20 Old Athletes Who Want You off Their Lawn
As the years go by, people tend to forget what it was like to be a carefree youth with next to no responsibilities and your entire future ahead of you. The drains of the real world can be, well, draining.
Even for current and former professional athletes.
So many athletes who started their careers as bright-eyed optimists with a smile permanently glued to their face have gradually descended into a darker place, and all of them have their own reasons.
That's assuming they were ever affable and inviting human beings to begin with—and many were not. Some people are just born with the personality and sensibilities of The Simpsons' Mr. Burns.
Getting old and cranky can manifest itself in various ways. It could be something as harmless as taking the filter off and speaking your mind about someone you never would have dared to mention as a young man.
Or it could be something as serious as developing a God complex, which has the potential to make you a danger to everyone around you. Or just make you extremely irritating.
Here are 20 athletes who want you to get the heck off their lawn.
20. Jim Harbaugh, Retired NFL Player
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San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh isn't someone you'd ever describe as "warm and fuzzy." Granted, he isn't a puppy, so that makes sense. He's more like a hissing possum in a barn.
He's most definitely not the Harbaugh brother you ever want to be dealing with, unless he's your coach.
While brother John has a friendly ease and a natural sense of humor with the media, Jim has cold and repetitive rapport that sometimes comes across as maniacal and always comes across as hostile.
He never changes his clothes. He aggressively pursues rivalries with fellow coaches. He holds grudges. And he almost never apologizes unless it's dripping with sarcasm. You don't want to grapple with this dude.
Harbaugh is private, prone to fits of rage and has a heckuva a short fuse. Plus, he used to be an NFL quarterback. So not only does he want you off his lawn, but he'd also have no problem physically removing you himself.
19. Ray Whitney, Dallas Stars
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There are few things that exclaim "Get off my lawn!" like launching into a story about the good old days, when men were men and chocolate bars were just a nickel.
Not to mention those tough walks to school in the winter, trudging through 10 feet of snow, uphill both ways. Sure makes you wonder why people look back so fondly on those days.
In March 2013, 41-year-old Stars forward Ray Whitney didn't go quite that far when discussing the mindset of today's young players in an interview.
Although, he didn't stop all that far short either. The piece on Mayor's Manor was hilariously titled "Ray Whitney explains what's wrong with the NHL today."
Whitney went on to provide a laundry list of everything those pesky kids today do that really grind his gears. He also explained the difference between work time and non-work time.
Work time is for work. Non-work time is for checking text messages from your girlfriend. See the distinction? No? Well, then you might want to avoid Ray Whitney in social situations.
Naturally, as someone who is slightly closer to 40 than 20, I'm picking up what Whitney's putting down. But it might be time to consider retirement before some serious bitterness sets in. He's about two seasons away from chasing the rookies out of the locker room with a broom.
18. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
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Celtics big man Kevin Garnett has been using his massive physical presence to impose his will on the opposition for just under two decades. He's just, quite simply, someone you don't want to mess with.
But, to be fair, it's just a good practice in life to avoid screwing with anyone who is 18 inches taller than you. There are few scenarios in which that will end well for you. But I digress.
Garnett hasn't been ranked among the NBA's biggest trash-talkers and least-liked players for much of the past decade because of his sunny disposition. KG is a bully on the court who has routinely made headlines for altercations on the court.
But apparently he's a big teddy bear off the court—that, or something like it, according to Doc Rivers.
But just to be on the safe side, you probably just want to go ahead and assume KG wants you off his lawn. That goes double, maybe triple, if you're named Carmelo Anthony.
17. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
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Yankees dud Alex Rodriguez is a strange one. An anomaly. A mystery wrapped in a riddle.
It's hard to remember if he was always the dead-behind-the-eyes narcissist we know today, but I certainly don't remember him any other way.
A-Rod is cold and dismissive to the point of being robotic at times. He knows that he's damn near universally reviled, and he literally doesn't seem to care in the slightest.
The only thing Alex Rodriguez cares about is Alex Rodriguez.
So it's a given that he doesn't want you on his lawn. He doesn't want you within 100 yards of his lawn. In fact, he'd probably prefer you and he ceased to even exist on the same planet.
And unless you're there to deliver those new paintings of him as a centaur he commissioned, you'd best keep your distance. He's probably got a garage filled with 'roided-up A-Robots to do his bidding.
16. Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
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You don't have to be a lifelong cranky-pants to qualify for "get off my lawn" status. Such is the case with Ducks forward Teemu Selanne, who has been anything but since beginning his career in the NHL more than two decades ago.
Playing two decades in any professional sport, let alone a physically demanding one like hockey, is positively unfathomable. There is just a handful of players in history, including the great Gordie Howe, who have surpassed Selanne in number of games played.
Which is probably why the generally affable Selanne feels he's reached a point in his career where he can say whatever the hell he wants. Something he wouldn't have done years ago, but really couldn't care less about at this point.
In September 2013, Selanne pulled a James Harrison, only a much more mild version, speaking very candidly on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He offered his opinion on Bettman's 20 years on the job and added, "He is certainly the NHL's most hated person."
Selanne may be cranky, but when you're right, you're right. Gary Bettman better stay off his lawn.
15. Randy Moss, NFL Free Agent
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Few players in NFL history have had fewer "Fs" to give than notoriously nasty and legendarily lazy wide receiver Randy Moss.
Maintaining personal relationships with his teammates, mentors and coaches has been very low down on his list of priorities throughout his career. They fall somewhere below smoking weed and belittling caterers.
He showed up in games when he wanted to and completely checked out he wasn't feeling it—sometimes for weeks at a time. Moss has always been more concerned about sounding off about perceived slights and showboating than anything else.
And the fact that he declared himself the best wideout of all time prior to the Super Bowl in January 2013, considering his past three seasons, that really says it all. Moss is an ill-tempered jerk who doesn't care about anyone but himself.
Unless you're there to bring him a dime bag or pat him on the back for all of his unfulfilled potential, you can be certain Moss doesn't want you on his lawn—or on his back—for any reason.
14. Lance Armstrong, Disgraced Cyclist
Former cycling "great" Lance Armstrong had the public so snowed for such a long period of time.
The unprecedented success at the Tour de France. The stunning recovery and comeback from cancer to return to the top of his sport. The friendly and heroic public persona who had everyone in America sporting those yellow "Livestrong" bands in support of Armstrong and his charitable foundation of the same name.
Sure, those pesky allegations of doping followed him throughout his career, but his word was more than enough for most people to dismiss them. People were jealous. Teammates were trying to save their own skin. Everyone just wanted to knock down Armstrong a few pegs because of his success.
But, as it turns out, Armstrong is nothing but a nasty, vindictive liar who treated everyone in his life as nothing more than a bug to be crushed. You better stay off his lawn because he won't just take you down—he'll take down your entire family, too.
Turns out our once-national hero is more of a North Korean gulag than role model. Step foot on his lawn and he'll probably sic his legal team on you, ruin your reputation and sue you for slander...and libel...and probably criminal trespassing.
Don't worry, though, the first two charges would immediately be dismissed.
13. Serena Williams, Tennis
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Serena Williams is one of the greatest female talents the game of tennis has ever seen, if not the best. But she's also got a hot temper and has been known to lash out on the court when things don't go her way.
In 2009, she was fined a whopping $82,500, a record at the time, for her infamous tirade at the U.S. Open. Williams went off on a line judge for calling foot fault, which resulted in a relatively unheard of double-fault that put her opponent Kim Clijsters within one point of victory.
Two years later, at the very same event, Williams again freaked out at an umpire over a call. She was fined for calling the official "unattractive" on the inside and a "loser." Williams went on to accuse the umpire of conspiring against her and being involved in the 2009 incident.
And in May 2013, we learned that Williams doesn't leave those hard feelings on the court. Sloane Stephens, the 20-year-old American who upset Williams at the Australian Open, accused her of being a phony—and a meanie.
Stephens let loose on Williams, once believed to be her mentor and idol, insisting that she was never either. She added that after the upset, Williams unfollowed her on Twitter, blocked her on BlackBerry Messenger and basically just cut her out of her life entirely.
You better keep off her lawn unless you're prepared for a mean-girl confrontation that would likely haunt your dreams for years to come. You just know Williams could bust out some insults that wold make a grown man cry.
12. Brett Favre, Retired NFL Player
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Remember back when retired quarterback Brett Favre was one of the most beloved players in the NFL? It's been quite awhile, but fondness for The Old Gunslinger extended far beyond Green Bay, where he won his only Super Bowl with the Packers.
But the likability meter for Favre started to slowly tick downward toward the end of his career. The "will he or won't he?" retirement spectacle that capped every season became too much to bear.
And his ice-cold treatment of Aaron Rodgers, who the Packers drafted in 2005 as his eventual replacement, certainly didn't make him look any better.
It's like the moment A-Rodge came to town, Favre began to transition from Spiderman into Venom. Sorry if you don't get that reference. Actually, shame on you if you don't get that reference.
Then Favre eventually decided he wanted out of Green Bay to sign with the division rival Vikings—obviously because he wanted to stick it to everyone. Instead, he was traded to the Jets, where he became embroiled in an almost-sex scandal, chronicled by Deadspin in October 2010.
He ultimately signed with the Vikings, playing one great season and one miserable season before retiring with a whimper. He had long since stopped attending off-season team events and his demeanor with the media became standoffish, even hostile at times.
It was the culmination of the last few years of his career that turned Favre into a bitter old man. He wants you out of his hair and off his back, and you'd best keep yourself off his freshly manicured lawn—because you know he just finished doing that himself on one of those big-ass John Deere mowers.
11. Diego Maradona, Retired Soccer Player
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Retired footballer Diego Maradona is a living legend and one of the greatest of all time. Not that he'd agree with that statement at all. He disagrees with pretty much everything just on principle.
Probably because he's arrogant, brash and mean as hell.
While almost anyone who plays the game would be thrilled just to be mentioned alongside the great Pele, Maradona considers it more of an insult. That's because no one on earth has a higher opinion of Maradona than the man himself.
He's cultivated a longstanding feud with Pele over the past decade. He's befriended dictators like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and has made no secret of the fact that he hates the U.S. Uh, all press is good press, right?
Maradona has always been quick to point out his own greatness and marginalize that of anyone around him. But he's generally mute on issues such as his hot temper, history of drug problems and the lack of physical conditioning that plagued his career.
All of which are topics of conversation you'll want to avoid trying to broach as he chases you off his lawn with a machete likely given to him as a gift from one of his dictator friends.
10. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
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Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has everything in the world to be thrilled about.
He's a starting quarterback in the NFL. He's engaged to a beautiful woman, and the pair welcomed their first child not long ago. He's doing pretty well financially—and by "pretty well," obviously I mean he's rich as hell.
All that goodness and yet he remains one of the most unpleasant, inaccessible athletes in the NFL. Cutler is short with the media, sometimes downright dismissive, and has a hairpin trigger with the rage.
He hates publicity. He hates people up in his grill. He just has a face that suggests that he hates pretty much everything on earth. Sorry, Bears fans, but you know it's true.
And he really hates paparazzi, which we learned during his infamous run-in with them in Chicago in May 2013. Cutler flipped off the camera while walking his comically small dog and later did the same thing while being dragged away from the scene by wife-to-be Kristin Cavallari.
I'd avoid his lawn for sure. Because if he has zero patience for someone on a public street, I can't imagine he'd have any for you on his personal property. But at least you know you could take the dog if it came down to it.
9. Tommy Lasorda, Retired MLB Player
Hall of Fame baseball legend Tommy Lasorda is pushing 90, but in May 2013, he was introduced to a whole new generation of fans who are too young to have ever seen him in action.
Attending a Dodgers game, Lasorda had a prime seat for an impromptu performance of viral sensation PSY, as he danced to his new single "Gentlemen." His reaction was absolutely priceless, and the very definition of "Get off my lawn!"
Anyone familiar with Lasorda's career wouldn't have expected any less from the famous curmudgeon. Expletive-laced tirades and hostile confrontations are just as much a part of his legacy as everything else in his career in MLB, which spanned more than 40 years.
Lasorda is definitely the prototypical cranky old man in the neighborhood who collects any toy that happens to land on his lawn—just to teach you kids a lesson. But he also seems like the type who could be misunderstood and befriended by an adorable young scamp.
Like the old man in Home Alone! Aww.
8. Jim Brown, Retired NFL Player
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Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown retired before the 1966 season, and nearly a half-century later, he still remains the general consensus pick as the greatest of all time. (But if you disagree, please keep it to yourself.)
This distinction was made all the more impressive by the fact that he packed it in at the age of 30, wanting to go out on top. Kind of like former Giants running back Tiki Barber, except in a way that didn't make everyone on earth hate him for it.
Brown was not only a force to be reckoned with on the football field, but he was also a force of nature in life. Someone you don't want to tango with—like an agitated grizzly bear armed with an automatic weapon. It's a fight you won't win, so it's best to not even go there.
Brown has a checkered past that includes a number of run-ins with the law—some far more serious than others. He's also been an outspoken critic of "the modern African-American athlete for what he perceives as a lack of involvement in the [their own] community."
He's tough. He's outspoken, despite having a steely stare that speaks for him. And he's probably still more than willing, and able, to kick your ass for stepping for on his lawn without being explicitly invited.
7. John McEnroe, Retired Tennis Player
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Tennis great John McEnroe is one of the most famously hostile athletes in sports history. In fact, his temper was so ridiculously out of control in his prime that it would've been completely intolerable if he wasn't so damn good.
McEnroe may be able to appreciate and respect his famous rivalries with the likes of Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors now, but they were anything but friendly back in the day, although his opponents had it easy compared to the true objects of his animosity—the umpires.
For as much success as he had on the court during his career, which was a lot, McEnroe is even more well known today for his legendary tirades. If you weren't watching tennis in the early '80s, McEnroe's tennis tantrums are likely all you've ever seen of him on the court.
"You cannot be serious!" You know who was serious? McEnroe. Serious as a heart attack. Serious as an alien invasion. Serious as Bill Pullman in Independence Day.
And that kind of personality is like a diamond, in that it's forever. McEnroe still continues to run his mouth in mostly negative ways, like when he insisted that the poor frail women shouldn't be expected to play as many events as the men back in August 2010.
Thanks for sticking up for the ladies, Johnny Mac!
CNN profiled him in February 2013 in a feature titled "John McEnroe: 'Attila the Hun' of Tennis." He did reveal a semi-softer side of himself, but he certainly didn't say anything that would lead you to believe you would be welcome on his lawn. Ever. EVER.
6. Tiger Woods, PGA
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Golf great Tiger Woods is notoriously cranky and privacy obsessed. His $50 million estate is built on Florida's Jupiter Island, which had a population of just over 800 people in 2011.
A location he chose, undoubtedly, to make his lawn relatively inaccessible.
Woods' yacht is even named "Privacy," because he's subtle like a sledgehammer.
Although he's been like this to some degree throughout his career, his cantankerous nature has reached new heights since his infamous sex scandal broke in 2009.
Which actually make sense. Unlike the illegal drop penalty he took at the Masters in 2013.
And something tells me that as Woods approaches the big 4-0, the fuse lit by stepping foot on his lawn, or asking him the same question twice, or making direct eye contact after he warned you not to, is only going to shorten.
So tread lightly. Or not at all.
5. John Rocker, Retired MLB Player
In a Sports Illustrated profile of former Braves pitcher John Rocker, which was published two days before Christmas 1999, he revealed himself as one of the most notoriously hateful athletes in sports history. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like referring to one of your black teammates as a "fat monkey."
We're talking Ty Cobb levels of vitriol. But don't worry, he's not a racist or prejudiced person or anything. I know that because Rocker assured the world he was not in the very same article.
Rocker railed against foreigners, redundantly adding the fact that he's "not a very big fan" of them. He touched on racial and gender stereotypes, used explicit language, compared New York City to Beirut and complained about sitting next to "some queer with AIDS" and welfare mothers on the subway.
Which was totally relevant, because living in DC, I know that all visiting baseball teams are forced to take the Metro to Nationals Park at gunpoint.
Actually, he did preface that statement with "imagine having to" take the subway to the ballpark, so I imagine he was just using his vividly hateful imagination.
I suspect Rocker hasn't mellowed much in the decade since that interview, as people tend to become more entrenched in their views as they age. He's been trying to start a second career as a conservative columnist, despite having a limited grasp of the English language.
And, ironically, a crusader for the English language. As in—speak it or else.
So my best advice would be to stay off his lawn because Rocker isn't afraid of a confrontation. He might mind his manners if you are a likeminded middle-aged white male jagweed.
But even then, you better have proof of U.S. citizenship and a pretty convincing argument for him not to stand his ground on you.
4. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
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Lakers legend Kobe Bryant may only be 34 years old, but he can dress anyone down with the confident ease of a much older man. He seriously just doesn't give a crap and he never really has.
Throughout his career, the Black Mamba has been routinely making lists of the most hated athletes in sports because of his unabashedly frank way with words, not to mention his aggressive and dominating play on the court.
Bryant is not interested in your opinion, but he's more than happy to give you his, which is always painfully un-sugarcoated. He won't even hesitate to call out a teammate if he feels the situation warrants it—right, Dwight?
So if you step foot on his lawn, you had best be invited. Otherwise, you're more than likely going to make him angry, and you won't like the Black Mamba when he's angry.
3. Mike Ditka, Retired NFL Player
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Retired NFL player and coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Ditka probably wanted you kids off his lawn even when he was a kid himself.
Not that I have any definitive proof of that or anything, but Ditka has been so old and angry for so long that it's hard to imagine he ever existed on any other level.
Honestly, when I picture him in grade school, he has the same mustache and is yelling at a teacher.
And as if football wasn't enough in itself to get him foaming at the mouth, Ditka's foray into the political realm in recent years surely hasn't improved his disposition. He's gone from yelly to yellier. Angry to angrier. Red-faced to even more red-faced.
Even his mustache looks more aggressive.
It's not even the fact that he's on the far right wing of the spectrum either. Becoming vocally involved in politics at such a late age is usually done by society's loudest and most combative, regardless of political affiliation.
So anyone would be best served by staying off Ditka's lawn, unless they enjoy being hollered at by a red-faced old man with a formidable mustache who couldn't care less about running outside in his bathrobe to chase you away with some form of weaponry.
2. Albert Belle, Retired MLB Player
Retired left fielder Albert Belle was nothing short of a public menace through most of his 11-year career in MLB. He was destructive and prone to fits of caffeinated rage, apparently.
Belle was known to destroy postgame buffets and wield his bat as a weapon, and he earned the nickname "Mr. Freeze" after smashing a thermostat in retaliation for a chilly teammate turning up the heat. The nerve of some people, am I right?
Belle faced accusations that he gambled on baseball. He once swore at a fan who refused to return a home run ball he hit in Texas. Belle's maniacal tirades with the Indians and Orioles cost him heavily over the years, both in terms of suspensions and fines handed down by the league.
Oh, and in 1996, Belle admitted he chased a teenager through a muddy field in his pickup truck for being a "Halloween vandal." A totally proportional response for having your house egged. He actually hit the kid, who eventually sued him for $850K.
And if you think he has any regrets, think again.
In an interview with CSNChicago in April 2013, Belle sounded anything but contrite about his past. He denied the accusations that he corked his bat and basically had a finger to point at everyone but himself.
Belle is still self-serving. He's still accusatory and mean. And he's more than willing to go to the grave with his indiscretions, rather than ever 'fess up.
I think it's safe to say that the last place you want to be is on this guy's lawn, because you know he surely doesn't want you there and will probably run you over with his pickup truck if he catches you anywhere near it.
1. Kurt Busch, NASCAR
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NASCAR driver Kurt Busch only likes three things in this world: racing cars, kicking ass and saying super mean things. So unless he's safely tucked away in the confines of his car, driving endless circles around a track, avoiding his gaze is your best course of action.
Busch has always had a hateful way with words that he's never hesitated to unleash on the media, fellow drivers and even members of his own family. He's been involved in high-profile incidents with Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jimmy Spencer, Ryan Newman and pretty much every driver in the sport.
Although some of those flair-ups can be attributed to the intensity of the sport, Busch has no one to blame but himself for the infamous confrontation—and the suspension it earned him—he had with a sports reporter after the Nationwide Series race in June 2012.
At the time, he was already on probation for a nasty run-in with Ryan Newman and his pit crew a month earlier, which is the least surprising thing I've heard in days.
And you might want to avoid him on the real-people road if you happen to spot him, considering he was arrested for DUI and getting physical with a police officer during a traffic stop in 2005.
Busch was suspended for the rest of the racing season after the incident, which is the least surprising thing I've heard since two sentences ago.
Kurt Busch is an unpredictable and sometimes violent individual with the patience of a starving tiger and the personality of a junkyard dog.
He wants you off his lawn, and you better heed the warning, because that "Beware of Dog" sign in his front yard isn't referring to the lovable family watchdog. It's referring to Busch himself.
You Know Who Wouldn't Chase You off of His Lawn? This Guy.
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I've only seen one episode of What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, which is one more than I wish I had seen, but I feel pretty confident that one of the many answers to that questions is "Not kick you off his lawn."
Other answers include:
"Drink and talk about sex."
And answer almost every question, no matter the subject, with the phrase "Honestly, I have no idea,"
Lochte may be dumb as a brick, but he seems friendly enough.
**Speaking of trespassing on the personal property of professional athletes, you should follow me on Twitter. We can plan a field trip to the lawn of someone who won't have us arrested. Follow @blamberr