Sport Stars ─ Changed Your Mind...?


This is a thread about sport stars you started off as disliking, and yet somehow they have won you over for whatever reason.

To demonstrate what I mean I'll start with:

Snooker star Steve Davis, I used to loathe him he won everything he was like a robot to watch and as far as I could tell he had absolutely no personality, and yet as the years have gone by I've come to think of him a great bloke, I find him extremely likable he has a sharp wit and a extremely dry sense of humour, and I really did get him wrong in the beginning.

I think I changed my opinion of him when I heard him say this on some TV show I can't remember which.

Question, So how do you get on with Alex Higgins, Steve?

Answer, He's a great bloke in fact he saved my life once.

Stunned, the person who asked the question said. Really how?

Steve answered. Well I left a club one night and these six blokes set about me they were kicking and punching me, I thought I was going to die, but then Alex came out of the same club he lit a fag and said "Okay that's enough now lads".

I cracked up and realised the guy did have a personality and a great sense of humour...

So have you changed your mind about somebody famous, in the sporting world? either liking or disliking at first...
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Lance Armstrong.
When he was riding for Movistar he, like them, was a nobody and he wasn't even a name to me.
Then, on his return from his cancer with Postal I thought, OK, here's a guy that's mentally focussed on continuing to defy the odds, and he did.
Then, in 2003, I felt there was something not quite right, I don't know quite why. Why not before? Well, winning 5 Tours of France had been done before but his were not the epic performances of Indurain or Lemond (the only multi winners that I'd seen) and that's why I hadn't thought anything was wonky.
But I decided in 2004 that he was cheating through dope, I thought he was lying 100% and I was dead certain that in order to get away with it others were too.
I think the man is a lying, cheating, bullying **** and if he wants me to say it to his face then I will.
But he'll have to pay the airfare.
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Titch, I saw Vinnie in one of his later matches against Southampton. In that game I saw Matt Le Tissier scoring the goal that was a runner up in best goal for the season and Vinnie owning an entire side of the pitch - he was a God!

Not good at the words about how the changes took place, but Fernando Alonso, I hated the spoilt brat who drove for the world conquering Renault. I have an huge respect for the professional who drives for Ferrari today.

Sebastien Vettel, hated, loathed him on so many level when he seemed to be being spoon fed championships, but it's undeniable he's maturing and heading that way - another year or so, and forgetting the way he treated Webber (don't even bother trying to persuade me that Schumi ever went that far) and I reckon I could have a little man love developing....

Bob Willis - I always felt insulted that a non-Somerset playing South African could play for England... He was just a great bowler and gradually wore me down until Headingly 1981 - I watched the entire test, we were losing, then Beefy Botham got a brilliant innings and gave England just the slightest of chances and Bob came in to lead the strike bowling - over after over he marched out to a couple of strides short of that boundary and then just thundered in, staring down the batsman the whole way, just seeming to gain speed - 8 for 43, the stuff of dreams!
I started watching Formula 1 when I was around 10 years old (1984). It was at the beginning of Nigel Mansell mania. As I grew up Nigel got the quick cars his natural talent deserved and Ayrton Senna emerged as his main rival. As I was young and Nigel was my hero I automatically disliked his biggest rival Senna. In fact I detested him.

However as the years progressed I started to appreciate the talents of Senna on the track and also started to hate Nigels exhausted hero routine at the end of every race when everyone else jogged up to the podium. Nigels multiple retirements didn't help his maintenance of popularity either, in my mind.

I think the real turning point of Senna going from hated to hero was 1993 Donington. I liked him by that point but he became my hero on that Sunday. How can you not appreciate a man who can perform miracles in a race car.
And then at Imola in 1997 I lost my Hero. It still upsets me now when I think about it.

Senna - hated to hero.
Mansell - hero to irritating brummy git.
I never did like Mansell and the main reason for that was his play acting at the end of the race, the, oh I'm knackered crap, he even carried that shit on into his brief touring car career..

Alex Zanardi drove those things with no legs ya big fairy and he never ever complained...
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Nelson Piquet snr - really disliked him as he was beating my first hero in F1, Alan Jones. Then, as the years went by he grew and grew on me especially as he trounced Mansell again and again. My respect for him really grew when he moved to Benetton as he looked washed up at Lotus but came back fighting in a competitive car.
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Nigel Mansell - Went from liking and supporting him to hoping he would just leave F1 alone....

Alonso - For various reasons back in 05/06 I really couldn't stand the man, even worse when Flabby was anywhere around. When he went to McLaren the thought of him got even worse as he was now being a stroppy spoilt brat in the team I supported. Even when he went to Ferrari I thought he was pushing his luck with some of the things he got up to, but he seems to have matured a lot in the past few years, and while he can still have the odd tantrum I think he is OK right now, I may even come to like the guy if he keeps this up...
Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello and although I never saw him race I also disliked Nelson Piquet, but just judging on the stuff I had read about him. I watched a documentary a few months back, and he actually seems to be all right.

However I still dislike Fittipaldi, A. Senna, Piquet Jr., Nasr. I just don't seem to like Brazilian F1 drivers, which is weird because I have always been interested in the country, and was amazed by their football team back in 2002 when I watched my first world cup.
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