Famous sporting superstitions

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Three Famous Superstitions of Professional Athletes

Professional athletes all have their own quirks, routines and outright superstitions that they believe help take their game to the next level.

Being a professional athlete takes a considerable amount of mental and physical stamina. Achieving any degree of success in the world of professional sports requires dedication, talent and sometimes, just a little bit of good luck.

Whether you believe in luck or not, there are dozens of pros who have developed odd habits and rigid routines that they are convinced help will help them win. These superstitions come in all forms and can be found across the entire realm of professional athletes. The list below showcases a few of the most famous superstitions of professional athletes.

Michael Jordan's Shorts

Lots of athletes believe that wearing a particular piece of clothing or a certain uniform will help guarantee a win. While this part isn't so unusual – after all, plenty of people have "lucky socks" or a "lucky tie" – Michael Jordan actually had to modify his whole style in order to accommodate his superstition.

Jordan had a pair of "lucky shorts" that were part of his practice uniform during his days with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Unfortunately, when he moved up to the Chicago Bulls, he couldn't exactly wear Carolina blue shorts with his red Bulls jersey. However, Jordan believed so strongly in the power of those shorts that he actually decided to wear them under his Bulls shorts! To hide this fact, he began wearing longer, baggier shorts, which caught on and is the standard uniform for professional basketball today.

Patrick Roy's Goalpost Communion

Patrick "St. Patrick" Roy is one of the NHL's most famous goalkeepers, and his strange superstitions have managed to become equally famous. He begins each game by first skating backwards to the goal box, because he believes that doing this shrinks the goal.

During every game, he actually speaks to the goalposts. He'll offer them encouragement, pat them throughout a game and thank them every time a puck is deflected. His strange but loving communion with his goalposts is what earned him the nickname of St. Patrick. 

Jason Giambi's Golden Thong

Yes, you read that right. The Colorado Rockies legend Jason Giambi had a very special superstition that he would turn to whenever he fell into a slump: A golden thong. At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, the mental image of Giambi shimmying into a skimpy gold thong is certainly amusing, but he swore it actually worked.

Over time, his golden thong went from being a source of ribbing from his teammates to a revered tradition. In fact, after seeing Giambi's superstition pay off numerous times, his teammates would even ask to borrow them to help end their own bad runs! It might seem ridiculous, but Giambi is a five-time All-Star player, so maybe there is a little something behind this famous superstition.

While these superstitions might sound a little crazy, it turns out that they can help professional athletes cope more effectively with the extreme pressure of competing on such high levels. So, even if you don't believe in luck or superstition, it's safe to say that these famous rituals really did help the athletes perform from a psychological perspective.