Top 10 “What If” moments in sports history

The “What If” factor in the sports is such a powerful element. One decision, action, or play can help shape the format of the sports world for years to come.

Breaking Color Barrier

Jackie Robinson, the first black MLB player, debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Robinson paved the way for more African Americans to flood into not only the MLB but all major professional sports.

Robinson was met with terrible resistance and was treated very poorly by most, even some teammates. However, the legend stood strong and kept fighting for what’s right. If it wasn’t for Robinson, is the color barrier in professional sports ever broken? If so, how long until it was broken if he doesn’t do it?

The Bambino Curse

Widely considered one of the worst trades in the history of sports, if not the worst, is when the Boston Red Sox traded some guy named Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees at the end of the 1919 season. What did the Red Sox get in return? No players, no draft picks, but $100,000 cash.

After the trade the Red Sox failed to win a World Series until 2004, which will forever be know as the Bambino Curse. If this trade wasn’t made, is Ruth the great he is thought of today? Is Boston the most storied franchise in baseball instead of the Yankees? We’ll never know.

Portland Draft Issues

The Portland TrailBlazers are best known for their complete failures when picking in drafts of the past. In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Blazers we’re blessed with the 2nd pick. They narrowed their choices to two guys; Sam Bowie from Kentucky, and Michael Jordan from North Carolina.

The Blazers ended up taking Bowie, who struggled with injuries his whole career and underperformed. They had the chance to redeem themselves in the 2007 draft. With the first pick, Portland took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, who ended up with the label as “biggest bust of all-time”. If the Blazers had any luck, do they end up being one of the most storied franchises in the NBA?

MJ’s Baseball Career

Everybody knows about the shocking decision made by Michael Jordan to retire from basketball to pursue a career in baseball during October of 1993. However, has anyone ever wondered how the NBA would’ve been shaped if Jordan hadn’t returned to play basketball in 1995? Would “His Airness” still be widely considered the greatest basketball of all time? Do the Bulls continue struggling without Jordan or do they figure out the answers without him?

Magic Consequences

Magic Johnson, one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, was part of the showtime Lakers. Standing at 6’9 and 215 pounds, Magic is known as one of the most unstoppable Point Guards to ever play.

Johnson’s career was abruptly cut short at the age of 32 because of the HIV Virus, forcing him to retire. Magic made attempts to return to the court in years to come, but it was never the same. Many believe that Magic would’ve been the greatest basketball player of all-time if he hadn’t been forced to end his career early.

Drew Bledsoe’s Backup

Tom Brady spent his first season in the NFL as a backup Quarterback behind Drew Bledsoe with the Patriots. Brady took over the reigns after Bledsoe fell to injury the next year, becoming just the second Quarterback to win a Super Bowl in their first season as a starter.

Drew Bledsoe’s backup then went on to win four more Super Bowls and three MVP awards. Brady went from and afterthought 6th round pick, to arguably the greatest football player to ever take the field. If Bledsoe hadn’t gone down to injury, does Brady still have the same successes that he does today?

Murder On The Mind

Sean Taylor, who was taken with the 5th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, was one of the hardest hitting safeties in NFL history. Taylor had his fair share of off-field issues, but had the potential to turn around a franchise with his play on the field.

On November 25th, 2007, Taylor was shot by home intruders, then tragically died the day after. Taylor appeared in two Pro Bowls in just three seasons and was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career. If it wasn’t for cold-hearted people, would Sean Taylor be considered the greatest Safety of all-time? Would the Redskins be a better franchise nowadays?

The King Of College

One of the greatest “what if” questions known to date is, what if LeBron James played college ball? No matter what school LeBron attended, they were going to be contenders for the Nationals Championship once March rolled around.

Does LeBron ever win championships in college? How many years would he have stayed? No matter how long King James stayed in college, it would’ve been likely that he wasn’t drafted by the Cavaliers. This reshapes the landscape of the NBA for the next two decades AT LEAST. Would LeBron have won more championships if he had been drafted into an organization that knew how to put a team around him?

The Gretzky Trade

On The 9th of August, the Edmonton Oilers traded away, unarguably, the greatest hockey player in NHL history and one of the most dominant athletes of all-time to the Los Angeles Kings. This trade is coined as what made Hockey more popular not just in Los Angeles, but around the country(USA). The unbelieveable trade is also believed to “redefine player movement throughout sports”. This terrible move left Edmonton in rubble. Is Hockey still as popular as it is today in America if this trade doesn’t happen?

Landon’s WonderGoal

The year is 2010 and soccer is yet to gain traction as a popular sport in America, until Landon Donovan changed that in the World Cup that year. The US Men’s National Team was playing their final group stage game against Algeria and desperately needed a goal to advance to the knock-out stages. There had yet to be a goal scored the whole game until the final minute of the game.

Donovan, the team captain, came out of absolutely nowhere to put the ball in the back of the net and send America to the next round. Since that goal, every US Men’s soccer game is nationally televised and has a watch party. Excitement for soccer in America is growing more and more everyday, all because of one goal by one man. If this goal never happens, does America even enjoy watching soccer to this day?



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