better remembered for his World Series heroics that earned him the nickname Mr. October. Also for the fact that he’s in the Hall of Fame.
10. The NBA has never seen a point guard as good as Magic Johnson. But no one’s turned the ball over more in the playoffs than he did, with 696 such mistakes.
11. Warren Moon is not just in the Pro Football Hall of Fame…he’s also in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame! But his 161 career fumbles is more than anyone but Brett Favre.
12. Nolan Ryan struck out more batters than any other pitcher. He also threw 277 wild pitches, which was enough to land him second all-time on that less prestigious list.
13. No one scored more points in a career than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t struggle. The man couldn’t stay out of foul trouble, amassing over 4,600 fouls in his career. It’s a record he probably doesn’t talk about.
14. Shaq is often referred to as the MDE (Most Dominant Ever) even though he missed a less-than-dominant 5,317 free throws in his career. Second only in awfulness to Wilt Chamberlain.
15. Pete Rose made 10,328 outs in his career. That’s not the best record to hold, but it goes nicely with the fact that he has the most hits too.
16. The Mailman might be the best power forward basketball has ever known, but literally nobody turned the ball over to the other team more than Karl Malone’s 4,524 times.
So in the words of a man whose coaching career had many ups and downs, and who faced down cancer only to become one of the most inspirational figures in sports history:
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