The Weirdest Superstitions In Sports

Humans are superstitious beings. Some of us avoid walking under ladders. Others turn away when a black cat is crossing the road. But few of us mortals can compete with pro athletes in this arena. Lucky socks, secret handshakes, gold thongs... Many of our favorite sporting legends have taken supertitions to a whole new level. Do these crazy pre-game rituals actually help them win? We may never know...

Serena Williams wouldn’t change her socks

Serena Williams is the most successful female tennis player in the Open Era in terms of Grand Slams. She won 23 of them, and only Margaret Court has won more overall. But despite her enormous talent, the American tennis legend has admitted to leaning on superstition to help her performance.

Whenever she was competing in one of the annual Grand Slam tournaments in Australia, France, England, or America, Williams would not change her socks once. Yes, that’s right: the tennis legend would wear a single pair for an entire tournament! And she pretty much invariably won, or at least “went deep.” It’s not the most hygienic thing to do, we’d suggest, but it clearly worked for her, so who are we to argue?

Steph Curry has a lucky pair of purple sneakers

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Steph Curry wouldn’t need any rituals or superstitions, given how darn good he is at playing basketball. But the Golden State Warriors hero is no different to other superstitious sportsmen: he has a specific pair of purple sneakers he wears for good luck.

These have become known as his “Purple Playoff Shoes’” by some, and when he wears them, the Warriors tend to win. It began in the 2022 postseason; Curry started wearing the shoes when the Warriors were 2-1 down to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, and they proceeded to turn it around by game six. He’s worn the Curry 4 Flowtros ever since, and the Warriors continue to flourish.

David Beckham had to have his fridge perfectly organized

David Beckham is one of the most famous soccer players ever. While he was not as talented as, say, Lionel Messi or Pele, Beckham transcended the sport in a way that few have. “Golden Balls” — as his Spice Girl wife Victoria nicknamed him — was noted for his bending free kicks, ever-changing hairstyles, and bizarre fashion statements. But the English soccer legend also had a weird superstition.

Beckham swore by a pre-game ritual that to us mere mortals might seem completely unrelated to good performance. He felt he couldn’t perform well unless he had painstakingly rearranged the fridge in his home, with no condiment placed without perfect symmetry. The essence of it seems to be that if this was not the case, then OCD-sufferer Beckham would not have been able to focus on the game fully. Instead, he’d have been obsessing over his disorganized fridge!

Wayne Gretzky rubbed baby powder on his hockey stick

It is almost unanimously accepted that Wayne Gretzky is the greatest ice hockey player of all time. But did you know that the Canadian had a really strange superstition before taking to the rink?

Yes, “The Great One” had a ritual for taking care of his hockey stick. The Hall-of-Famer carefully applied friction tape to the blade, before sprinkling baby powder on it, to ease the tape’s stickiness. He was also very particular about other sticks touching his. He once remarked that the baby powder was “essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you.”