During the past few years, LeBron’s detractors have delighted over his crunch-time failures, labeling him one of the least clutch superstars in sports. He put that to rest by dominating the 2012 NBA Playoffs and winning his first title. And it’s a good thing he did, because a quick look at the other “least-clutch superstars” throughout history shows a disturbing trend.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Like LeBron, FDR became a star early in his reign. No question he was a heavy hitter when it comes to presidents, ably handling The Great Depression, polio, a few New Deals and WWII. Of course, when FDR got into the final moments of the 4th quarter of biggest war in history, he had a stroke and passed away. Not. Clutch.
Andres Escobar: One of the best Colombian soccer stars of the mid 1990s, Escobar’s crunch-time follies were his undoing as he scored the deciding goal when the heavily favored Colombian team faced the United States in the 1994 World Cup. Unfortunately, he scored it into his own net and was murdered by Colombian drug lords shortly after.
Barbaro: One of the biggest stars horse racing has seen, Barbaro dominated the competition in the 2006 Kentucky Derby. He was a heavy favorite to win the Preakness and many thought he’d be the first Triple Crown winner in decades. Instead, he panicked at the Preakness. He had a false start and then broke his leg, leading to a pitiful end to his racing career. Some say his leg simply crumbled from all the mental pressure Barbaro was facing. After five surgeries, he was mercifully put down by his disappointed owners.
George Armstrong Custer: A bonafide military badass, Custer was a key player in the Civil War and the Indian Wars in the 19th century. True, he graduated last in his class at West Point, but became a military superstar during the Civil War. Custer was such a badass even other countries were offering him sacks of gold to lead their armies. The defining moment of his legacy was the Battle of Little Bighorn, when Col. Custer turned down reinforcements, saying he “could whip any Indian village on the Plains.” His force was then decimated and Custer was knocked off his horse and died.
Amelia Earhart: This foxy pilot captured hearts from around the world after becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She went on to set a bevy of records, wrote books and became a political activist. In 1937 she decided to up her game and fly around the globe. During the most important flight of her life, with the eyes of the planet on her, she disappeared and was never heard from again.
As has been scientifically proven, an excessive lack of performance in the clutch can be fatal. LeBron James didn’t just save his legacy with his first championship win, he may have just saved his life.
Nobody’s a loser to their dog. Read Mark’s National Puppy Day roundup of The Best Dogs in History! –>