30 Unintentionally Embarrassing Sports Photos
The cameras are flashing, the house lights are on. Everyone's eyes are on you.
But you’re used to it—you’re a pro, baby. You’ve spent the lion’s share of your life being watched, judged and having your actions scrutinized by others. You can roll with whatever comes your way.
Well, most of the time.
Athletes playing on a national or global stage generally learn how to deal with the constant attention and everything that comes with it, but sometimes things happen that are impossible to live down.
Prepare yourself—it’s about to get strange in here.
30. Diver Gets Caught White-Handed
“It’s not what it looks like!”
Colombian Sebastian Villa gets caught making the saddest/guiltiest diving face ever during the FINA World Championships in Shanghai.
29. Andrew Bynum’s Hair Is an Issue
Is it just me, or does the left side of Andrew Bynum’s face have its own entirely different personality?
Bynum gave a whole interview looking like this, more or less oblivious of what his hair was doing to everyone’s mind. This is some Jekyll and Hyde devilry, and I want no part in it.
28. The Weird Joy of Dufnering
“Dufnering” has become an intentionally awkward pastime for professional golfers everywhere, but the original picture of Jason Dufner sitting like a bored child in a grade-school classroom was ludicrous and embarrassing in its own perfect way.
Dufner has embraced the weird moment, however, and the results have been goofy perfection.
27. A Face Full of Kobe Beef
Before Kobe and Dwight were passive-aggressive teammates, they were slightly more aggressive opponents.
26. The Lovin’ Handful
Dwight Howard also dunked on Kobe Bryant, though the Black Mamba didn’t let the event go down without an awkward hand-in-another-man’s-crotch moment.
It’s an embarrassing moment for Bryant, who turned a poor defensive play into something that looks more like a passing of the baton in a relay race.
Remember your form, Kobe—don’t look back when you reach for the stick. It’ll be there.
25. Mark Sanchez’s Headband
Mark Sanchez said he was “channeling his inner soccer player” when he wore a headband while talking to the press earlier this May.
No one really liked it.
Sports: Have a ball! Books: Check ‘em out!
Every member of this family has a song in their heart and athletic equipment in their hand—except for mom, who appears to be a sports bookie in charge of keeping track of the numbers and suckering strangers into betting against the Johnson Family All-Stars.
Also, do not sleep on those windbreakers. Those light and lethal jackets are God’s gift to man, and they demand your respect.
23. Why Sanchez, Why?
As if being a quarterback out of USC doesn’t open a man up to enough prejudgement already, Mark Sanchez had to go and basically beg every football lover outside of New York Jets fanbase (and inside) to make fun of him forever by shooting a corny Baywatch-themed photo spread for GQ in 2009.
It’s not that he should be embarrassed of his body—he’s more shredded than a Julienne salad. It's that he believed an un-ironic, completely serious Baywatch photo shoot was a good idea. So that’s problematic.
He was an amazing ballplayer, and one hell of a human salt lick.
Yao Ming and this unnamed, unknown individual share a brief and intimate WTF moment here.
Shhh...don’t say anything. Just...enjoy it.
21. Michael Phelps Did Not Inhale
Half of the American population bricked in their pants after seeing this image of Michael Phelps (allegedly) ripping and rolling on a bong at the University of South Carolina.
Oh no! A kid who has spent the best years of his life submerged in water wants to come up for a fresh breath of the devil’s lettuce after winning eight gold medals? We have to put him down!
Alas, while it was all blown out of proportion, you can imagine Phelps would like this picture to never have been taken.
20. Mike Woodson Messed Up
Not the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to a man, but Mike Woodson’s polka dot dress shirt was a mistake.
You’re not allowed to be in charge of other grown men and wear something that looks like Hello Kitty evening wear.
19. Rex Grossman in the Downward Dog
Poor Rex Grossman, always having his hot yoga sessions on the field interrupted by immature members of the other team.
But seriously, Rex Grossman was always getting sacked. It was only a matter of time until someone snapped an embarrassingly intimate moment between the former Chicago quarterback and a tackler.
18. Larry Eustachy Bros Down
Former Iowa State basketball coach Larry Eustachy was fired from his job after pictures of him partying in Columbia, Mo. with University of Missouri undergrads surfaced in 2003.
The images show him—then 47 years old—drinking what appears to be the creamy goodness that is Natural Light beer and shmoozing with women less than half his age.
Of all the questions raised by this image, the most pressing has to be, “Is that a black turtleneck, or a slightly darker black turtleneck?”
17. Who Let Kobe in the Wardrobe Closet?
Did Kobe sneak onto the set of Indiana Jones 6: Temple of the Stupid Head Dresses, or is this just some kind of awful Photoshop incident?
Unfortunately, it’s neither. It’s a photo spread the Lakers star did for the Los Angeles Times meant to portray him in an iconic fashion—because nothing says “sports icon” like a staggeringly deep v-neck and a babushka.
16. Split Decision
Olympic swimmer Flavia Zoccari was forced to sit on the sidelines for a championship race at the Mediterranean Games in 2012 after the back of her racing suit split open.
Probably a good call on Zoccari’s part. Those suits are a lot less aerodynamic when the bottom is opened up like that. That being said, this has happened before to swimmers, and they’ve still won the race.
15. LeBron James’ Parachute Pants
He’s worn plenty goofy stuff in his day, but LeBron James’ attire was at its most ridiculous worst when he did a Bobby Brown stylized tribute (to himself).
Sure, I get it was a bit, but I’m not going to let that spoil the fact LeBron James wore parachute pants while singing a song about himself titled “My LeBrongative.”
14. Just the Sweatiest Vince Young You’ll Ever See
13. Matt Leinart Knows What the Ladies Like
After winning the Heisman Trophy in 2008, former USC Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart apparently turned into a soaked, neck-nuzzling version of his former self at the after party.
This is the product of Bacardi Anejo and poor supervision.
12. Raw Bobby Petrino
This image of Bobby Petrino is the physical embodiment of insult being added to injury.
The former Arkansas football coach crashed his motorcycle while out riding with his 25-year-old mistress and was rushed to the hospital. Shortly thereafter, the extramarital affair between the two was discovered, and Petrino was fired by the university.
This particular photo was taken at press conference prior to Petrino’s firing, where he misled the media about the motorcycle accident.
At least he had grace enough to blush.
11. Alex Rodriguez, the Man in the Mirror
10. Wet ‘N Wild Brady
The 2011 NFL offseason was especially hard on Tom Brady, who enjoyed portions of it in Mexico with his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen.
I have no idea what’s going on here, but one can only assume by Brady’s posture that this is his first time on a water slide, or he’s expecting to see ‘N Sync at the bottom.
9. An International Crisis
8. Party with Roethlisberger
A young Big Ben was caught looking extremely saucy on this day, sporting the ever-classy “Drink Like a Champion” shirt, typically given out by shot girls as a bar promotion.
Just marinate in it for a moment, and think about the many telling signs we all ignored when this image surfaced.
7. Brady Quinn: A Treasure Trove of Embarrassment
A mighty bounty of awkward, strange and ultimately regrettable images of NFL backup extraordinaire Brady Quinn exists out there.
Perhaps the most mindblowing of these photos is this one of Brady Quinn at his sister’s wedding.
One can only guess what the full story behind this picture, but if I had to guess, I could only assume the reception included some kind of contemporary one-man re-invisioning of Les Miserables, with Quinn here playing a sexed-up version the Artful Dodger.
6. Tiger Will Eat Your Dreams
My gut says it was Seabreezes, but Woods’ eyes tell a whole other story—a story where he’s the Possum King and he scurries through Lindsey Vonn’s dreams while she sleeps, devouring her imagination and ambitions for sustenance.
Hey, I’m just saying that’s what it looks like.
5. Just Another Day on the Lake with Jimmy Clausen
Nothing to see here, just a young Jimmy Clausen out on the lake with the bros.
Hold up, he’s wearing a purple and yellow sparkle Speedo. Remember this if you’re ever on the losing end of an argument with Clausen.
4. Uncle Brady’s Petting Zoo of Horrors
Few publicity stunts were more poorly conceived than Tom Brady’s goat-handling photo shoot for GQ.
Sure, he’s married to Gisele and doesn’t have to care what we think about him. That still doesn’t mean he didn’t look like an entire box of tools while holding this goat.
Even the goat’s friends are probably still ragging on him for this over-sentimental garbage.
3. The Aquatic O-Face
I’ve never seen someone with severe diarrhea jump out of an jetfighter before, but if I ever did, I imagine they would look exactly like this.
Swede Jonathan Joernfalk was caught on camera making this achingly derp-ish face while diving at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai.
The look says, "I’m brown-bricking my pants at Mach speed," or, “I’m gonna take that new chick from logistics to the party tonight...show her my O-Face.”
You know what he’s talking ‘bout.
2. The Des
There are plenty of athlete mugshots that could go on here as unintentionally embarrassing, but the best of all is the hapless Mona Lisa that was the one of Desmond Bryant taken this spring.
The former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle was arrested in February after drunkenly attempting to break into a North Miami Beach home. The resulting photo is priceless and should be considered by all of us as high art.
1. Oscar De La Hoya Wears Women’s Clothing
I'm completely cool with people doing whatever they want in their life, but this is kind of a problem.
Never will you, nor Oscar De La Hoya, ever forget his infamous cross-dressing spectacular. At most, we'll be able to move on.