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6 of the Strangest Athlete Superstitions
4 min read
Michael Jordan You may be surprised to find out that one of the greatest basketball players of all times had superstitions, but even Michael Jordan himself was known for a specific quirk. While leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during his legendary career, the five-time MVP wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform in every game. In order to cover his lucky pair, Jordan began wearing longer shorts, which inspired a trend in the NBA. Kevin Rhomberg, Cleveland Indians Rhomberg played just 41 games in parts of three seasons with the Tribe from 1982-84. But in that short span, managed to assert himself as possibly the big leagues' most superstitious player ever. Rhomberg's most peculiar superstition was that if someone touched him, he had to touch that person back. Although this compulsion was not as much of a liability as it might have been in basketball or football, it still led to some odd situations: if Rhomberg was tagged out while running the bases, he'd wait until the defense was clearing the field at inning's end to chase down the player who'd touched him. Rhomberg also refused to make right turns while on the field, because baserunners are always turning left. So if a situation forced him to make a right turn, he'd go to his left and make a full circle to get moving in the correct direction. - Mental Floss
There's one thing that sets Swedish tennis legend, Bjorn Borg's superstition apart from the rest, and that is that it centered soley on Wimbledon. Borg would always prepare for the annual tournament by growing a beard and wearing the same Fila shirt. These rituals helped him bag an almighty five straight Wimbledon titles from 1976-1980. Borg's "lucky beard" has now become one of sports most popular superstitions and has been adopted by many in the NFL and NHL, including the 2009 Detroit Red Wings and Ben Roethlisberger during the Steelers 2006 Championship season.
While her on-court aggressiveness and competitive nature have given her a reputation as one of the greatest and most feared female tennis players of all time, Serena Williams believes much of her winning ways are the result of closely followed routines. For the 27-year-old, these quirks include bringing her shower sandals to the court, tying her shoelaces a specific way and bouncing the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second. The three-time Wimbledon champ will even wear the same pair of socks during a tournament run. Williams is so set in her superstitions, she has chalked up major losses to not following her own routine correctly. - Men's Fitness
Perhaps no clothing-related superstition has been quite as successful as Tiger Woods'. Each Sunday of during a tournament (typically the last day of the tournament) Woods wears a red shirt as an ode to his university, Stanford. Incredibly, Woods has won 14 majors and 71 total PGA tournaments, while wearing his Sunday attire!
Defensive tackle John Henderson prefers to take the first hit of each game before he even steps on the field. In the locker room, the big man has a trainer slap him full-force across the face. The 6-7 Henderson says it gets him pumped for the game. Since the tradition started when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Henderson has made the Pro Bowl twice. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders this season, so whether or not the slapping also works on the West Coast has yet to be determined. We're not saying you should have a buddy wail on you before your next backyard bowl, but Henderson proves a little good-hearted roughing up can improve one's intensity on the field—that is, if you believe it does. - Men's Fitness