Introverted Leaders: The Newest Trend in Pro Sports


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What truly defines a “leader”? In the workforce, it’s often described as someone who can take command either through their words or actions. In professional sports, we can base leadership either through press conference responses, their actions on the sidelines, or even by nitpicking certain statistics.

Still, how come we can’t pinpoint the best overall leader in the history of sports? While household names such as Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and New England Patriots’ Tom Brady come to mind, more vocal athletes such as Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton and Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper have filled leadership roles as well.

However, how many times have we seen introverted athletes fulfill the most scrutinizing position in sports?

New York Times Images

In the MLB, this theory applies to none other than Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout. In arguably the largest sport city market in the world, Trout somehow continues to stay away from the spotlight. In fact, in July of 2018, LA Times called Trout one of the best, but least recognizable faces in baseball.

Still, Trout checks all the boxes in terms of leadership. He is nothing short of respectful to the press and the baseball community, has no issues off the field, and is contemplating whether the 27-year old could be the best baseball player of all-time by the end of his new contract.

Perhaps the issue is marketing within the MLB, but this sense of introversion is just a common trend upon all sport platforms.

San Francisco Chronicle Images

What about a player who is under one of the largest spotlights currently in Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard? Back in his days with the San Antonio Spurs, ESPN was able to create an entire segment solely based on getting Leonard to laugh.

Even with a rather unorthodox personality, Leonard is one of the NBA’s largest superstars and most efficient leaders. In fact, he is regarded as one of the best two-way players in recent NBA history.

Once again, Leonard is a prime example of introverted leadership. His responses are blunt, but he puts up results and now has two NBA Championships because of it.

Getty Images

Lastly, one of the most overlooked introverted athletes happens to be Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck. The Stanford alum is often viewed as “awkward” or “nerdy” to some, but based on his numbers in healthy seasons, you would think he’s a superstar.

Like the aforementioned names, Luck is a likable figure that simply prefers to stay out of the spotlight when it’s not needed. Can you blame him?

Having to fill the shoes of future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning, it’s almost humorous how Luck avoided the national media spotlight through a strong work ethic and overbearing respect for his teammates, as well as his competition.

Featured Image: USA Today Images

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