For each of the four biggest US sports, we’ve picked out five of the most shocking draft picks and surprising trades of all-time.
Such decisions can make or break an NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL franchise for years to follow and opinions are often divided on who will come out best from major moves.
The draft has been a regular source of controversy in the NFL, from fans heckling their own teams’ picks to players refusing to play for the franchise that selects them.
Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles were so disappointed by their team drafting Donovan McNabb in 1999, rather than the highly-rated Ricky Williams, that they booed their new man when he walked on stage to receive his new jersey.
However, the signing proved to be a huge success, with McNabb reaching the play-offs in eight of his 11 seasons in Philadelphia and becoming one of the NFL’s most accomplished quarterbacks.
Shock trades in baseball are almost as old as the game itself, with the Boston Red Sox’s decision to part ways with the legendary Babe Ruth over a century ago triggering one of sport’s most notorious barren runs.
Ruth went on to win four World Series with the rival New York Yankees while “the Curse of the Bambino” saw his former team endure an 86-year wait for their next title.
The draft has seen some memorable misses, such as the Houston Astros passing on Derek Jeter in 1992 and their scout Hal Newhouser, who had lobbied hard for the future Hall-of-Famer, retiring in apparent disgust.
An even more glaring oversight befell the San Diego Padres in 2004 when they used their number one pick on Matt Bush.
Their new man would be suspended for his involvement in a bar fight before he even played a game – the first of many arrests – and didn’t play in the majors until 2016 after a career overshadowed by off-field issues.
The NBA has also witnessed some questionable uses of the first overall draft pick, such as Anthony Bennett’s selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013.
Bennett needed five games and 17 attempts to register his first basket and lasted just four seasons in the NBA before leaving for Turkey.
One of the most shocking trades in basketball history occurred more than 30 years previously in 1982 when Moses Malone was deemed surplus to requirements by the new owners of the Houston Rockets.
One of the sport’s all-time great centers was at the peak of his powers and his new team – the Philadelphia 76ers – won the next NBA championship.
Arguably the most shocking trade in American sporting history occurred in the NHL in 1988; to this day it is referred to as “the Trade”.
The Edmonton Oilers’ owner decided to solve a cash shortage by allowing Wayne Gretzky – the greatest hockey player of all-time – to move to the Los Angeles Kings.
The strength of feeling was such that there were even demands for the Canadian government to block the deal.
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