10 Most Famous Bow-legged Athletes in History

Some have said that the most talented athletes, especially soccer players, have bowlegs. Soccer players with bowlegs supposedly have the advantage of easily dribbling past opponents and passing.

Whether right or wrong, the perception still stands. Nonetheless, it’s not only in soccer that you see athletes with bowlegs. Athletes in other sports have them too. Let's look at ten famous players with bowlegs that conquer their sport.

10 Famous Bow-legged Athletes

Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe
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Someone can be born with bowlegs, or the condition can be induced due to intense training, ball kicking, or an athlete’s posture.

It is not uncommon for professional soccer players (and other athletes) to have this condition (source). Keep reading to find out ten famous bow-legged athletes.

1. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
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Born: 1987 in Rosario, Argentina

Argentina’s Lionel Messi is hailed as the most legendary soccer player ever. Finally winning the World Cup in 2022, the latest accomplishment in a lifetime of accolades, cemented his legacy as the world’s best.

He’s played in the most elite tournaments and for one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, Barcelona FC. Now, he’s at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), one of the world's wealthiest clubs, playing with Neymar and Mbappé. Messi was the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2022, according to Forbes.

2. Neymar

Neymar da Silva Santos
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Born: 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil

Playing forward for club PSG in Ligue 1 and Brazil’s national team, Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, is a legendary soccer player known for his remarkable skills on the field. He’s played in many FIFA World Cups, the Olympics, and exclusive tournaments worldwide. Forbes has Neymar listed as one of the highest-paid athletes in the world as of 2022, taking the number four spot.

Neymar is also good friends with Messi, and the world will have fun watching them play on the field together at club PSG along with Mbappé.

3. Rivaldo

Barcelona Stadium
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Born: 1972 in Recife, Brazil

Starting his soccer career in Brazil with club Santa Cruz, Rivaldo went on to have an incredible calling. He played for Barcelona and still ranks high on their list of players with the most goals scored.

Rivaldo played for many notable clubs around the world and was named part of the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 2002. In 2015, he retired and was an inductee into the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame (source).

4. Lebron James

Lebron James
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Born: 1984 in Akron, Ohio

Bearded, fierce, and standing 6-foot-2-inches, Lebron James is one of the world's most talented and famous basketball players who slays the court for his home team, the Los Angeles Lakers. “King James” is decorated with four National Basketball Association (NBA) championship titles, four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, two Olympics gold medals, and more.

According to Forbes, he’s one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, taking the number two spot behind Lionel Messi in 2022.

5. Mané Garrincha

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Born: 1933 in Magé, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Garrincha was a Brazilian footballer who can be described as one of the greatest dribblers and arguably one of the best soccer players ever.

He was the people’s joy and was nicknamed “The Angel with the Crooked Legs.” He helped Brazil win the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. Garrincha was the soccer superstar of his time (source).

6. Isco

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Born: 1992 in Benalmádena, Spain

Widely known for his soccer career at Real Madrid, Isco is one of the best when it comes to his dribbling ability. Attacking midfielders are known for their passing ability, but Isco spices it up more with his flawless technique and talent. He has played in four FIFA World Cups, three National Leagues, one Spanish Cup, and more elite tournaments.

Stay tuned to find out who the “Bandy-legged Beauty” plans to play for next since he most recently terminated his free-agent contract with Sevilla (source).

7. Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere
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Born: 1992 in Stevenage, England

Jack Wilshere played soccer for Arsenal in England as a midfielder but is now the head coach of the Arsenal U18s. He was incredible on the field early on and is known for his passing skills.

He earned 34 international caps for his country before retiring at 30 due to injuries. These days, he’s leading the field and world of soccer in a different way (source).

8. Robin Van Persie

Robin Van Persie
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Born: 1983 in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Mention Robin Van Persie and the picture of a perfect striker is likely to flash in your mind if you watch soccer. This Dutch national has played for both clubs, Arsenal and Manchester United.

He is known for using his left foot while shooting, which makes it more difficult for goalkeepers to face. He is hailed by the Netherlands national team as the all-time top scorer and has won the Golden Boot twice.

9. Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler
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Born: 1989 in Houston, Texas

NBA player Jimmy Butler who currently plays for the Miami Heat as a small forward and shooting guard, is another famous bow-legged athlete. He’s a six-time NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, and has many other honors.

He’s played for the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Philadelphia 76ers. According to NBC Sports, Butler is listed as one of the top 20 players in the NBA for 2022.

10. Floyd Little

Floyd Little Statue
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Born: 1942 in New Haven, Connecticut

National Football League running back Floyd Little was bow-legged. Teased as an adolescent, that didn’t stop him from becoming a legend at Syracuse or for the Denver Broncos. He was also a Pro Football Hall of Famer (source).

The “Uncommon Man” was an inspiration for many and talked openly about his personal life struggles. He led a great life and will always be remembered as a legendary sports icon.

Famous Bow-legged Athletes Are Unstoppable

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As you can see from above, bow-legged athletes have no limit in terms of what they can achieve. These athletes have inspired and continue to inspire others never to give up. Resilience and tenacity have helped shape their careers and turned them into celebrated sports icons worldwide.