25 Videos of Athletes Losing Their Minds
Sometimes there is simply nothing more entertaining—more intriguing—than a good old-fashioned freakout.
I'm talking about one of those epic meltdowns that happens every so often during some of the most competitive, contentious moments of a sport, often by an athlete infamous for such displays, but occasionally from someone you'd least expect.
Smashing a tennis racket to smithereens; crossing that sacred line between player and fan with malice—these dramatic moments can fit the narrative of a "do or die" struggle between rivals or seem to be an aberration that overshadows the competition.
When athletes lose their mind, it can shape their identity—it can endear us to them or make us despise them more.
Many of these moments have been captured in photo or film and have become some of the most memorable images in sports.
Today, these moments are virtually on demand, thanks to that "series of tubes" known as the Internet.
Here are 25 videos of athletes losing their minds.
25. Dan Marino, Retired NFL
Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino is usually the nicest, most likable guy in any room.
Which is why this unexpected freakout during an episode of HBO's Inside the NFL in 2000 was so jarring.
There isn't any context provided for the video, but Marino's sudden fist-slamming after flubbing a line speaks for itself.
24. Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers forward Metta World Peace has given his share of wacky interviews in recent years, but this one from December 2011 is definitely one of the craziest.
When asked by a reporter whether or not his teammates call him Ron or Metta, MWP responds by thanking Jesus for having our teeth fall out as children, rather than as grownups.
The answer was sure a head scratcher.
It's hard to tell if MWP is a few bricks short of a load, or if he is just crazy like a fox and enjoys messing with people.
Perhaps it's a little bit of both?
23. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper has been a lightning rod for controversy in 2012, but don't think it's just because he made his way to the big leagues. Harper was known for losing his cool while playing in the minors.
In August 2011, an 18-year-old Harper got in the face of the home plate umpire after being called out. His red-faced freakout earned him an ejection from the game, and his team ultimately lost the game.
22. Zack Novak, Michigan Wolverines Basketball
In January 2011, University of Michigan Wolverines senior (then a junior) Zack Novack was caught on cameras by ESPN freaking the hell out on the sideline during a break in the action in a game against the Michigan State Spartans.
Those rivalry games have a way of messing with your head.
21. Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Retired Tennis
There is no love lost between American tennis greats Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, but that didn't stop either of them from committing to participate in a charity tennis event together in 2010.
They probably should have thought it through a bit, consider neither of them can control themselves.
During the match, things took an ugly turn when they started exchanging very weird trash talk via their microphone headsets.
Both Agassi and Sampras were well aware they were on camera and miked up, not to mention the fact that it was a charity event, but that didn't deter them from trading barbs and rifling shots at east other.
What the hell were these guys thinking?
20. Terrell Owens, NFL Free Agent
Over the last decade, free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens has grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. More often than not they centered around Owens bashing, berating and otherwise abusing his teammates, particularly his quarterback.
That's why T.O.'s tearful breakdown in 2008 while coming to the defense of his teammate (Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Tony Romo was jaw-dropping.
"That's my quarterback, man!"
19. Ron Hextall, Retired NHL
Saying that retired Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall lost his mind during this 1989 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins would be an accurate assessment—assuming he was ever of his right mind to begin with.
That's a pretty big assumption if you know anything about Hextall's epic career in the NHL.
Hextall gave up nine goals on 17 shots during the game and had reached his boiling point by the third period. New York Times sports reporter Joe Sexton wrote of the incident and moments leading up to it:
Hextall had in the preceding 60 minutes of hockey assaulted an official and angrily chased Rob Brown of the Pittsburgh Penguins around the ice like a frustrated kindergartener. And finally he was taunted by a deafening chorus of catcalls from the Civic Arena crowd of more than 16,000.
You're the king, Ron. You're the king.
18. Tiger Woods, PGA
Everyone knows that golf legend Tiger Woods is a perfectionist and one of the fiercest competitors in sports.
So when things don't go his way on the greens, sometimes (actually, most of the time) Woods has a tendency to let his emotions get the best of him.
This is actually a compilation of some of his greatest blowups, many of which include an angry Tiger Woods awkwardly admonishing himself for not living up to his own high expectations.
It's pretty strange.
17. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is one of the more likable and gracious guys in the NFL—not to mention hilarious.
So it's not every day that you see a red-faced Manning, who is literally frothing at the mouth, erupting like an angry volcano at his teammates on the sideline.
I know the guy is a fierce competitor, but this is the first time I ever remember the unflappable Peyton Manning look completely unhinged…like a blender full of rage without the lid.
16. Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks
In April 2012, Bucks forward Larry Sanders was involved in an on-court kerfuffle with a few Indiana Pacers players.
Coaches and officials tried to break up the resulting scrum, but Sanders wasn't having any of it.
Instead, Sanders dodged those efforts and ran around like a lunatic looking for someone else to confront. His antics earned him a much-deserved ejection.
15. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Much like Peyton Manning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is usually cool as ice, no matter how intense the circumstances of a given situation may be. But late in the 2011 NFL season, we learned that even Tommy Terrific has a breaking point.
After Brady threw an interception in the fourth quarter of a tight game against the Washington Redskins, he headed to the sideline and into the anger tornado of his (then) offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. Both were extremely heated and had to be separated by head coach Bill Belichick.
14. Sergio Garcia, PGA
In August 2010, golfer Sergio Garcia did his best Happy Gilmore impression after a few failed attempts at escaping a bunker. He goes into full-on Happy mode at the PGA Championship and repeatedly slams his club into the ground in full view of the cameras.
13. Troy Smith, NFL Free Agent
This video is a stunning reminder of how far the San Francisco 49ers have come in under two seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
In December 2010, former Niners quarterback Troy Smith and his former head coach Mike Singletary were involved in an ugly sideline confrontation that was caught by television cameras.
The incident happened after Smith threw a second half interception. He returned to the bench in a huff and proceeded to get into a ridiculous screaming match with Singletary.
Smith looks unhinged when some of his teammates finally intervene.
12. Andy Roddick, Tennis
Recently retired American tennis player Andy Roddick has a long history of throwing temper tantrums, pitching fits and just generally being a crybaby. In Roddick's defense, it's gotta be frustrating to peak at age 19 and slowly slide into the gutter for the next decade.
He's been known to complain about court conditions, go bananas on officials and is especially noted for his racket smashing. This is one of his greatest spectacles.
11. Kellen Winslow, Jr., NFL Free Agent
It's been nearly a decade since free agent tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. gave his infamous college post game press conference, but (having watched it live) I still remember it like it was yesterday.
A hotheaded Winslow went off his rocker after his University of Miami (FL) Hurricanes lost a close game to the Tennessee Titans late in the 2003 season. Apparently he was having battlefield hallucinations:
It's war. They're out there to kill you, so I'm out there to kill them. We don't care about anybody but this U. They're going after my legs. I'm going to come right back at them. I'm a...soldier.
10. David Beckham, L.A. Galaxy
In early July 2012, the rage from witnessing 20 years' worth of dives as a professional soccer player finally boiled over for L.A. Galaxy midfielder David Beckham.
During the 91st minute of play, the San Jose Earthquakes' Sam Cronin spent time writhing around on the pitch, faking an injury in an effort to kill time.
Beckham then boots the ball at the gravely injured Cronin, who magically recovers and immediately jumps up and makes a run at Becks.
Must have been a miracle or even the hand of God himself helping Cronin to his feet.
Things get pretty heated between Beckham and everyone in his general vicinity after that—including the San Jose mascot, who also gets manhandled by the handsome Englishman.
9. Serena Williams, Tennis
Tennis great Serena Williams is well known for her temper and isn't afraid to speak her mind to umpires. She was involved in a very nasty dustup with an umpire (whom she threatened to kill) at the 2009 U.S. Open, which resulted in a heavy fine and a two-year suspension.
So one would have thought that, playing under the suspended ban at the U.S. Open two years later, Williams would have been on her best behavior.
Well, one would have been wrong. Williams again let loose on an umpire, accusing the official of being out to get her and telling her that she despised her.
8. Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers
After a fairly lopsided loss to the division rival San Francisco 49ers, (then) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson faced the firing squad at his post-game press conference. He was caught on camera laughing with a teammate on the sideline late in the game, and one reporter was eager for the origins of the offending laughter.
When pressed about the incident, Anderson decided that the best defense was a good offense.
He issued a blanket laughter denial, despite video evidence to the contrary, and launched immediately into an angry tirade about how nothing was funny.
Anderson then (very smartly) storms off, avoiding all follow up questions.
7. Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, French Track and Field
French distance runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad's performance at the European Championships made headlines around the globe in July 2012. Unfortunately, none of those headlines had anything to do with the silver medal he won.
They focused instead on Mekhissi-Benabbad's behavior after winning.
After crossing the finish line, he walked up to a mascot (a 14-year-old girl) trying to hand him a gift bag and thanked her by shoving her to the ground.
This guy has a history of bad behavior, including another mascot incident, which earned him a 10-month suspension in 2010. He's a straight up sociopath.
6. Marcos Baghdatis, Tennis
In January 2012, Cypriot tennis player Marcos Baghdatis took the age-old art of racket smashing to new heights during a losing match at the Australian Open.
Usually tennis players just smash one or two rackets and get back to business, but he changed all that.
A rage-fueled Baghdatis lost control of his mental faculties for a brief period of time, in which he smashed not one…not two…not three…but four tennis rackets—one after the other.
It was a glorious show of crazy and I commend him for the show.
5. Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons
Ah, yes. The infamous 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl, affectionately dubbed the "Malice in the Palace." This is a great example of everyone in the damn building losing their minds.
Naturally, Ron Artest was at the center of this nonsense.
After officials broke up the initial brawl between the teams, Artest was chilling on the score table when he was pelted by a drink from a fan in the stands.
Never one to take it on the chin, Artest made his way into the stands for retribution, sparking a massive brawl between players from each team and a number of fans.
4. Jim Everett, Retired NFL
Former NFL quarterback Jim Everett made the unfortunate decision to appear on Jim Rome's cable show in April 1994. Rome had been mockingly referring to Everett as "Chris," referring to the female tennis player Chris Everett, ever since the "phantom sack" he took in the 1989 NFC Championship game.
Whether or not he went there looking for a fight with the radio show host is unknown.
What is known is that he found one.
Everett warned Rome to lay off the name-calling, and Rome, never one to back off being a jerk, ignored said warning.
The rest, as they say, is history.
3. John McEnroe, Retired Tennis
The legendary bad boy of tennis John McEnroe has been caught on camera going bananas a great number of times over the years. He usually directs his rage at the poor, unsuspecting umpires.
This isn't his most famous "Are you serious?!?!?" incident, but it covers all the McEnroe staples: swearing, smashing, screaming and sulking.
2. Tie Domi, Retired NHL
Retired goon Tie Domi was like the real-life Happy Gilmore of professional hockey: marginally talented, big on brawn and short on brains. Every time I hear my favorite quote in that movie, I actually think of Domi:
During high school, I played junior hockey and still hold two league records: most time spent in the penalty box; and I was the only guy to ever take off his skate and try to stab somebody.
Domi didn't actually take his skate off and try to stab a Flyers fan in his infamous 2001 confrontation, but I would be surprised if the thought didn't at least briefly cross his mind. Only in Philly would a fan dare to tussle with Tie Domi.
1. Dennis Scott, Retired NBA
In this stunning video from 1997, former NBA player Dennis Scott absolutely loses his marbles while talking to a group of children at his youth basketball camp.
Reportedly upset over a contract dispute, Scott launches into an insane tirade that was not exactly suitable for children.
He followed up his angry, incoherent rant by having a friend crank up a rap CD from the system in a nearby car. The lyrics from which were also not exactly suitable for children.
Scott concluded his performance by dashing off to the noisy truck and speeding away with one of his friends.
Click here for the Washington City Paper article that details the unbelievable scene.