There's nothing wrong with two men hugging, and it ain't no fun if the homies can't bro-slap a rear every once in a moon cycle—but sometimes team spirit gets uncomfortable.
The following situations are moments in sports where awkwardness reached the height of its form—when embraces lasted too long, butts were unceremoniously slapped and both parties walked away feeling weirder about life.
These are the most awkward hugs and butt slaps in sports, ranked from mildly cringe-worthy to "let's bury this moment deep down and never bring it up again" awful.
If you're feeling uncomfortable at any point, try to make the best of it. When life gives you awkward turtles, make awkward turtle soup.
While it’s not a particular butt slap, you need to hear Brett Favre explain how to slap a bottom. He and I agree on form and on the no-cupping rule. Also, here are some magical quotes from this video:
“Did you watch American Idol?”
“You don’t want to cup it...you want to smack it.”
That guy at the gym with his girlfriend who watches you every time you look in her general direction.
As Brett Favre stated, there are a few rules to butt-slapping in sports.
- Make solid contact.
- Don’t look at the butt you’re slapping.
- Don’t cup the hand!
Wally Szczerbiak broke all of these rules when he slapped LeBron in the butt back in Cleveland.
He stares at LeBron’s bottom, obviously lining up the shot, and then he goes for the soft slap—something you never do. His hands are wide open with miles of space between each finger, which means you’re going to end up cupping it.
This is how not to slap a butt.
"Are you for scuba?"
We were all witness to LeBron James spanking himself after beating the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011.
James embraced his “role as a villain” after sinking the three to seal the game by taunting the crowd, which started with a big slap on his own bottom.
That was a strange way to express dominance, considering the Miami Heat were only up seven points—not exactly a spanking.
Your toys making three movies behind your back.
Tender. Nurturing. Random as a flash mob.
At first glance, few things reek of forced fraternization more than the embrace shared between Ray Lewis and Michael Phelps during a Baltimore Ravens game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012.
Upon further investigation, however, it turns out Lewis and Phelps are good friends. Phelps said Lewis helped him earn gold medals, to which we can only say, "Sure, why not?"
She’d been planning it for so long. How many long days and sleepless nights had this fan been waiting to slap Jameer Nelson’s hindquarters?
How many times had she stood in the office break room staring into a used coffee filter, thinking, “Just once, I’m getting courtside tickets and showing that man love.”
All that planning, and then whiff.
Moves into new apartment...makes pizza...doesn’t own a pizza cutter.
Tom Coughlin and Flavor Flav hugged each other—that actually happened.
We’ll never see another situation like the time when one of the oldest, most intense coaches in the NFL put his arms around a former member of Public Enemy after the New York Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012.
It was surreal and majestic moment, and somewhere in the mountains north of New Delhi, India, a shiver of joy ran up the Dalai Lama’s spine the moment the two men touched.
Skip to the 1:26 mark for lengthy hug action.
“Like a son coming home from the war” is the phrase most used to describe the hug shared between Roger Goodell and the Philadelphia Eagles' 2012 first-round draft pick Fletcher Cox.
There’s almost no end to it. It’s like There Will Be Blood—it just goes on and on, and by the time it ends, you’re completely drained of your capacity to appreciate it.
The door was big enough for both of them.
Nothing like a preplanned rear whacking to get the awkward stew boiling.
The butt smack itself in this video isn’t as awkward as John Cena’s acting. Stephanie McMahon didn’t mind the weird it, though.
The 2012 NFL draft was the biggest day in Dontari Poe’s life, and when the Memphis Tigers defensive tackle was selected with the 11th overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs, well, things escalated quickly.
Poe hugged Goodell heartily on the stage, but things took a turn for the uncomfortable when the big lineman went snout to snout with the commissioner.
“Yea, I slapped that. You know what’s up.”
No one is safe from a solid rear-rapping when Percy Harvin is around. Harvin nearly surprised the gravy out of then Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer in the 2008 BCS title game.
The awkward part is that Meyer clearly isn’t used to being slapped on the butt by his players, and the contact caused him to pop up and turn on Harvin. The eye contact between them was tense, and there was an uncomfortable moment where Harvin looked like he was afraid he had stepped over the line.
It ended up being cool, presumably because a national championship makes everything better.
“Did you just grab my a**, Dewey?”
Meyers Leonard was either doing something this ref didn’t like, or the man was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to butt his hand on the Illinois center's behind.
Either way, it's hard to explain. If Leonard was crowding the lane, just let him know by calling a foul. No need to go Uncle Stick Hands on the kid.
Awkwardness Level: "So that's how it is in their family..."
Ejections never looked so sensual.
Reggie Evans and Grant Hill found themselves waist deep in some old-fashioned butt-slappery after getting tangled up during a 2010 game.
Both took turns purposely whacking each other forcefully on the rear until the refs were forced to intervene on the strange interaction and eject them both from the game.
It was the NBA equivalent of two lovebirds on the phone arguing over who should hang up first.
Honking at another driver on the road and then having to stop next to them at a red light.
“Tim, you don’t know this, but I remember when this was all cattle country. Used to come out here in ’95 with Skip Bayless and plant gardenias by that fence over there and offer prayers for your continued football success.”
“I was playing Pop Warner in 1995, Tom.”
“I know, Tim. I know...”
The bro-ment shared between ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and Tim Tebow at the 2013 Sugar Bowl was priceless, awkward and well deserving of a special sappy soundtrack. We shall never see its like again.
“Shhh...don’t say anything, Steve. I just want to hear you breathe.”
If you didn’t know already, you’ll find out from this slideshow—Ray Lewis is a hugger.
He’s a hard-liner on coming in for the real thing, something which Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti knows better than anyone else in the league.
"Would you like to donate a dollar to the Help Save the Children Foundation?"
Butt slapping between players and referees is not a one-way street, as you’ll see in this video of a referee delivering not one but five spanks to the hindquarters of Stephen Jackson.
As one of the men who uploaded this video points out, “Aw, he’s weird.”
Tiger Woods’ first press conference after having his affairs outed to the world was a moving and agonizing 14 minutes of honesty.
Woods admitted everything, it seemed, and after confessing to the lies and cheating during his marriage to Elin Nordegren, the golf icon hugged his mother.
Then he hugged another woman. Then a guy. Then another guy.
On it went down the line, with Woods embracing and smiling with each person who would stand up. I’m glad he had his friends there to comfort him, but a press conference founded on adultery admissions isn’t the NFL draft—it's not supposed to be a shake, shoulder-bang, bro-hug festival.
“My wife is no longer with me...high five!”
Is there anything worse than finding out you’re in the friend zone? It’s like showing up to a party in a gorilla suit, only to see everyone is wearing tuxes and cocktail dresses.
50 Cent found out it wasn’t a costume party when he tried to go in for the mouth kiss with FOX reporter Erin Andrews at the Daytona 500 in February. Andrews rejected him on the spot and moved off through the crowd, and the rapper decided to follow in her wake like a lost puppy.
That's almost as awkward as it gets.
“You’re a great girl...you just need someone who understands that.” (lean in close to face)
“Aw, thanks. I just love that I can trust you. You’re my best friend.” (turns away)
The mother of all awkward butt slaps occurred in June when Chad Johnson gave his attorney Adam Swickle a congratulatory swat on the bottom for his help in keeping him out of jail.
Unfortunately for Johnson, the slap put him in a South Florida jail.
The former NFL wide receiver was in court for a probation violation on the cusp of having a plea deal accepted that would keep him out of jail when things went sideways. The judge reviewing the terms of the plea told Johnson he should be pleased with his lawyer.
Johnson took this as a signal to show Swickle a little football-style appreciation and gave the attorney a “good hustle” tap on the rump.
The courtroom laughed, the judge was enraged, and Johnson ended up having his plea deal refused. He was sentenced to the 30 days in jail he had wanted to avoid.
Fortunately for Johnson, the judge eventually accepted his apologies, and the man formerly known as Ochocinco was released after serving seven days of his 30-day sentence.
(Mom bangs on bathroom door) "What are you doing in there?!"
Before the scandal broke, the interviews were held and the world knew about the Lennay Kekua hoax, there was this hug.
Manti Te’o was duped by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who is embracing the former Notre Dame linebacker in this video.
In its current context, this is one of the most awkward hugs in sports history. Tuiasosopo goes in for the double-arms-around-the-neck hug and holds the squeeze for that extra moment after Te’o slaps him on the back.
That time in grade school when your parents didn’t lock the door.
A 9-3 lead over the Chicago White Sox prompted a rare moment of genuine joy in the Boston dugout in 2012, but no one knew how to express it.
Bravely, Felix Doubront attempted to try to show appreciation by offering up a man-hug to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who reacted as though he was being handed a scorpion.
The two eventually figured out the mechanics of expressing camaraderie, but the initial “Is this a trick?” reaction from "Salty" led to what is considered one of the most awkward moments in New England sports history.
Step Brothers hug.