Can’t Be Bothered: Nikola Jokic and Other Athletes Who Stopped Caring

Darren - June 21, 2023

Can’t Be Bothered: Nikola Jokic and Other Athletes Who Stopped Caring

Darren - June 21, 2023

Sports fans think that their favorite sports stars care as much as they do about everything. They think they eat, sleep, and breathe football, basketball, or whatever they do. Maybe they believe that the athletes value their image or connection with supporters. But the reality is that many elite athletes, like Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic, don’t care.

Today we’ll look at some of the most famous athletes who don’t care about the things that fans might think are important. It’s fascinating and even infuriating to some fans to see them throw away opportunities. However, sometimes we might agree with their perspectives about money or fame. With the Nuggets recently winning the NBA title, Jokic is the current figurehead of this school of thought. Check out Jokic and the athletes who just don’t care what people think right here.


Nikola Jokic

Including Jokic on a list of athletes who don’t care may seem ridiculous. After all, Jokic is one of the most impressive stars of the modern NBA era, now possessing a championship ring and multiple MVPs. But Jokic honestly doesn’t care about fame or celebrity lifestyles. Jokic simply wants to play basketball and collect his check (via Fox News).

Fox News

The response Jokic gave to winning his first NBA Finals with the Nuggets was golden. A reporter asked Jokic if he was excited about the parade, but Jokic shook his head and said he wanted to go home. It’s typical behavior from Jokic, whose play makes him the center of attention. But his personality proves that Jokic simply wants people to leave him alone. With Jokic currently one of the biggest stars in basketball, that’s a somewhat difficult position for the NBA. However, Jokic wants what he wants, and that’s a more simple life than most pro sports stars. At the end of the day, Jokic has earned the right to do what he wants.

Sports Illustrated

Albert Haynesworth

Haynesworth was once a Tennessee icon after legendary careers with the Volunteers and the Titans. But everything went wrong for the defensive tackle when he joined the Redskins. It seemed like a no-brainer for Washington to hand the new free agent a massive contract. They hoped his experience and talent would take them to the next level on the defensive side of the ball.

AP Photo

But some athletes don’t care anymore after receiving a huge paycheck. They down tools, gain weight and stop putting in any effort. This sums up Haynesworth’s short stay in the District of Columbia as it was horrendous. He became one of the biggest free agent busts ever but he had no regrets (via The Athletic).


Derek Jeter

Jeter may be a surprise inclusion on this list because he was a force of nature for the Yankees. The five-time World Series champ has more individual accolades than he knows what to do with. But Jeter isn’t a diehard baseball fan and doesn’t miss the sport at all. In 2015, he admitted he and his wife don’t care about baseball anymore.

Entertainment Tonight

Hannah Jeter never watched an MLB game until she met her husband. Meanwhile, Derek is more interested in his businesses and living the high life than traveling to ballparks. Ironically, one of the most marketable players on the planet immediately cut ties with baseball after his retirement (via New York Post).


Floyd Mayweather

Mayweather was one of the greatest boxers of all time and retired from professional competition in 2017. The Michigan native walked away with an undefeated 50-0 record after he defeated former UFC champion Conor McGregor. But now he spends his days beating inept opponents in exhibition matches for outrageous sums of money.

Men’s Health

‘Money’ will face anybody as long as the paycheck is big enough. He faced YouTuber Logan Paul, reality star Aaron Chalmers, as well as John Gotti III. People criticize him because they think he’s diluting his legacy. But many elite athletes don’t care as long as they have enough money to fund their crazy lifestyles (via TalkSport).

Sports Illustrated

Gareth Bale

Bale scored some crucial goals for Real Madrid during his stay there but the fans hated him before he left. That’s because he had a poor injury record and also wanted to finish his contract. Los Blancos tried to offload him to China but Bale rejected his. Meanwhile, he posed with an infamous banner that showed where his priorities lie.


It read: “Wales, Golf, Madrid… In that order.” This was a massive turning point for Bale in the Spanish capital because they despised him after this. But many athletes don’t care as long as they are receiving their salary. Bale achieved an incredible amount in the sport but fell out of love with it in the end (via The Guardian).

Elite Sports NY

Jeremy Shockey

Shockey was a budding superstar before the arrival of Eli Manning to the Big Apple. But he didn’t have a good relationship with the quarterback and also had a long injury record. The Pro Bowler saw a stark decline in his later career because he stopped caring. He was more interested in partying than being with his teammates.

Sporting News

Fans saw this when the injured star opted to stay in a luxury suite with his friends instead of with the Giants roster at the Super Bowl. Pictures emerged of empty beer cans and trash after a big party. This dented his reputation because people thought he didn’t behave appropriately. But Shockey didn’t care because it’s his life (via Bleacher Report).

Sky Sports

Rob Gronkowski

Nobody in the NFL loves partying more than ‘Gronk.’ The former Patriots star loves socializing more than Karl Marx. Some athletes try to maintain clean-cut images but others don’t care. Gronkowski fell firmly into the latter camp because he partied with pornstars and had the time of his life.


He also proved that some players don’t care as much as the fans about big games. He infamously took his shirt off with Matt Light and partied like it was the sixties after the Giants beat the Pats in 2012. This infuriated many fans because they thought it was inappropriate after an emotional loss (via People).


Stipe Miocic

On paper, Miocic is arguably the most successful UFC heavyweight ever. The two-time champion faced the best of his era and provided entertaining fights. But the Cleveland native never used his profile to pursue a movie career or anything of that ilk. He still works as a firefighter in his local community because that’s his main passion.


Miocic is one of those athletes who don’t care about their sport when they’re not competing. He dedicates himself to his training camps but he’s not a massive MMA fan. There are more important things in his life than watching fights or being on TV. The UFC didn’t always like this but that’s the way he is (via MMA Fighting).


Alexander Semin

Lucrative contracts can make or break a franchise. The Carolina Hurricanes took years to recover after they handed Semin a $35 million extension. This was a massive error because the small market team invested a lot of faith in the Russian star. But the enigmatic goalscorer downed tools after his new deal.


He always faced questions about his work rate and defensive ability but he compensated with his scoring record. When the goals dried up it became clear that he was a contract bust. We’ve seen this kind of thing happen in every Major League but it’s always infuriating. But it didn’t bother Semin because he had a fat bank balance (via SBNation).

Fox News

Kyrie Irving

Some athletes don’t care what people think about them. Irving is a dubious example because he’s a unique and enigmatic person. He holds some strange views about the world but he stands by them with conviction. This cost him dearly during the global health crisis because he refused to receive vaccinations.


This went against New York State legislation and he couldn’t play home games for the Nets. Meanwhile, Irving has made a bunch of anti-semitic comments and other statements. He also infuriated Boston when he abandoned the franchise. The NBA star has amazing skills but he’s not a great human being (via Fox News).


Derrick Lewis

These days, most elite athletes receive media training and deliver mostly bland answers when journalists ask them questions. But some sports stars don’t care about what people think. They’ll say the first thing that comes into their head and leave fans shaking their head in shock. Lewis is a perfect example of this because he’s one of the funniest men in the world (via Daily Star).


The Houston resident is an elite UFC fighter and a knockout artist. But his most famous moment came after he defeated Alexander Volkov in 2018. He stunned the Russian fighter with an incredible comeback win. But the most iconic part was when he removed his trunks to Joe Rogan’s confusion. “My balls was hot,” was Lewis’s hilarious reply after Rogan asked him why.


Chris Kluwe

Kluwe is one of the most unique former athletes on this list. He was an excellent punter for the Minnesota Vikings before they exiled him from the team. Many players don’t care about social issues but Kluwe wasn’t one of them. He spoke out defending gay rights and this cost him dearly.


But now Kluwe cares more about World of Warcraft and soccer than the sport where he made his money. He doesn’t follow the Vikings but nobody can blame him for this. Meanwhile, he’s a published author and a popular speaker. Life is going well for Kluwe and he doesn’t need football to make it better (via InsideHook).

Johnny Manziel

The Browns made Manziel a late first-round pick despite knowing it was a risk. He won the Heisman Trophy after an electric career with the Aggies but there were questions about his personality. Everybody knew that he had arrogant traits and loved partying. But Cleveland desperately wanted to find a franchise quarterback.


Unfortunately, Manziel wasn’t the man they were looking for. He spent more time drinking than playing and broke the fans’ hearts. Teammates and coaches criticized his immaturity and he quickly fell out of the league. It was a massive waste of talent but some players don’t care what anybody thinks (via Sportskeeda).


Tyson Fury

Many athletes claim that they don’t care about money. Fury said this after he pretended to retire. He said: “I’m very, very happy and very content in my heart with what I’ve done, what I’ve achieved. It’s not about money for me. A lot of people in this world, everything is about money, and more money and more money. I’ve got enough money (via The Guardian).”


It’s easy to say this when he already had tens of millions in the bank. But it is interesting to think about when athletes know that it’s time to hang up their gloves or cleats. Every sports star reaches a point where they begin to decline. However, most of them don’t retire before they reach this point.


Aaron Rodgers

Some athletes obsess over their image and want everybody to like them. But Rodgers doesn’t fall into this category because he’s one of the most selfish individuals in the NFL. This trait helped him rise to the top of the sport and become a Super Bowl champion. It also made him very rich when he joined the Jets in 2023.


Rodgers told Sirius XM (via The Mirror): “I care more about being respected, especially by my teammates, than liked. Every great leader, that needs to be the focus. If you are worried about being liked over being respected then you are never going to stand for anything and you are not going to get respected.”


Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

Some athletes admit that the main reason why they commit to their sports is because they’re good at it. They don’t love what they do but accept that it’s the best way to make money. That was the situation for ‘Rampage’ Jackson who has more interest in video games than fighting.

L.A. Times

The former UFC champion said (via MMA Fighting): “I just thought it was a blessing that God could give me something I could make money doing. When I was a kid I got tired of fighting. I didn’t want to be a fighter anymore. But I was just good at it. It was just something that was in my blood. Some people are fighters.”


Serena Williams

When people think of athletes that don’t care about their sports, Williams probably won’t spring to mind. The serial winner was one of the most dominant superstars of her generation. There’s even a movie about how Richard Williams guided his daughters to the elite level. But shockingly, Williams isn’t a big tennis fan anymore.


In 2012, Williams gave an interview after the first round of the Australian Open. She revealed (via Tennis This): “I don’t love tennis today but I’m here, I can’t live without it. There’s a difference between not loving something and not being able to live without it. I have never liked sports and could never understand how I became an athlete.”


Francis Ngannou

Ngannou is one of the scariest fighters ever with ferocious knockout power. However, he’s also one of the most powerful in a different sense because he refused to back down during UFC contract negotiations. Many fans complain the officials don’t care about their athletes. Ngannou agreed and gave them a list of terms that they refused to accept.


In the end, he stuck to his guns and walked away from the promotion. Some critics thought that he made the biggest mistake of his life. But he joined the PFL and got a lucrative contract that awarded him stakes and the option to have a boxing match. Ngannou didn’t allow outside voices to influence him and got what he wanted (via Bloody Elbow).

BVM Sport

Curtis Martin

Martin was another player who didn’t care about his sport. He was an excellent running back and he became a Hall of Famer. But this was against the odds because he didn’t love football.  In one interview he said: “Most of these guys have lived for the game of football, and eat, breathe, sleep football. And I was someone who was somewhat forced to play football.”


The reality was that Martin grew up in a rough Pittsburgh district and wanted to make it a better place. He knew that his profile and money could make a massive difference. That’s why he dedicated himself to being the best player he could be. Nonetheless, Martin’s heart was never in the game (via NBC Sports).

The Athletic

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

Most soccer fans expect their teams’ stars to show complete dedication. But Assou-Ekotto was an enigma during his time with Tottenham. In a 2010 interview, he said: “Why did I come here? For a job. A career is only 10 to 15 years. It’s only a job. Yes, it’s a good, good job and I don’t say that I hate football but it’s not my passion (via The Guardian).”

Daily Mail

Many people respected his honesty because he was extremely frank about the situation. He was also professional on the field and performed well. But his main interest was music and this was where he focused his attention after he retired. It’s worth noting that just because someone is good at something, it doesn’t mean they love it.

Daily Star

Amanda Nunes

Some athletes are amazing at their sport but they don’t care about fame. Nunes is the greatest female fighter ever but she didn’t want to be a celebrity. She could have been a megastar because she knocked out every female bantamweight and featherweight champion ever. Meanwhile, she’s also an LGBT icon and could have used this to her advantage.

New York Post

But she saw fighting as a way to maximize her earnings and open her gym. Then she ensured financial security before starting a family with her wife. She never wanted to do interviews or be a movie star. Nunes openly stated: “I’m not the beautiful girl and I don’t have the blonde hair and the blue eyes. But I’m OK with that (via MMA News).”

Bleacher Report

Andre Agassi

Agassi’s searing autobiography was one of the most shocking books ever. He instantly became a figure of sympathy after it emerged he faced many demons throughout his tennis career. The superstar wrote: “I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.”

Sky Sports

We automatically assume that athletes love what they do but the reality is that it’s a grind for many of them. They do it because they know that they can make money but it’s not what they loved. Agassi hated his existence during his professional career and this made life a nightmare for him (via TalkSport).

The Wall Street Journal

Bill Belichick

Technically, Belichick isn’t an athlete but we don’t care because this is too good not to include. He is the most successful NFL coach ever with six Super Bowl victories as the Patriots created a dynasty. Meanwhile, he blatantly cheated with numerous scandals along the way because he wasn’t interested in protecting his reputation.

Sports Illustrated

Furthermore, this cynical, serial winner proved that he isn’t interested in public perception. He regularly wears ripped and worn clothing that looks like a homeless person’s castoffs. Belichick exists on a unique plane where all he cares about is winning. Nothing else matters to the veteran NFL coach (via Sports Illustrated).

Sports Illustrated

Isaiah Wilson

Most college players feel like they’ve won the lottery when an NFL team drafts. It instantly guarantees them thousands – if not millions – of dollars if they fulfill their contractual obligations. But some college stars don’t care about making it at the pro level. Wilson was a phenom for the Georgia Bulldogs but wasn’t interested in the NFL.

New York Post

The Titans notoriously made him a first-round pick in 2020 but he spent more time in jail than on the field. Finally, they released him before he spent two weeks with Miami. Then Wilson walked away from the biggest opportunity of his life to pursue a rap career. It’s one of the strangest stories in football history but he didn’t love the game (via Sports Illustrated).


Conor McGregor

Many athletes don’t care what people think about them but McGregor takes this to the next level. The Irishman is a billionaire and spends his days partying like a wild man. Some critics think that he abuses cocaine but it’s never been proven. But one interview with Ariel Helwani showed he’s on a different playing field.


‘The Notorious’ appeared to pause and pass gas at one point during the conversation. Meanwhile, he insisted that he wasn’t going to drink the pint of stout in front of him because he was going to train later. But his crazy mannerisms showed that something wasn’t right. It’s safe to say that a pint wasn’t the biggest problem in his life (via FirstSportz).