The 25 Biggest Tantrums in Sports
For professional athletes and the lunatics that coach them, launching into a full fledged hissy fit when things don't go their way is nothing new. People losing their marbles during competition is as old as competition itself.
And if you don't like, I suggest keeping it to yourself because they will freak out at you.
The whole public temper tantrum tirade might not be new, but it sure seems like there has been a rash of historic meltdowns in recent years. They've gotten so completely out of control that it's actually hard to tell if these guys are being serious any more.
Let's take a look at 25 of the biggest temper tantrums in sports.
25. Brandon Jacobs, (then) New York Giants
In September 2010, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs surprised nobody when he got mad during a game against the Colts and threw his helmet 10 rows deep into the stands at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.
It was reported that after Jacobs threw his helmet, a shouting match between him and the angry and freaked out fans broke out. That was followed by an angry confrontation between Tom Coughlin and Jacobs.
24. Lou Pinella, (then) Chicago Cubs
In June 2007, (then) Cubs manager Lou Piniella had a complete meltdown at Chicago's Wrigley Field and was ejected from the game. There were no punches thrown but, though Piniella denied it, the crew chief Bruce Froemming insisted the manager kicked the third base umpire.
The incident marked Piniella's 73rd ejection of his career—he had been ejected as a member of six different teams. After the game he said of the call, "He looked safe from the dugout, but after I saw the play, the umpire had it right."
23. Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
The Knicks haven't won a playoff series in decades and the big trade for Carmelo Anthony hasn't really worked out the way everyone in New York would have hoped. So you really can't blame Amar'e Stoudemire for being frustrated after going down 0-2 to the Heat in the 2012 NBA playoffs.
But you really can blame Stoudemire for taking his post-game frustrations on a glass-encased fire extinguisher. It was reported that just minutes after the Game 2 loss, paramedics rushed to the Knicks locker room to tend to the viscous laceration Stoudemire sustained from punching the object.
22. Mike Shildt, Springfield Cardinals
In May 2012, Mike Shildt, the recently named manager of the Springfield Cardinals, got into an argument with the umpire over a call he disagreed with. In typical baseball manager fashion, Shildt refused to let it go and continued to argue with the official for far longer than necessary.
When Shildt was satisfied that he wasted enough of everyone's time, he chucked his helmet onto the field and, naturally, it hit the umpire. I'm sure it was a complete accident.
21. Dennis Rodman, (then) Chicago Bulls
In 1997, (then) Bulls bad boy Dennis Rodman pulled a typical Dennis Rodman stunt when he needlessly booted a cameraman during a game against the Timberwolves. The cameraman was then taken away on a stretcher.
Rodman was suspended for 11 games and fined $25,000 by the league—the incident cost him a large amount of money in his incentive laden contract. He also settled out of court with the injured cameraman for $200,000.
Rodman is rumored to be flat broke today—but he wishes he could get back the cash from this costly temper tantrum.
20. Steve Spurrier, University of South Carolina
In October 2011, University of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier shared a very uncomfortable few minutes with a local sports reporter—while in a room filled with other reporters.
Spurrier was upset with reporter Ron Morris over a story he wrote six months prior and refused to start his press conference with Morris in the room. When Morris wouldn't leave, Spurrier explained that he would give private interviews with everyone in the room except Morris.
Spurrier could have been legitimately angry with Morris, but it is quite a coincidence that just hours later problem quarterback Stephen Garcia was dismissed from the team for failing a drug tests—something that could have been announced at the press conference. Ya know, if there had actually been one.
19. Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is well known for his temper and his childish temper tantrums directly in the general vicinity of the referees.
There are countless examples of his over-the-top rage, but this 2010 video of Cuban taking out his aggression on an unsuspecting Gatorade jug is one of my favorites.
Short and sweet.
18. A.J. Burnett, (then) New York Yankees
Pitcher A.J. Burnett has been more trouble than he's worth his entire career—probably why he's a Pirate now. Burnett may have moved from Toronto to Brooklyn, but he didn't leave his issues in Canada.
In July 2010, Burnett became frustrated during a game against the Rays and took his anger out on the clubhouse door. The incident cut up his hands and forced him out of the game in the third inning.
17. Brent Sapergia, Louisiana IceGators
In November 2009, (then) Louisiana IceGators coach Brent Sapergia became shockingly enraged by a penalty call on the ice and proceeded on with his very best impression of a baseball manager.
Sapergia went on to throw everything he could get his hands on behind the bench on the ice—earning him his second ejection in as many games. Sapergia later defended his hijinks as "justified."
In what world is a grown ass man having a world class hissy fit in front of thousands of people justified?
16. Bobby Knight, (then) University of Indiana
Former Indiana coach Bobby Knight was well known for two things: his titles and his temper. Probably equally so back during his coaching years. But today many younger fans know him best as the chair throwing lunatic.
Knight had countless temper tantrums, hissy fits, freak outs, screaming matches, throwing incidents and physical altercations over the years. But it was his chair chucking spectacle in 1985 that has come to define Knight's personality.
If not his entire career.
15. Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays
In May 2012, Blue Jays third basemen Brett Lawrie went berserk at an umpire that called him out on a pitch in the ninth inning of a one-run game against the Rays. Lawrie was immediately enraged with the call and stomped over to have words with the official.
The umpire, who has probably had it up to his eyeballs in misplaced rage, immediately ejected the irate Blue Jay. Lawrie proceeded to spike his helmet against the turf and it bounced up and struck the umpire as Lawrie continued his tirade.
Lawrie later explained that the freakout was just him displaying his "passion for the game."
14. Kevin Borseth, (then) University of Michigan
In February 2008, Kevin Borseth, then the coach of the Michigan women's basketball team, secured a place in the crazy coach hall of fame when he lost his marbles at a press conference.
You knew from the moment he slid into the frame in a rage and threw his papers down in an exaggerated slam that it was going to be something special. And it was…it really, really was.
13. Derek Anderson, (then) Arizona Cardinals
In November 2010, (then) Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson was coming off a particularly embarrassing loss to the 49ers when a reporter at the post-game press conference had the nerve to ask Anderson what he and a teammate were chuckling about during the game.
Considering the 27-6 score was a lot closer than the game actually was, it seemed like a fair question. Anderson immediately lost his cool and shot back at the reporter that there was nothing funny and that he wasn't even laughing—despite the fact that cameras actually showed him laughing.
The two exchanged a few more words before Anderson bailed on the press conference altogether and just stormed off.
12. Roger Clemens, (then) New York Yankees
In October 2000, the growing tension between Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and Mets pitcher Mike Piazza game to a head—it was during Game 2 of the World Series, dubbed the "Subway series."
After breaking his bat on a pitch in the very first inning, Piazza and Clemens exchanged words before Clemens picked up the broken bat and chucked it at Piazza before the umpire stepped in.
11. Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks
Perhaps taking a lesson from owner Mark Cuban, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is known for occasionally flipping his lid at the referees. He's always had a short fuse and when the Mavs went down 0-2 to the Thunder in the 2012 NBA playoffs, it got a lot shorter.
A blown call in Game 3 of the series was apparently the tipping point for Carlisle. After the ref ignored the pleas of Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, Carlisle got in on the action and went absolutely ballistic on the bench.
There was no question the call was missed, but the incident happened very early in the game and there is also no question that Carlisle seriously overreacted. He had to be held back from the official and earned himself a technical foul for his troubles.
10. Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators
In April 2012, the Senators' Daniel Alfredsson had a world class freakout after sustaining a hit by the Rangers' John Mitchell during Game 6 of the NHL quarterfinals. He had just returned to the lineup after missing a few games with a concussion.
Alfredsson returned to the bench when the television cameras caught him breaking his stick and stomping on a water bottle on the bench. He did later apologize for the outburst and explained that his emotions just got the best of him.
9. Dennis Green, (then) Arizona Cardinals
In 2006, (then) Cardinals head coach Dennis Green stepped up to the podium following a loss to the bears and delivered one of the greatest/craziest press conference performances of all time.
Green's famous quote speaks for itself at this point: "THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE."
8. Serena Williams, Women's Tennis
Tennis star Serena Williams is well known for her temper on the court, and in 2009 it was put on display for the whole world to see. Williams was penalized a point on match point after shaking her racket at an official who had called a foot fault on her—which caused her to lose the match to unranked Kim Clijsters.
Williams reportedly lost it on the judge screaming, "I swear to God I'm [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat, you hear that? I swear to God."
One of the judges accused Williams of threatening to kill her. Williams immediately and vehemently denied the claim, but the judge insisted it happened.
7. Kevin Colley, Utah Grizzlies
In January 2011, Kevin Colley, the minor league hockey coach of the Utah Grizzlies, continued the proud tradition of coaches behaving like total idiots when he had a televised meltdown over a call.
Referee Rick Looker attracted the ire of Colley, who proceeded to throw out sticks onto the ice in protest.
6. Joe Mikulik, Asheville Tourists
Here we go again:
In June 2006, Joe Mikulik, the minor league manager of the Asheville Tourists, continued the proud tradition of coaches behaving like total idiots when he had a televised meltdown over a call.
Umpire Andy Russell attracted the ire of Mikulik, who proceeded to throw out bats and a resin bag onto the field in protest.
5. Jim Everett, (then) New Orleans Saints
In 1994, (then) Saints quarterback Jim Everett made an appearance on Jim Rome's show Talk2. Rome wasted no time in lobbing his favorite insult at "Chris" Everett twice within seconds—referring to a ladies tennis player.
Everett warned Rome not to call him "Chris" a third time and, naturally, Rome could not have possibly cared less. He proceeded to call him the offending name for a third time and Everett immediately flipped the table and shoved Rome to the floor, live on the air.
4. Jim Playfair, Abbotsford Heat
Here we go again:
In March 2010, Jim Playfair, the minor league hockey coach of the Abbotsford Heat, continued the proud tradition of coaches behaving like total idiots when he had a televised meltdown over a call.
Referee Jamie Kohariski attracted the ire of Playfair, who proceeded to throw sticks against the boards in protest. He topped off the performance by ripping off his blazer and verbally abusing the ref for a few minutes.
3. John McEnroe, Tennis
It's been 30 years since John McEnroe, the most unhinged man in tennis, coined his famous catchphrase, "You cannot be serious!"
McEnroe lost it on at the restrained All England Club after being penalized for rambling on about his dislike for those around him.
2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
In 2007, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy absolutely lost it on the local media during a press conference following a 49-45 win over Texas Tech. Gundy was reportedly peeved about a recent column that suggested his quarterback Bobby Reid had an attitude problem.
Rather than addressing the article in a rational manner or, better yet, speaking to the reporter privately, Gundy decided to take it up with the group. He launched into one of the most ill-conceived, ill-timed, unnecessary tirades/defenses of all time.
Perhaps he thought he was doing something good for his quarterback, but just a year later during an interview with ESPN, Reid confessed that the rant "basically ended (his) life."
1. Phil Wellmen, (then) Minor League Braves
In June 2007, Phil Wellman, manager of the minor league Braves, earned himself a three-game suspension after what might be the most memorable freakout, hissy fit, sh*t show in sports history.
The story starts out the same as most manager ejections—with excessive rage over a call by the umpire. But things quickly take a turn for the crazy when Wellman starts running around like a mad man.
Wellman spends two full minutes running around the field, stealing bases and needlessly army crawling throughout he dirt, before he finally tires himself out and decides to leave the field—with a base tucked under his arm.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!