Sure. When you grow an enormous beard that takes up your entire face or when you say something that compels every single one of your Twitter followers and fans to threaten another NBA player's life, you're not trying to get attention.
Not at all.
Most people who live in the limelight enjoy living in the limelight, at least to some degree. There are probably days when they wish they could go to Starbucks without causing a riot, but for the most part, they like being in the spotlight. Why? The attention. It's kind of fun when people care about everything you're doing and saying and preaching.
Professional athletes get a lot of love, especially when their teams are playing well. But as we can see from these 20 guys, that organic attention isn't enough. Sometimes, they have to stir up a little bit extra.
Let's be clear: You do not post the above image to Instagram unless you want everyone in the nation to start talking about you.
Actually, most people don't use social media at all unless they want everyone to talk. Regardless, J.R. Smith succeeded.
The Knicks guard posted this "enlightening" list of rules for dating an athlete a couple of months ago, setting the social media world ablaze. Offensive or hilarious? Both. Where would ladies be without Smith's clear-cut instructions to "massage their [athletes] when they're sore" and "don't nag at them after practice or a game?"
Smith's post promptly went viral, and every WAG in the world was immediately mindblown. Goal met.
How do you make sure everyone in the world will hang on your every word?
By accusing the fastest man in the world of cheating. That's really all there is to it.
Usain Bolt became one of the most celebrated Olympians ever this summer, when he once again earned gold medals in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, becoming the first man to win back-to-back gold in both events.
And American Carl Lewis firmly inserted himself into the conversation by claiming that perhaps Bolt had a bit of help.
After Bolt's big win(s), Lewis made headlines for suggesting that Jamaica's drug-testing procedures aren't as strict as those in other countries, thereby discounting Bolt's accomplishments and planting the seed of suspicion that one of the most legendary Olympians ever wasn't earning his stripes the right way.
How did Bolt respond? By stating that he had lost all respect for the attention-seeking Lewis. And then everyone started talking about Lewis even more.
Randy Moss has the uncanny ability to make everything about him, no matter the situation. It doesn't matter how old he gets, how useless he becomes or how many superstar quarterbacks he surrounds himself with; he will never be overshadowed.
It is a skill.
Moss once deserved to be in the limelight. He was the most electrifying wide receiver in the NFL. He's fourth on the list of all-time touchdown leaders and is the owner of the single-season TD record.
But now, he's old. Lately, he's been a minimal part of the game plan rather than the centerpiece of it. And yet, he still knows how to grab more headlines than anybody, and he relishes that skill.
Take what happened prior to this year's Super Bowl. It didn't matter that his coach was facing his own brother, or that his quarterback was one of the best stories to come out of the NFL in years. Moss still managed to make it all about himself by claiming to be the best wide receiver ever.
No matter what, Moss will never be silenced.
He may be unable to find a team to pay him these days, but Sean Avery will forever live on in infamy.
For a while, Avery was good at hockey. But he was even better at stirring the pot. You name the controversy, Avery has been involved in it. Prostitution ring? Check. Racism toward fellow players? Look no further. Ignoring the puck to distract the goaltender during a power play, complete with heckling and arm-waving? He's done that, too.
Then, of course, there were the Sloppy Seconds (above). Rarely do players get suspended for insulting their exes, but Avery has even started a trend there. Anything to get his name out there.
Maybe if there were more NHL players like Avery, fans would be more interested in it. At least he gave them something to talk about.
Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't need any help making sure the world knows who he is. He's the most recognizable soccer player on the planet.
But just in case, he always manages to give himself a little bit of insurance, on and off the pitch.
On the field, there's the diving. It's what he is known for. There are YouTube tutorials dedicated to instructing soccer players how to get away with murder like Ronaldo. He isn't subtle; you can't get through a game without seeing him seize all of the attention with his antics. At the very least, you have to give the man credit for his acting skills.
When he's not diving, Ronaldo is endorsing. Something. Anything. According to Forbes.com, Ronaldo makes $22 million in endorsements, which is more than he makes on the pitch—and mind you, he's the highest paid soccer player out there.
At least he knows how to leverage himself.
There are some guys who talk a lot of trash because they genuinely understand the power it gives them over opponents. Then, there are some guys who talk a lot of trash because they don't really have much else to do.
Everyone in the NBA is well aware of Jason Terry's attention-grabbing tendencies. This is a guy who tattooed himself with a Celtics logo before he even played a single game with the team. He also, as a member of the Mavericks, got a tattoo of the NBA Finals trophy before Dallas' championship season.
These days, with no time for new ink, he resorts to trolling LeBron James in the midst of ultra-heated matchups and making sure that he leaves no barb unreturned. When LeBron dunked on him and made sure to dish out a stare-down in return for the yapping Terry had been levying at him all night, Terry made sure he got the last word. Of course.
But at least he's trying to be productive. And at least he's funny.
Floyd Mayweather isn't subtle. His presence is seen and heard near and far, even when he's in jail.
But when you're staging fake fights with rappers on Twitter in order to get people to pay attention to you, you have to stop and reevaluate your life.
Mayweather is well-known for many things, many of them unflattering. A positive: His undefeated record. The negatives: The domestic violence charge. A misdemeanor battery charge. Dancing with the Stars. And now, a "feud" with 50 Cent.
If you believe Fiddy's story, Mayweather asked him for help staging a Twitter fight because nobody was paying attention to him following his stint in jail last summer. Allegedly, Fiddy obliged, then quickly blew Mayweather's cover:
I'm sick of all this nonsense Floyd asked me to act like were fighting cause no one was paying any attention after his 60 days.#SMSaudio— 50cent (@50cent) November 5, 2012
Mayweather should have just stuck with wearing white denim vests. Sure-fire way to get attention.
We get it. You guys like each other. You don't like rumors that you're on the verge of a breakup. We get it.
So for the love of God, enough with the Instagramming.
There is perhaps no couple in sports more in love with themselves than Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki. Their Twitter and Instagram feeds pretty much exist solely as a virtual PDA machine. They make sure that they never short any of us an opportunity to see them giving each other presents. Or skydiving. Or sailing.
But even with the assistance of Instagram, they still have to fight breakup rumors—which they do with almost as much desperation as they tweet pictures of themselves together.
Guys. It was cute once upon a time. Now, it's annoying. Less is more.
Darrelle Revis deserves credit for this: There aren't a lot of people who can say they don't find amusement in his antics. But does he love attention? Absolutely.
Then again, who in the NFL doesn't?
Revis is always in the news for something, and lately, it has rarely been about football. Last year, he only started two games because of a knee injury suffered early in the season, so he had to find some way to keep himself on the public radar.
Lately, he's been doing it through contentious contract talks. Before that, he did it through trash-talking Tom Brady, publicly debating the Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow quarterback controversy or hanging up on radio show hosts.
But at least he gives Jets fans something entertaining, right?
There is nobody in the NBA who likes attention more than Kris Humphries. After all, what other reason is there to marry a Kardashian?
To his credit, Humphries did everything he possibly could with what he had. He was a decent but certainly not great forward on a bad team, and suddenly, he began dating Kim and he was one of the most recognizable names in the league. Once they split, he got even more famous—and even now, he's milking that for everything it's worth by dragging out the divorce as long as he could.
He even got himself into a Kanye West song. And post-breakup, he got himself a brand-new two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets worth $24 million.
Pretty good for a guy who averages 5.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, don't you think?
Getting injured stinks. Getting injured in the midst of a playoff race when you're pretty much your once-dominant team's only hope is even worse.
But come on, Kobe. Basically forcing Dahntay Jones to enter the Witness Protection Program is a little much.
Earlier this year, Jones committed a "dirty" play (and by that I mean, not dirty at all) that resulted in Kobe severely spraining his ankle. Instead of taking the high road and accepting that sometimes, bad things happen to good players, Kobe basically gave his fans and Twitter followers the go-ahead to incite a riot against Jones when he spoke in the postgame presser about having to "wait a year to get revenge."
Bryant wanted attention, and he got it—from the media and from the fans. Unfortunately, so did Jones, who received a plethora of tweets from Kobe fans, according to CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel, that said things like, "F*** you, die slow," and "You're a bad person and God will punish you."
There are few owners in sports right now who are as well-known as Mark Cuban. True, he did help restore the Dallas Mavericks to glory by building a championship team in 2011, but that's not really what Cuban is known for.
There is no publicity venture that Mark Cuban cannot handle. Guest appearances on Entourage? He's on it. A stint on Shark Tank? Sign him up. Somehow, in addition to these activities, he also has time to own the Mavericks, sit courtside, scream at people, run several businesses and write a book about it.
Suffice to say, Cuban enjoys being in the spotlight. He enjoys being a guy everybody knows, even if it costs him several thousand dollars. That's why he'll never hold back when he thinks the refs are terrible, or when he thinks the opponents' players are terrible. And if his voice is suppressed, he will turn to Twitter.
Fear not: Cuban's voice will be heard. Always. For better or worse.
He may have had an excellent first couple of seasons. Once upon a time, he may have been considered the Patriots' offensive savior.
Now, who is Rob Gronkowski? A guy who parties too hard (and too openly), as well as a guy who may not be ready to help New England reclaim control of the AFC in 2013.
Objectively, it's easy to like Gronk. For a while, he was one of the best tight ends in football and wasted no time setting the NFL record for the most touchdown receptions by a tight end in 2011. On top of that, he seems like an affable guy who knows how to have a good time.
But where was he last year? On the bench, mostly, nursing a broken forearm. In the offseason, he's been everywhere—posing nude on magazine covers, dancing on tables and wrestling with friends at clubs—but when it comes time for football, he's MIA.
Now that reports are surfacing that Gronk may not even be ready in time for the 2013 season because of an infection that could require additional surgery, he's taking the heat. Maybe it's time for him to start making himself scarce on the party scene.
He's not exactly a household name, but he's doing his best to become one—not because of his boxing prowess, but because of his sheer idiocy.
Adrien Broner is the current WBC lightweight champ, and he may not be Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao yet, but he's living like he is. Exhibit A: a recent interview he gave to Yardbarker in which he clearly stated and displayed his distaste for any bills smaller than a Benjamin Franklin.
…I don’t carry other bills. If it ain’t Benjamin or Franklin or Benjamin Franklin…I ain’t carrying that. Let me show you what I do to these little [expletives] right here. I don’t keep these bills.
He then proceeded to flush them down the toilet. And now, as a result, he has zero fans and everyone in the world is hoping he fails at life.
When some athletes retire, they must turn to a new source of income in order to keep themselves afloat. Many of them turn to jobs as studio analysts and commentators.
When you are the most infamous steroid abuser of the modern era, however, networks won't exactly be knocking down your door to get you in the booth. Thus, you need to be creative.
Jose Canseco is possibly more famous now than he was when he actually played baseball from 1985-2001. Why? He knows how to sell himself. First came his book, Juiced, which details the rampant use of steroids in Major League Baseball. After all, if you're going to lie and cheat your way to the top, why not make a profit off it and sell out all of your former peers in the process?
Then, there's his Twitter feed. Does anything Canseco says ever make sense? No. But he still has almost as many followers as Amanda Bynes.
You have to hand it to him: He knows how to hold an audience.
Brian Wilson has made a name for himself as the San Francisco Giants' crazy closer.
He seems like kind of a scary dude. He's helped to foster that reputation for himself with various appearances at the ESPYs and just in the bullpen in general. His beard (the original, which rivals Josh Reddick's) also helps.
According to USA Today, Wilson has a variety of interesting habits that set him apart. For example, he keeps every baseball from every bullpen session in his locker, and when he decided to purchase a new truck, he left his old one on the side of the highway, minus the license plates.
There are a lot of closers. There are a lot of good closers. But one could argue that Wilson is the most famous of them all, and one look at him (or one interaction with him) tells you why. You have to make a name for yourself somehow, right?
Every coach has different tactics for getting his troops motivated. It's very possible that Rex Ryan once thought his epic trash-talking would compel his Jets to play better.
Unfortunately, we have now seen that it hasn't worked—which has left us wondering why the controversial coach keeps feeding the fire.
It all began when Ryan was first hired and he insisted that he would give Bill Belichick and the Patriots—the perennial kings of the AFC East—a run for their money. Since then, he has continued to make headlines with his attention-seeking and totally unnecessary commentary, from guaranteeing Super Bowl victories to tattooing Mark Sanchez on his right arm.
That is one way to quell any rumblings about a quarterback controversy. But maybe just laying low would fare better.
Rule No. 1: When you want everyone in the world to take notice of you, fire off a few angry quotes about the commissioner of whatever league you're a part of.
There aren't that many people who like Roger Goodell these days, but it's safe to say James Harrison likes him less. And everyone knows it. But really—isn't calling him the devil taking it a little too far?
In an interview with Men's Journal a couple of years ago, the Steelers linebacker also said of the commish (via ESPN.com), "If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it. I hate him and will never respect him."
And just in case that wasn't enough to get some people to listen up, he added this gem about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: "Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain't that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does."
At least Harrison's attention-seeking is entertaining.
Nobody signs on to a reality show unless he or she wants attention. It's that simple. It's the best way to ensure that a sizable audience is watching—and cares about—your every move.
Ryan Lochte will continue his quest to become the male Kim Kardashian in April, when his E! reality show premieres. Because the attention that comes with being the heartthrob of the U.S. Olympic swim team, winning a gold medal and coining your own trademark phrase isn't enough.
Lochte's show, What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, will follow the swimmer as he prepares for the 2016 Olympics, according to CNN.com. And as The Hollywood Reporter (via USA Today) puts it, Lochte will be put to the ultimate test: "Was he just a flash in the pan, or is he a personality whose cultural relevance can endure over the three long years until the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro?"
Nothing, after all, is more important than having a personality that equates cultural relevance. Like Kim Kardashian's. #Jeah.
In Josh Reddick's defense, he has a lot of competition—even in Oakland.
There are a lot of popular baseball players. Granted, most of them get popular because they can either hit the ball or they can throw it, but there are a select few that make names for themselves with crazy antics (see: Kevin Millar) or unorthodox personal style.
Reddick falls into the latter category.
When he was a member of the Red Sox, he had trouble solidifying himself as a permanent fixture on the big club, so when he was traded to Oakland in late 2011, he figured he had to try something else. He took a two-pronged approach: Reddick upped his game to the tune of a career-best 32 homers and 85 RBIs, but he also decided there had to be more to him than some improved numbers.
That's where the beard comes in, apparently. Where it stops, we'll never know.
It seems impossible that somebody who once was on the cover of every tabloid magazine in the country because of an alleged sex addiction could possibly want attention.
But how else do you explain Tiger Woods' weird engagement-style photos with new girlfriend Lindsey Vonn that appeared in last month's People Magazine?
Maybe Woods is seizing the opportunity to get himself in the news with something positive related to his personal life. Maybe he's desperate for the world to know he's dating someone, and not only is she not a lady of the night, but she is one of the most popular female athletes of her generation.
But whereas most celebrities firmly reject any interest in their personal lives, Woods and Vonn are taking the opposite POV. Any publicity is good publicity, right? Especially when most of the recent publicity concerns either your personal or professional failure.