The Funniest Athlete Temper Tantrums

By (Contributor) on January 21, 2014

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Touchdowns and home runs are fun, but nothing grabs a sports fan's undivided attention like a total on-field meltdown.

There's just something about the theatrical temper tantrums of pampered millionaires that is objectively hilarious.

This list examines some of the more memorable and especially funny psychotic episodes of sports stars.

Athletes are the focus, which disqualifies coaches, referees and fans from joining in on the madness. Sorry, guys, maybe next time.

Meet the athletes who won't take a called third strike sitting down.

Honorable Mention: Wally Backman Has Issues

*Warning: NSFW language*

This list is about athlete temper tantrums, which disqualifies sports lunatic staples like Bobby Knight, Lou Piniella and Bobby Cox.

However, minor league manager Wally Backman deserves special mention for this epic gold standard in meltdowns.

I can say without qualification that this will be the funniest thing you see today.

Marcos Baghdatis Destroys Four Racquets

Date: Jan. 18, 2012

During an Australian Open match against Stan Wawrinka, tennis player and apparent psychopath, Marcos Baghdatis destroys four racquets out of frustration.

This clip is best experienced with Daniel Powter's musical accompaniment.

 

Brett Lawrie Will Not Leave Quietly

Date: May 15, 2012

Frustrated by a pair of borderline calls from home plate umpire Bill Miller, Brett Lawrie makes a Bruce Banner-like transformation into an enraged monster.

Apparently, Four Loko is still readily available in Canada.

 

Derek Anderson's Heart Is No Laughing Matter

Date: Nov. 30, 2010

There's nothing funnier than when phonies are confronted with inescapable evidence of their insincerity.

In this particular case, a reporter asks (then) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson why he was seen laughing on the sideline with his team down three scores in the fourth quarter.

"You think I was laughing about something?" Anderson says, "I take this serious! Real serious! I put my heart and soul into this every single week!"

Unable to shout the video evidence into oblivion, Anderson storms off the platform indignantly. 

Maurice Hall's Mic Drop in the Big House

Date: Nov. 30, 2013

In 2014, the worth of an on-field temper tantrum will be measured based on its ability to become a shareable GIF.

In that sense, Maurice Hall's one finger salute to the University of Michigan faithful is the holy grail of absurdly laughable meltdowns. 

Brian Wilson Makes Point to Water Cooler

Date: July 1, 2011

The ritualistic destruction of Gatorade jugs is nothing new in baseball.

But, Brian Wilson's four-act assault on this particular cooler is ridiculously entertaining. 

The Beard is always enjoyable, even when he's in the throes of a psychopathic episode.

Ryan Leaf's NFL Career Encapsulated

Date: Sep. 21, 1998 

Three weeks into his rookie season, San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf reacts to a story about him freaking out on a cameraman by freaking out on a reporter.

The meltdown foreshadows Leaf's inauspicious career, which many compare to first round busts like JaMarcus Russell and Akili Smith.

To think, if this guy showed up to a face-to-face meeting with (then) Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora, he might've been drafted before Peyton Manning.

Roger Clemens Goes Batty on Mike Piazza

Date: Oct. 22, 2000

During the 2000 World Series, all eyes are on Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens. The crosstown rivals have unresolved beef from a dustup earlier in the season and Yankees Stadium permeates with the energy of two unhinged meatheads.

Clemens throws a pitch that shatters Piazza's bat, sending chards of lumber towards the pitcher's mound.

Apparently incensed by Piazza's inability to catch up to an inside fast ball, Clemens grabs a chunk of the bat's barrel and heaves it in the direction of the New York Mets catcher.

Despite playing baseball his whole life and picking up the object in fair territory, Clemens tries to downplay the episode by claiming that he thought the bat was the ball. 

LOL. Okay, Roger.

"Practice"

Date: May 7, 2002

Shortly after being ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers MVP Allen Iverson is asked about his purported reputation for blowing off team practices. 

"...We're talking about practice, man," he says during a press conference, "we're not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we're talking about practice."

For better or worse, the infinitely quotable tirade is a lasting pillar of Iverson's NBA legacy. 

 

Carlos Zambrano Tosses an Umpire

Date: May 29, 2009

Picking the funniest Carlos Zambrano temper tantrum is like deciding on a favorite flavor of ice cream—they're all pretty awesome.

In this clip, Zambrano ejects an umpire, fires a baseball into the Wrigley Field bleachers and destroys a Gatorade cooler with a bat.

As a performance arts piece, this scene is an absolute tour de force.

John McEnroe Has a Hard Time Playing with Others

DateNov. 4, 1984

"You cannot be serious!" might be John McEnroe's signature sound bite, but “Answer the question. The question, jerk!" is the tennis star's funniest outburst. 

During the '84 Swedish Open, McEnroe becomes enraged with chair umpire Dr. Leif Ake Nilsson for not overruling a linesman's call.

When Nilsson is slow to answer one of McEnroe's inquiries, the king of on-court tantrums delivers his legendarily arrogant line.

George Brett's Pine Tar Incident

Date: July 24, 1983

With his team trailing in the ninth inning, third baseman George Brett hits a 2-run homer to give the Kansas City Royals a 5-4 lead over the New York Yankees.

Noticing an inordinate amount of pine tar on Brett's bat, Yankees manager Billy Martin requests to have the stick inspected by home plate umpire Tim McClelland.

McClelland nullifies the home run, citing Brett's excessive use of sticky material.

Brett responds to the ruling by sprinting onto the field with the menacing fervor of a pitbull on bath salts. 

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