Ranking the Top 10 Funniest Sports Interviews
We fans of sports really are spoiled. Not only do we get to enjoy athletes perform at the peak of their physical abilities, we also get to enjoy their intimate moments with the press.
Sure, the majority of them keep it professional. Every once in a while, however, we are blessed with something far better: high comedy.
Be it intentional or not, the moment certain athletes or coaches have a microphone in front of them, every word that flows out of their mouths is met with laughter by all those listening.
Let's take a look at the 10 funniest interviews to date.
No. 10: Mike Ditka—What Do You Care?
It’s always refreshing when a coach is as accommodating as Mike Ditka. After all, how many of them actually start off a media session by asking them what they want to know?
Gregg Popovich seems tame compared to the ravaging that Ditka gave the members of the press that day. Someone should tell that guy that when Ditka’s in a bad mood, you probably shouldn’t ask about it. He’s lucky all he got was, “What do you care?”
To his credit, at least Ditka knew that it was an unpleasant experience for everyone. Sometimes you just have to let out some steam. Unfortunately for everyone wearing a press badge that day, the locomotive that was Mike Ditka rolled right over all of them.
The beautiful thing about life, however, is that there’s always a silver lining; at least he kept it short and (not so) sweet! Half-day for the media!
No. 9: Nail Yakupov—Breaking It Down
I...I don’t even know where to start. I love this guy! In case you missed it, Canada lost to Russia. I think that was the basic gist of it.
In his defense, his English is a hell of a lot better than my Russian. And he came into the interview with a plan, dutifully informing the world that poor ol’ Canada had been relegated to No. 2.
His general excitement is what puts it over the top, his impersonation of the Russian fans cheering for him at the end cementing his spot on the list. The absolute pinnacle of it all, though, is his politeness at the end. If only all athletes could end their interviews with a smile and a “Thanks guys!”
Nail Yakupov, we salute you.
No. 8: Bart Scott—Can’t Wait!
You have to hand it to Bart Scott; while his play has seen an inevitable decline, we will always be grateful for the comedic gold that was his interview with Sal Paolantonio of ESPN.com after the New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots 28-21 in the 2011 playoffs.
Not one to hold back, Scott called out all the “non-believers” who dared disrespect him and his team, curiously singling out poor old Mark Jackson for, not surprisingly, picking the Patriots to defeat his squad.
While his Jets were ultimately defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the next round, Scott transcended the NFL playoffs that year, his interview the lasting moment that we all remember of the Jets run.
No. 7: Mike Gundy—I’m a Man! I’m 40!
Mike Gundy doesn't care about social conventions; you're not a man until your 40. All you kids anxiously awaiting those 18th birthdays? They mean nothing!
Let’s not be too hard on the man. After all, he was attempting to defend his player, something that we always expect out of leaders of men. We can overlook the fact that everything he said oozed of hypocrisy.
This couldn’t have been delivered more perfectly. The facial expressions were legendary. The body movement was in perfect flow. And, well, we know what he said. The combination of the three resulted in one unforgettable interview.
Don’t laugh too hard, though; don’t forget, he’s a man.
No. 6: Metta World Peace—I Wanna Thank My Psychiatrist
Let’s begin with this: The man changed his name to Metta World Peace. It’s almost expected that the words that flow out of his mouth will be as ridiculous as the name itself.
Put him in a larger-than-life moment, however, and hilariousness ensues. The Los Angeles Lakers had just won the NBA Championship. Clearly he was excited and did what most athletes do upon achieving some great accomplishment: He thanked those most important to contributing to his success.
Apparently his psychiatrist made the cut. Let’s take a moment to thank Dr. Nicole Miller for her inadvertent role in one of the all-time classic sports quotes. After all, without her, Mr. World Peace (yup, still feels strange typing that) might not have been sane enough to deliver it.
No. 5: Derek Anderson—That’s Fine, That’s Fine!
Note to self: Derek Anderson’s mad face apparently looks a whole lot like his laughing face. At least that’s what he seemed to be telling the media, vehemently denying that Deuce McCallister had just told him a funny despite the video evidence proving otherwise.
According to him, nothing’s funny, so hey, maybe he wasn’t laughing after all.
Anderson is definitely “that guy.” You know which one I’m talking about. We all have that one friend (full-disclosure, I’m that guy) who’s never wrong, even when, you know, he is.
Anderson achieved something very special that day. “That’s fine, that’s fine” in the Derek Anderson voice has become entrenched in the vocabularies of bros around the country. Now that’s how you make a name for yourself.
No. 4: Shaq—I Don’t Give a S@!t!
Just another instance of Shaq “Shaqtin’ a fool.” For a man who was as dominant a player as he was, it was his eccentric personality that cemented his legacy in the hearts of fans everywhere.
Never afraid to speak his mind, the lovable teddy bear let loose on David Stern and the NBA, criticizing the officiating for what he believed to be questionable calls at best.
I know I sound like a 12-year-old right now, but there’s just something about a grown man cussing on live television that gets me every time. Especially when it was delivered with the conviction and passion here. Oh, and the “I know” at the end? Priceless.
No. 3: Mike Tyson—I’ll Talk to You How I Wanna Talk to You
This Thanksgiving, when you go around the table saying what you’re thankful for, make sure you include Mike Tyson.
Tyson is comedy personified, the wonderful symmetry of his hysterical voice, not-quite-there mind and propensity to say whatever pops into his head blending together to create must-see TV.
Never was this more fully on display than it was here. Etiquette flew right out the window the moment Tyson was mic’d up. Make no mistake, no matter who you are, where you may be or what situation he might be in, Tyson will talk to you how he wants to talk to you.
Another thing to be thankful for: We had cameras there to chronicle his most eloquent moments.
No. 2: Rasheed Wallace—Both Teams Played Hard
There might not be an athlete in the history of sports that has delivered as many gems as ‘Sheed. Because of him, we now all know for certain that the ball indeed does not lie.
This interview though...Classic Wallace. Harnessing his inner Gregg Popovich, Wallace showed his mastery of the one-liner, displaying a wonderful distaste for the media that had even them chuckling.
We could probably make a top-10 list devoted solely to classic Wallace moments. For now, though, we’ll settle with this. The all-time leader in technical fouls is firmly entrenched in the Mt. Rushmore of sports comedy.
No. 1: Allen Iverson—Practice?
We all knew it was coming, right? I mean, really, could a top-10 list consisting of the best athlete interviews really be complete without the wizard of words himself?
Iverson’s rant will go down in the annals of history as one of the greatest interactions ever recorded between athlete and media. His mastery of the English vocabulary was on full display, perfectly using the word “practice” an impressive 24 times.
We are forever indebted to Mr. Iverson for his contribution to the game of basketball. After all, without him, children everywhere might still be unaware of the foolishness of practice.
What do you think? Comment below with any I might have missed!