In professional sports, much like other forms of entertainment, there are certain few who stand out enough to become a star, and fewer become superstars.
When people normally separate the difference between the two, a star is successful within their respective realm, but only known by people who follow the sport/genre. For example, in the NFL, Matt Ryan is a star; in the NBA, Kyle Lowry is a star; in rap, A$AP Rocky is a star. However, a superstar is somebody who transcends their field and is known of by people who normally wouldn’t have heard of them otherwise, because of their talent and public appeal. In the NFL, Tom Brady is a superstar; in the NBA, Steph Curry is a superstar; in rap, Drake is a superstar. At one point in his career, Cam Newton was a superstar.
Cam Newton was always perceived as having potential, which is why he was selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers in 2011, but it hadn’t always translated into team success. His first four seasons on the team, they only went above .500 one time in their 12-4 season and only won one playoff game against the Cardinals’ third-string quarterback. During the 2015-16 season, Cam Newton and the Panthers stunned the world by going 15-1 and making it to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 10-24. That season was huge for Cam, as he won MVP for the first time in his career and was practically seen as a household name due to his energetic and fun-loving personality. He even helped popularize two of the most popular dances of that year, the dab and the hit-them-folks, with his end-zone celebrations.
While all of that is fun and enjoyable to watch, it can show, to some people, the immaturity that sports analysts have pointed out about him and has helped aid him in his downfall from superstardom. It was first shown when he was “arrested and charged [November 21, 2008] with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice,” for stealing a laptop, which caused him to be suspended from the Florida Gators. There were also incidents where he would have teammates call him out for the lack of leadership that they felt he possessed when things would get tough within the game. Then, of course, there are the questions about his heart when he opted not to dive for the football when he fumbled it during the Super Bowl, and the way he couldn’t handle criticism during the post-game conference after he was showboating all year after every play. And most recently, his situation with the woman reporter that wound up getting him dropped from his Dannon endorsement. Whether he meant harm by it or not, it was unnecessary and just goes to fuel people who doubt his mental toughness and maturity with more ammo.
Cam Newton is still a tremendously talented quarterback, who’s almost as much of a running back at times, and it’s not completely his fault that his team hasn’t been doing as well since the Super Bowl season. They’ve lost key support, like Josh Norman and Ted Ginn Jr, and Cam himself hasn’t been quite as healthy. But, his fall from superstardom is his own doing due to the lack of maturity that haunts him from time to time, with examples stated earlier. He’s only 28, though, and still has plenty of time to grow as a player and a person. So, the question that I pose to everybody is whether you guys think he will ever reach the peak of superstardom that he once had?
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