Showdown: Athletes vs. Hecklers
As any sports fan knows, heckling is an art form.
It takes more than just shouting a player's name, trying to ridicule their play or even calling out their off-field misfortunes.
Since we've seen plenty of battles between athletes and fans—quite literally, in some cases—let's weigh in on who won the battle of the heckling war, athletes or fans?
Shane Victorino vs. Cubs Fans
Did it suck for Shane Victorino to be embarrassed by having a guy shower him in beer while making a catch?
This Cubs fan threw a delicious cold beer at an opposing player, and knowing that the damn thing probably cost him about $8 makes it a hell of a lot worse.
Seeing that the guy who tossed it at the former Phils outfielder was charged for his idiotic heckling attempt makes him a complete loser in this showdown.
Winner: Shane Victorino
Happy Gilmore vs. Heckler
So this might not have really happened, but in our childhood it was one of the best heckling moments we had ever seen.
Its simplicity can't be overlooked, as the fan gets right to the point, causing Happy Gilmore to miss his putt, fall to last place in the Pro-Am and cause one of the best movie fights to happen.
Winner: The fan
Kevin Durant vs. New York City Heckler
Remember when the NBA lockout was going on and a lot of players played pickup games around the country to help stay polished and prove to fans that all they wanted to do was play basketball?
Well, in Kevin Durant's case, he was able to prove to some heckling fans just how great he really was—as if his consecutive scoring titles hadn't already done that.
K.D. not only laughed off the taunts throughout the game, but after hitting the game-tying three and leading his team to an OT win, he acknowledged the fans with a simple wave.
Winner: Kevin Durant
Eric Cantona vs. Crystal Palace Fan
In 1995, after being sent off following a vengeful kick on opponent Richard Shaw, Eric Cantona—the former Manchester United great—focused his anger toward opposing fan Matthew Simmons, who clearly said some unkind words to the forward.
Simmons may have received a seven-day prison sentence, only serving 24 hours, but Cantona's penalty was a bit more harsh: He was banned nine months, fined £10,000 ($16,500) and sentenced to 120 hours of community service.
In 2007, Cantona admitted, "I have a lot of good moments, but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan."
Winner: Seeing that he owns it, Eric Cantona.
Kobe Bryant vs. Spurs Fan
Let's face it—Kobe Bryant will find any motivation to take over a game, so even if a fan breathes at him the wrong way, your favorite team is usually screwed.
Mark Jackson said it best at the end of this clip when he mentioned Manu Ginobili should lean over to the fan and plead with him not to ride Kobe in fear of pissing him off.
The guy has five titles and is one of the fiercest competitors to ever play a sport; we'd suggest picking on another guy.
Matt Diaz vs. Mets Fan
This Mets fan just wouldn't let down his guard one bit.
At every opportunity, former Braves left fielder Matt Diaz got laid into by some random bleacher bum during a game last year.
Diaz initially answers the call by rolling up his pants and showing the guy that he's not wearing different-colored socks—which is an awful knock on a player in the first place—but then ignores the guy.
We kept waiting for one classic moment to remember, but sadly it never happened for Diaz.
LeBron James vs. Raptors Fan
Now who on earth would want to try to piss off the greatest basketball player on the planet?
Sure, fans may have mixed opinions on LeBron James, but at this point in his career, we've seen plenty of times where he's proven to have another gear in order to lead his team to victory.
That's why we don't think these poor girls knew exactly what they were doing when they started yapping at James during a 2008 game between the Raptors and Cavs, because Bron Bron completely took over and then blamed them for motivating him.
Winner: The King
Melky Cabrera vs. Blue Jays Fan
Our only beef with this video is that we can't really hear a thing the fan is actually yelling toward the former Yanks outfielder.
But considering the "Melk Man" keeps pointing out the fact that he plays for the biggest and baddest team in all of sports, we'd imagine he's tastefully reminding the poor guy that the Yanks are the Yanks, and have 27 World Series titles, while the Blue Jays have won a total of two—though they were back-to-back.
Sorry bro, the numbers don't lie in this case.
Winner: Melky Cabrera
Tie Domi vs. Flyers Fan
As a fan, please remember to pick your battles appropriately.
For instance, heckling a guy who ranks third in career penalty minutes probably wouldn't be the smartest move—or at least one would think.
Unfortunately for Flyers fan Chris Falcone, he took the chance—and you can see how it ended up for him.
Winner: Tie Domi
James Harrison vs. Browns Fan
As a pro athlete who's just trying to play a game, we'd imagine there are few things more annoying than seeing some drunk guy run onto the field to interrupt your job.
That's why it wasn't surprising to see former Steelers linebacker—and resident badass—James Harrison body-slam this poor dude to the frozen December turf in Cleveland a couple years ago.
The fan may have gotten his 15 seconds of fame, but good luck getting back into the Browns' stadium anytime soon.
Winner: James Harrison
Carlos Lee vs. Phillies Fan
Though there are several pro athletes who aren't exactly in the greatest of shape, there are few that we'd consider downright obese.
While outfielder Carlos Lee packs 255 pounds onto his 6'2" frame, he's not necessarily the biggest ballplayer we've ever seen before.
When Phillies fans tried to point out how big he was, he laughed with them for a bit—then got the last laugh by belting three homers (including a grand slam) and driving in six runs.
Winner: The man they call "El Caballo"
Ryan Getzlaf vs. Kings Fan
Any fan who sits right next to the penalty box probably loves the fact that they'll have a chance to yell at players.
But remember to never take it too far—especially in a close game in the third period.
Luckily for the fan here, the glass protected him from the Gatorade that Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf tried spraying him with. Otherwise it could have been quite the mess.
Winner: A straight draw
Kellen Huston vs. Missouri Fan
Anytime a player is on the wrong end of a game, it's understandable for them to be a little ticked off that all the film study and hard physical work put in didn't pay off.
It makes it worse when their team is favored to win, and when it doesn't, fans storm the field to rub salt in that wound.
But never should a losing player take it out on a poor fan just trying to celebrate with his fellow fans, which was the case here.
A former Cornhusker, Huston was suspended a game and pleaded guilty to a $500 fine—and damaged his reputation a little bit.
Winner: Though he got knocked out, the fan wins this one.
Chris Perez vs. Athletics Fan
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Indians closer Chris Perez is a fiery guy.
When asked to come over to the railing by an Athletics fan late last season, he obliged and headed over to exchange some words with the rowdy fan.
Unfortunately, the video is a little too vulgar to show, but you can read about the incident, proving that when a fan tries to stand up to a pro athlete, they better know what the next step is once that guy comes over to them so as not to get punked out.
Winner: We guess it's Perez?
Shaun Ellis vs. Seahawks Fan
No one really enjoys getting pelted by a snowball, so when Seahawks fans felt it necessary to pack the white stuff and throw it at the opposing Jets team as they exited the field, New York's defensive lineman Shaun Ellis thought he'd get some payback.
The big man picked up what seemed to be the biggest chunk of snow he could find, tossing it into the stands at the first guy he saw.
The NFL fined Ellis $10,000 for his decision, so it's hard to think he won in this instance.
Winner: The fans
Jackie Manuel vs. Speedo Guy
Not all heckling has to be done verbally, as this former Cameron Crazy proved during the annual matchup against hated rival UNC back in 2003.
Though we secretly feel like this guy is really just Andrew Luck in disguise, he did an absolutely stellar job at distracting Tar Hell shooter Jackie Manuel, causing him to miss both free throws thanks to a little Speedo dance.
Never underestimate the power of a man in spandex underwear.
Winner: Speedo Guy
Terry O'Reilly vs. Rangers Fans
In the middle of an on-ice riot, the last thing a fan should consider doing is somehow getting involved by grabbing an opposing player's stick.
This guy learned the hard way what the consequences might be when wild man Terry O'Reilly hopped the glass and went after the dude in the stands.
O'Reilly avoided any charges from the incident, only received an eight-game ban from the league and we assume got his stick back, so we'd say he didn't do too bad for himself.
Winner: Terry O'Reilly
Ron Artest vs. Pistons Fans
In one of the scariest scenes ever witnessed on any level of sports, Ron Artest headed into the stands and subsequently beat down an unassuming fan after getting a beer thrown on him—and the poor kid wasn't even the one who threw the cup.
We all know what happened thereafter.
Multiple Pacers took part in taking on fans and literally going mano-a-mano with anyone in their path.
Definitely an embarrassing, sad and scary day for the NBA—one that cost Artest a total of 86 games.
Winner: Is there really a winner in this? Seeing that it hurt the rep of the participating players while costing them millions in game checks, we'll give the nod to the fans.
Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Rockies Fan
By far, this is the greatest reaction to a heckler we've ever seen from an athlete.
Normally, players are so robotic in their stance against heckling fans, as they're taught to ignore them and focus on the game.
But when Gwynn uses his glove over his butt to imitate the guy talking, it's pure enjoyment and payback for all the times other guys just took the jawing.
We love how the left fielder actually got out of his stance to see what would happen with the pitch and then went back to razz the fan.
Winner: Tony Gwynn Jr.
Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee
In one of the most iconic athlete-fan rivalries in sports history, Reggie Miller and Spike Lee took jabs at each other each time the Pacers visited Madison Square Garden like two heavyweights trading licks inside a ring.
But when Miller scored eight points in nine seconds—in a playoff game, nonetheless—fans would be hard-pressed to find a more "take that" moment.
Winner: Reggie Miller