Top 3 Young “Sure Thing” Athletes who Failed in D.C. Sports History

I will start by saying many of you will disagree with the order of this list. It’s my opinion and I stand by it. All three of these individuals were victims of being overhyped. However, at least one of the three has nobody to blame but himself. 

3.) Kwame Brown: 

With the first pick in the 2001 NBA draft the Washington Wizards selected Kwame Brown from Glynn Academy in Brunswick Georgia. And the rest is history. Brown averaged 4.5 points per game and 3.5 rebounds in his rookie season. Brown never averaged more than 10 points per season in his stint with the Wizards, which ended after the 2004-05 season. After battling injuries and the greatest player of all time (Michael Jordan) on and off the court, Brown is considered one of the worst number one overall picks in the history of the NBA. He is also a big reason why the NBA does not allow players to be drafted straight out of high school anymore. How Michael could’ve used SOMEONE on that Wizards team to help him out. Not even a young Richard (RIP) Hamilton was enough. Brown went on to be a journeyman like so many other NBA players, most of whom were not drafted number one overal. (Stats via 

2.) Robert Griffin III:

Two first round picks and a second round pick to move up from number six in the 2012 NFL draft to number two. The Washington Redskins made arguably the biggest trade in draft history to guarantee a new quarterback. RG3, the Heisman winner at Baylor came of a spectacular season where he pretty much singal handedly put Baylor on the map in the BCS. In retrospect, nobody would’ve believed Griffin would belong on this list following his offensive rookie of the year season in 2012. Griffin threw for 20 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions and had the highest quarterback rating for a rookie in NFL history (at the time). Griffin also rushed for 7 touchdowns, while leading the Redskins to the NFC East division title. The first for the team since 1999. And then, it happened. Griffin’s horrific tear of the ACL and LCL in his knee was the cruelest of blows to the Redskins and all their fans. Upon his return from injury (albeit to soon) Griffin demanded a change in offensive philosophy. Griffin’s arrogance and pure cockiness drove him to demand an offense where his receivers were spread out and where he could deliver them the football. Similar to offenses run by Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. This did not fit Griffin’s skill set whatsoever. The zone read offense that was so successful for Griffin and the Redskins in 2012 was utterly useless in the years to come, as defenses adapted to the zone read scheme. Griffin has nobody to blame but himself for how things ended in DC. Whether it was throwing his offensive line under the bus in a live post game press conference, demanding a new offensive scheme, or his inability to slide or get out of bounds to avoid the big hit. Griffin, like every other quarterback was a target for defenders and at a slim 220 lbs (probably less) Griffin took severe punishment behind an abysmal offensive line. Griffin played one season with the Cleveland Browns and has since been cut. He remains jobless in the NFL. 

1.) Freddy Adu: 

Dubbed as the “next Pele” 14 year old Freddy Adu became the youngest athlete to sign a professional contract in United States history. He was drafted by D.C. United in the 2004 MLS super draft. Adu, quickly became a local and then national headliner. However, it quickly became apparent that the moment was too big for Adu in his rookie season. He needed more time to mature as an individual on and off the soccer pitch. Silly fouls and a lack of strength was a regular occurrence for Adu. I can distinctly remember Adu grabbing opponents by the shirt and dragging them on top of him to the ground in and effort to draw a foul. This was not a one time occurrence, Adu was immature and childish, then again he was only a 14 year old. In his 87 appearances for DC United, the attacking midfielder/winger only registered 11 goals. ( Adu has played for 12 teams around the country and the world both professionally and semi-professionally since his time in the nation’s capital and is currently unemployed in the soccer world. Yes, we were too quick to idolize this young boy but his immaturity did not help matters in any way shape or form. 


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