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You don’t want to like them, but you just can’t resist. Honestly, identifying the “Bad Buys” was much more fun than writing about them…. So many to choose from… So hard to limit to just a few. Tough, but absolutely a fun task!

Bad Boys include those athletes you don’t want to like, but who are just too much fun not to follow. They push the edge… and somehow pull you right along with them. No matter what the sport, you’ll find them mixing it up, whether on the field, meeting the press, or enjoying life.

Talladega, AL 4-08 arriving for nascar race

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1. Kyle Busch, driver of the #18. Bold, brash, cocky and a hot-head, he thrives on the fans’ disdain and drives with a mission. This guy’s sneaky… you want to hate him, but darn if you don’t find yourself respecting his talent, and secretly liking him. He’s the driver fans just love to hate, but lately Kyle has settled down a bit. More and more cheers are sneaking through the requisite boos. Could it be his new wife Samantha Busch has been a calming influence on this bad boy of NASCAR? [November 7 update… Perhaps that “settling down phase” was put on hold last weekend in Texas? Did NASCAR over-react, or was the suspension appropriate to Kyle’s actions? As always, when it comes to Kyle Busch, opinions run strong—and diverse! But never dull!]

Joakim Noah

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2. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls. Exotic, French, with absolutely beautiful hair. Plays with the same intensity in the NBA as he did through Florida’s two National Championships. Outspoken, animated on the court, you either love him or hate him. It’s so much easier to just enjoy watching him play.

3. Zinedane Zidane, professional soccer. The name may not ring a bell, but this scene from the 2006 World Cup Finals definitely will. Captain of the French national team, a man many consider the greatest soccer player ever inexplicably and unbelievably…..well watch it here http://youtu.be/zAjWi663kXc This bad boy really is a good guy at heart. After all, he was defending his sister’s honor.

4. Andy Pettit, NY Yankee pitching great who intimidated many batters (and fans of opposing teams) with that intent stare before delivering an equally intimidating strike. It is purely because of this look that Andy makes the Bad Boy list.

 

Alex Ovechkin, warmups.

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5. Alex Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals, the yang to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Good Guy Sidney Crosby’s ying. Since bursting into the NHL in the 2005-06 season, the Russian star plays with a ruthless, sometimes “reckless” manner (as his coach puts it), picking up penalties, game misconducts, and suspensions along with 60-goal seasons and just about every award possible in the NHL. In 2011, the 25-year-old Ovechkin scored his 300th career goal, becoming the sixth youngest and seventh fastest NHL player to reach this milestone.

6. Mark Cavendish, the self-anointed “fastest man in the world,” is one of professional cycling’s young guns, leading the next generation of great athletes in the sport. Modesty does not come naturally to the native of the Isle of Man; but perhaps he’s just misunderstood, During an interview appearing in the French cycling magazine Vélo, Cavendish explains:

Mark Cavendish won Stage 1 of the 2010 Tour of...

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“When journalists at the Tour de France ask me if I am the best sprinter, I answer Yes, and that’s seen as arrogance, but if they don’t ask me, I don’t say I’m the best sprinter in the world.” Even his detractors have to admit that he often lives up to his claim, bursting with incredible speed to capture sprint victories in every part of the cycling world.

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