The Most Shocking Announcements in Sports History

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIJune 4, 2012

The Most Shocking Announcements in Sports History

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    Following centuries of upsets, unexpected firings and unquestionable draft busts, we've discovered that sports possesses only one certainty...nothing is certain.

    As we retrace a rich sports history, several scene-flooding announcements pop out. Some unfortunate, others just baffling.

    But regardless of the emotional impact, these microphone proclamations sent the world into a frenzy. Like diverging heat particles, fans couldn't help but aimlessly flutter about their living rooms in angst.

    Let's take a look at the 25 most shocking announcements in sports history.

    But first, mic check, check.

25. The Second Pick of the 1984 NBA Draft

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    With the second pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select...Sam Bowie.

    Considering Michael Jordan was the next pick, it's safe to say the Trail Blazers screwed this one up...bad.

    Although they did have Clyde Drexler, so can we really blame the choice? Yes, yes we can.

24. Wade Boggs' Affair Gets Messy

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    After ending a four-year affair with Margo Adams in 1988, third-base great Wade Boggs found himself buried in controversy.

    His former mistress sued for $12 million a year later, concerning emotional distress and a supposed agreement for compensation. With Adams allegedly accompanying Boggs on his road trips, she clearly wasn't cashing in at work.

    It only snowballed from there.

    Adams agreed to an interview with Penthouse magazine, where she thoroughly discussed her affair with the legendary third baseman.

    He countered with an appearance on 20/20. The defense? A sex addiction.

23. Kobe Bryant's Admissions

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    Following sexual assault allegations in the summer of 2003, Lakers star Kobe Bryant finally admitted to the adulterous encounter.

    But he naturally denied all assault accusations, and said the act was mutual.

    McDonald's and Nutella endorsements were dropped, Kobe's reputation hit an all-time low and Vanessa Bryant was in shock.

    The charges were eventually dropped, but Kobe's anxiety remained high.

22. Bud Selig Calls 2002 All-Star Game a Tie

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    Never in history have draws been a part of baseball, but the once-traditional sport saw its graceful reputation soar out the window when commissioner Bud Selig called the 2002 All-Star Game in the 13th inning.

    With no players remaining (they wanted to get everyone time) and the score 7-7, Selig did all he could and called a tie.


21. Alex Rodriguez Admits Steroid Use

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    Young, stupid and naive. Uhh, what is Alex Rodriguez? (thank you Jeopardy!).

    Following previous denial, this superstar slugger uttered one word in a February 2009 interview with Peter Gammons that gave fans more than several chills. Pressure.

    And here it comes. Yep, A-Rod in fact did use steroids from 2001-2003. Years of success given asterisks.

20. John Chaney Threatens John Calipari

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    After Calipari's 13th-ranked UMass squad upset No. 8 Temple by one point in February of 1994, John Chaney decided to crash the post-game press conference.

    And didn't hold back at all.

19. Mike Tyson Attacks Lennox Lewis

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    Lennox Lewis...I'm coming for you.

    Moments after knocking out Lou Savarese 38 seconds into their 2000 battle, Iron Mike shocked the world with his overzealous statements.

    He would eventually lose to Lennox Lewis in their 2002 championship bout.

18. Ben Johnson Stripped of Gold

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    He set consecutive 100-meter world records at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics and the 1988 Summer Olympics. And you can bet he won two Olympic bronze medals and an Olympic gold.

    But all Ben Johnson's accomplishments were discarded in 1988 because of doping.

17. Colts Leave Baltimore Behind

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    On a calm March night in 1984, Baltimore Colts' owner Robert Irsay watched the midnight move to Indianapolis take place.

    During the quiet of the night, the Colts left all their heartbroken fans behind, with but a following-morning proclamation.

16. Sammy Sosa's Corked Bat

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    In June of 2003, Sluggin' Sammy was ejected in a routine Tuesday night game against the Rays after cork was found in his bat. Questions began to swirl about whether his 505 career homeruns were also asterisk-worthy.

    Apparently it was an "honest mistake" for the controversial star. Or perhaps it was something else.

15. David Beckham Signs with the Galaxy

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    Since debuting for Manchester United as an innocent 17-year-old, footballer David Beckham has built quite the legacy for himself.

    After winning the Premier League title six times and the FA Cup twice with Manchester United, and the La Liga championship in his final season with Real Madrid, Becks decided to up the ante and take his talents to the MLS.

    Not only were American fans obviously jubilant about this international star's arrival in 2007, but Beckham broke MLS records with the highest player salary in the league's history (three years, $6.5 million per year).

    The world's most famous footballer risking it all.

14. Barry Sanders Retires

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    With 15,269 rushing yards, 2,921 receiving yards and 109 touchdowns under his belt, a 31-year-old Barry Sanders abruptly retired.

    Considering his announcement came two years after extending a six-year, $35.4 million contract, the sports world was quite bewildered.

    Obviously one playoff win wasn't enough to keep Sanders running around defenders in Detroit.

13. Ozzie Guillen Gets Political

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    This isn't the first time Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has dabbled in controversy. From refusing to attend the White House after his White Sox won the 2005 World Series to speaking out against Arizona's illegal immigration law, he's rarely been shy.

    But his 2012 comments concerning a certain dictator sure had his Cuban-filled community in a frenzy.

    "I love Fidel Castro...I respect Fidel Castro...You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [guy] is still here."

    A five-game suspension would follow.

12. Black Sox Admit to Betting on 1919 World Series

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    When it was discovered that eight members of the Chicago White Sox did in fact throw the 1919 World Series, the league was naturally distraught.

    First baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil might've had the underground connections, but Shoeless Joe Jackson's potential involvement (albeit disputed) was perhaps the most discussed aspect.

    Their lifetime bans from baseball certainly set a future tone.

11. The Browns Leave Cleveland

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    On November 6, 1995, Browns owner Art Modell gave listeners at a Camden Yards press conference shocking news.

    He told the world he had signed a deal to relocate the Browns to Baltimore in 1996, giving the city its first NFL team since the Colts were last seen there in 1983.

    Following many protests, lost endorsements and pure mayhem, the NFL decided to suspend operations in Cleveland for three years, but keep the Browns there (albeit as a new franchise). During this time, construction of a new stadium would be underway.

    The Browns became only the second NFL team to deactivate without merging (1943 Cleveland Rams during World War II were the first).

10. Joe Namath's Guarantee

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    Three days before Super Bowl III, while making an appearance at the Miami Touchdown Club, Broadway Joe uttered a guarantee that would survive history forever. 

    Something along the lines of "we got this".

    17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards and the game MVP. Nicely done sir.

    A career defined on January 12, 1969.

9. Giants and Dodgers Move West

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    May 28, 1957 was a date that will live in infamy for the unique New York faithful.

    With declines in attendance and a fierce rivalry to resume, the Giants and Dodgers made two moves that would shape baseball forever.


    Real estate businessman Walter O'Malley (who bought the Dodgers in 1950) convinced Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move West with him after it was clear politicians wouldn't let O'Malley build his "pipe-dream stadium".

    Plenty of hearts broken on that day.

8. Wayne Gretzky Traded

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    Being traded two hours after winning the Stanley Cup may have been tough for some people, but not for Wayne Gretzky. 

    Ok, so maybe that's a stretch.

    After the Oilers won the cup in 1988, they traded the Great One to the Kings in perhaps the most belligerent move since Babe Ruth to the Saux in '35.

    To put things into perspective, Edmonton owner Peter Pocklington would sell the team by the mid-'90s.

7. Howard Cosell Announces a Tragedy

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    During a December 1980 game between the Dolphins and Patriots, broadcaster Howard Cosell was alerted of a tragic passing.

    With Monday Night Football cruising along, Cosell shared with listeners a sad message.

    John Lennon was shot.

6. Pete Rose Banished from Baseball

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    It was August of 1989 when Pete Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball amid gambling allegations.

    Only three years after retiring from the game he once dominated, Charlie Hustle saw a once glorious reputation fade into notoriety.

    4,256 hits, no Hall of Fame nods.

5. O.J. Simpson's Charge Heard 'Round the World

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    Before the most publicized criminal trial in American history, Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson was charged with two counts of murder in the June 1994 death of his ex-wife and her male friend.

    In one of the most controversial trials of all time, Simpson was acquitted (albeit found liable for the wrongful death of Ronald Goldman and battery of Nicole Brown in February of '97). 

4. 1980 Miracle on Ice

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    In perhaps the greatest upset in sports history, the United States hockey squad defeated the world-class Soviets, who owned essentially all world championship and Olympic hockey tournaments since 1954.

    "Do you believe in Miracles?" - legendary broadcaster Al Michaels

3. Michael Jordan Retires for the First Time

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    At 30 years old, and following back-to-back championships, the blossoming legend was finished. 

    On October 6, 1993, MJ would state his departure from the hardwood. A baffling finish for such a budding star.

    But Air Jordan would return...only after testing the minor league baseball waters.

2. Lou Gehrig's Speech

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    Perhaps the greatest first baseman of all time, Lou Gehrig would leave the game of baseball on top.

    Following nearly 15 years and 2,130 consecutive games, the Iron Horse found himself tired and sluggish, unable to continue.

    Only a month after benching himself, Gehrig was diagnosed with the incurable amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).

    On Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939, Gehrig would retire, and fans across the world would witness true heroism.

1. Magic Johnson's HIV Stunner

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    A physical before the 1991–92 NBA season would unexpectedly dictate the future for Magic Johnson.

    After testing positive for HIV, the legendary Laker pronounced to the world that he was indeed retiring and would focus on battling the disease.

    But you can bet he played in the All-Star game that year and led the West to a 153–113 win with 25 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

    An inspirational exit.