Five Former No. 1 Draft Picks Whose Lives Turned Out Way Worse Than Expected

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We couldn’t imagine the feeling of being a young, 20-something athlete, awaiting the biggest day of your life—draft day. It’s probably a little nerve-wrenching knowing that your life is about to change, being handed a huge contract and carrying the weight of great expectations. And if you’re lucky enough to be considered the No. 1 pick, well then, it’s a not only complimentary of your sports skills, but also of your character. It takes something special to land atop the draft board, but as we’ve seen over the history of sports, not everyone is cut-out for it. These are some former No. 1 picks who we think you may actually be better at life than.

5. Alexandre Daigle, Ottawa Senators

We admit that, although we’re not super old, this one is even a little bit further back than we wanted to go when thinking about athletes to put on this list. Problem is, Daigle made it too damn difficult not to add him. Originally touted as the next Mario Lemieux, the right winger did nothing to help his new franchise do anything memorable—besides losing—as they only won a total of 33 games in the first three years with this guy on the ice for them. Daigle got handed the highest rookie contract in NHL history, yet spoiled any future success by totaling just 327 points in his 10 seasons.

4. Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards

In the history of the NBA, it’s safe to say that there might not be a more miserable top pick than Kwame Brown was in 2001 for the Wizards. For whatever reason, then Wiz President Michael Jordan thought that selecting the high school phenom would be the best decision for his franchise. Wrong. Brown blew while in D.C., yet somehow has managed to stay around the league, bouncing from team-to-team seemingly every season. Can you believe this guy has already managed to play 12 years in the Association, and still hasn’t lived up to the potential Jordan saw in 2001?

3. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders

When any sports fan talks about the ultimate draft bust, Russell’s name typically has a tendency to find its way towards the top—and with good reason. JaMarcus’ three seasons as a Raider were completely lackluster, proving that he didn’t have the wherewithal to hold down the responsibilities of being a starting quarterback in the league. Rather than inflate his stats, dude packed on the pounds, ultimately getting in trouble off the field to make matters worse.

2. Matt Bush, San Diego Padres

Unless you have a penchant for getting sloshed, resisting arrest and spending time in prison, than you undoubtedly have a better life than Matt Bush currently does. It’s not that we don’t feel bad for the guy, but after being handed millions of dollars by his hometown Padres, things went to his head—fast—with him drunkenly assaulting a high school lacrosse player with a golf club and yelling, “I’m Matt Bush,” during the altercation. In prison now, Bush actually chose to stay there because his alcohol problem is so bad. Like we said earlier, we really do feel for the guy.

1. Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers

Is it too early to declare the top pick in such a recent NBA Draft a bust? Maybe, but as a Cavs fan we’ve seen just about what we’ve needed to in order to declare this guy isn’t very good. Sure, he was injured during preseason and it set his development back and his weight increase, but dude is a professional basketball player, he should know that there are other ways to stay in shape. At the rate he’s going, Bennett won’t last past his rookie contract, which is unfortunate since that means we’d have to see him suit-up for another three-in-a-half seasons.

Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Activision


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