The Worst Sports Boasts of All Time
There have been some pretty outlandish claims and bad and/or off-base boasts made by influential sports figures.
Mostly, they're predictions gone awry. And, mostly, they're pretty laughable in hindsight. Which is the great thing separating sports and entertainment from more serious aspects of society.
Here are the worst sports boasts of all time.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
In May 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves down 3-0 to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals. Not that the deficit caused any kind of crisis in confidence for Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers superstar publicly said he believed the Lakers would still win the series, although no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. L.A. didn’t even get close. It lost Game 4 122-86.
Seriously, Chael Sonnen?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
People don't take UFC fighter Chael Sonnen very seriously. A major reason is that his mouth writes checks his body can't cash.
For instance, Sonnen dogged on light heavyweight champion Jon Jones last summer, saying that if he returned to Jones’ weight level he “could take Jon Jones' belt away the same as I could take away his candy on Halloween. Like a little punk kid, I could snatch it away all I want."
Sonnen got his shot at Jones a few days ago. He went down late in the first round and Jones was pounding on him with punches and elbows when the ref stopped the fight at 4:33.
Miami Gets Served
Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images
No. 1 Miami’s players were not shy about trash talking their opponents a few days before a 1993 Sugar Bowl showdown with No. 2 Alabama. Even Hurricane backups, such as linebacker Rohan Marley, got into the act:
"I was dissing on one of their offensive linemen telling the fat slob he couldn't block me," Marley told the Baltimore Sun. The son of Bob Marley added: "Alabama is a one-dimensional team, not a complete team, and we're going to kick their a** … It's going to be a good night for us. I wish we could play now."
Sorry, Rohan, but almost every little thing did not go all right for Miami when the game actually got underway. Alabama shackled Miami’s previously high-powered offense and rolled to a 34-13 win.
Can't Break Through
Bob Levey/Getty Images
No matter how hard Houston's NFL team bangs on the Super Bowl door, it just can’t seem to break through. The closest it came was after the 1979 season, under head coach Bum Phillips, when the Oilers fell to Pittsburgh 27-13 in the AFC Championship game.
“Embarrassed and disappointed, they flew home after the game and went straight to the Astrodome where 70,000 fans were waiting to show their support, Jeff Pearlman wrote in a 1997 Sports Illustrated article. “With tears in his eyes, Phillips addressed the crowd, "Last year we knocked on the door. This year we beat on it. Next year, we're going to kick the son of a bitch in."
The Oilers never returned to the AFC championship game. Houston's newer franchise, the Texans, hasn't had much more luck.
Garnett Promises the Moon
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
The Boston Celtics won a title in 2008, and its top stars expected more to follow. Forward Kevin Garnett guaranteed not one, but two, more titles for the “Big Three:” himself, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.
Garnett predicted Boston would take the 2010 and 2011 titles.
The Celts didn’t win either title, and with the ascendancy of Miami, don't expect them to return the finals any time soon.
A Really Presumptuous Bumper Sticker
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan must have a loose definition of “soon.”
Before the 2009 season, he not only guaranteed a title, but made sure the phrase "Soon to be Champs” was splashed across the back of his team’s ESPN bus. “I'm not apologizing,” Ryan told ESPN.com. “I just know what's going to happen. My crystal ball, I'm seeing a Super Bowl trophy in there.”
Four years later, Jets fans are still waiting for Ryan to deliver his first actual trophy...you know, the kind that exists outside of a crystal ball.
Hell, at this point, even a simple Super Bowl appearance would be nice.
LeBron Wins Again
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wasn't happy when superstar LeBron James left the franchise for Miami in 2010. He was so unhappy that out of anger, he guaranteed Cleveland fans that their team would win its first NBA title before LeBron James did.
James, Wade, Bosh et al did their thing last year, and are favorites to do it again this postseason.
Marlins = Absolute Mess
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
It's a good thing Miami sports fans had a NBA title for solace last year, because they needed it with the train wreck of a season their MLB team experienced.
Entering the 2012 season, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said his team would be competitive after the public funded a $650 million stadium project and the franchise signed multiple All-Star free agents.
The Marlins finished last in the National League East.
One Giant Step for Womankind
Getty Images/Getty Images
Before Chael Sonnen in UFC, there was this Bobby Riggs in tennis.
Riggs was a great tennis player in the 1940s, but by the 1970s he was a shell of his former self. That didn't matter to this master self-promoter, though, who decided to come out of retirement to challenge the top female tennis players in the world in made-for-TV cash bonanza spectaculars.
Riggs repeatedly boasted he would trounce Billie Jean King in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” showdown in Houston, even though Riggs was 55 years old and King was near her prime at 29 years old.
King ended up destroying Riggs in straight sets: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3...for the $100,000 winner-take-all prize.