Athletes, coaches and sports talking heads are subject to a media blitz that makes almost everything they say a matter of public record. And, often times, the unrelenting spotlight shines on an especially provocative quote.
These sound bites can be earnest in an endearing way, like Joe Namath's "The Guarantee" in Super Bowl III or Lou Gherig's "The Luckiest Man" speech.
This list, however, focuses primarily on brazen quotes of the WTF persuasion. From the flagrantly brash to the audaciously disrespectful, these are 25 sports quotes we can't believe someone had the balls to say.
"My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!" – Mike Tyson
Lennox Lewis is 6'5", weighs more than 250 pounds and is expertly trained in the art of breaking faces.
To publicly threaten a man of that stature—with the swallowing of his family, no less—takes Alaska Moose-like stones.
[On Roger Goodell] “If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it. I hate him and will never respect him.” – James Harrison
Considering Roger Goodell's propensity for fining, it takes a lot of guts and a considerable amount of cash on hand to talk like this publicly.
Do you have James Harrison size cojones? Unless you're willing to march into your boss's office and tell him you wouldn't pee on him if he were on fire, then you're not about that life.
[On Chicago Cubs fans at Wrigley Field] “85-percent of the [bleep-ing] world is working; the other 15 come out here.” – Chicago Cubs Manager Lee Elia
The Chicago Cubs open the 1984 season with a record of 5-14, which—naturally—elicits boo-ridden vitriol from Wrigley Field's bleacher bums.
After an especially heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cubs manager Lee Elia lampoons his own team's fan base with an epic, totally unhinged rant.
As Steve Bartman found out the hard way, angering 30,000 drunken lunatics is not for the faint of heart.
“The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve.” – Rush Limbaugh
Shortly after making his controversial statements about Donovan Mcnabb, Rush Limbaugh resigns from his post at ESPN.
The following season, McNabb throws 31 touchdowns and leads the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX.
“Girls from Rutgers, man, they’ve got tattoos. That’s some nappy-headed hos there, I’m gonna tell you that now.” – Don Imus
"Having balls" can mean possessing the courage to speak the truth when no one else will.
Or—in Don Imus' case—it means having the wanton brass to ignorantly slander young women on a syndicated show.
“We’re going to go in and win Game 6.” – Mark Messier
After a blowout loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the '94 Eastern Conference Finals, New York Rangers captain Mark Messier guarantees victory in the team's do-or-die Game 6. Messier sees his pledge through by recording a hat trick in his marked game.
The Rangers eventually win the series in seven games, and later defeat the Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup.
“[He] called me a ‘rapist’ and a ‘recluse.’ I’m not a recluse.” – Mike Tyson
Iron Mike's response to a New York Post column is either woefully unaware or the worst joke ever.
"We're not going to worry about what the hell [the fans] think...they don't really matter to us. They can boo us every day, but they're still going to ask for our autographs if they see us on the street. That's why they're fans and we're NBA players." – Bonzi Wells
It takes guts (read: reckless audacity) for an athlete to accost the very people bankrolling his exorbitant salary.
[As told by an interpreter]: "If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying." – Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki is going to get a lot of wrathful side eye from locals during his next visit to A Christmas Story House.
Apparently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center aren't enough to rouse the 2001 MVP.
[When asked by a judge if he had any regrets about throwing a man through a window]: “Yeah, I regret we weren’t on a higher floor.” – Charles Barkley
The Round Mound of Rebound's most endearing quality is his unfiltered honesty.
Sir Charles will tell it like it is, even if it means another hundred hours of community service.
“[Kim Jong-un] is a great guy, he loves basketball, and he's interested in building trust and understanding through sport and cultural exchanges.” – Dennis Rodman
Vouching for the character of Kim Jong-un might be the most brazen act of Dennis Rodman's life.
As a reminder, The Worm's questionable life choice resume includes trying to marry himself, booting a camera guy and starring alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Team.
[On how the media will react to a Miami Heat losing streak]: “You all are going to make it seem like the World Trade has just went down again.” – Dwyane Wade
This assertion from Dwyane Wade is ballsy in the same way that adding pepper spray to the cinnamon challenge is inventive.
Hopefully, D-Wade doesn't have the guts to attempt another analogy, ever.
[On Jay Mariotti]: “He’s garbage, still garbage, going to die as garbage.” – Ozzie Guillen
The beef between White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and sportswriter Jay Mariotti is baseball's version of Taylor Swift vs. Carrie Underwood, which is to say remarkably petty and chock-full of snarky repartee.
That said, the feud boasts some incredibly audacious and entertaining sound bites.
“In 12 years at Florida, I don't think we ever signed a kid from the state of Alabama...Of course, we found out later that the scholarships they were giving out at Alabama were worth a whole lot more than ours.” – Steve Spurrier
If they gave trophies for savage zings, Steve Spurrier would have more gold than Rumpelstiltskin.
[After being told by an umpire that one more word would result in an ejection] “I love you.” Joe Maddon
When it comes to demonstrative arguing as theater, Joe Maddon is baseball's Laurence Oliver.
Like a true performer and cheeky lunatic, Maddon responds to a threat of ejection by expressing his adoration for umpire Ted Barrett. Maddon's advances are spurned and, despite the loving gesture, the Rays manager is rejected—I mean ejected.
"You tell Anderson Silva I'm coming over and I'm kicking down his back door and patting his little lady on the ass, and I'm telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare, just how I like it."– Chael Sonnen
Fighters have a long history of baiting one another with inflammatory attacks, but Chael Sonnen sounds like he's reading an excerpt from Ric Flair's eHarmony bio with this one.
It takes an especially cocky person to verbalize this particular sequence of events.
"If you're trying to hide something, you wouldn't keep getting away with it for 10 years. Nobody is that clever." – Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong might be the only guy in the world with audacity to tell a bold-faced lie, while simultaneously aggrandizing himself as brilliantly cunning.
[On Tom Brady]: "I don’t like him. He don’t like me. I don’t like his hair." - Terrell Suggs
As acting director of The Illuminati, Tom Brady has the power to ritualistically sacrifice Terrell Suggs in the crater of a volcano.
If you're going to slander The Golden Boy, you have to be prepared for the cataclysmic fallout.
"If baseball wants to get you, they’ve got enough resources and enough investigators that they’ll find a way to get you." - Pete Rose
MLB can ban Pete Rose, but they can't shut him up.
And, apparently, Rose has no problem casting aspersions against Bud Selig's evil empire like a gambling-dependent Edward Snowden.
“I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds.” – Sean Avery
Presented without comment.
[On a handful of former enforcers] “You turncoats, you hypocrites…You guys were fighters, and now you don't want guys to make the same living you did." – Don Cherry
It takes serious nerve to call a group of former hockey enforcers "pukes," but Don Cherry has more undiluted gall than Alec Baldwin on a commercial flight.
It also takes an undaunted person to apologize. Cherry later addressed his comments on an episode of Hockey Night in Canada, and admitted that he was, "wrong on a lot of things."
[On Freddie Mitchell]: "All he does is talk. He's terrible, and you can print that. I was happy when he was in the game." - Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick is one of the most verbally restrained and calculated personalities in professional sports.
That said, don't mistake The Hoodie's self-control for weakness. If you cross Darth Belichick, he will bury you, and you can print that.
"People complain that pro athletes make a lot of money; but what they don't understand is that we need a lot of money because we spend a lot of money.” – Patrick Ewing
Well played, Mr. Ewing.
"I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former 'King' wins one." – Dan Gilbert
LeBron James' move to Miami triggers a pathetic letter in Comic Sans font from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
This is why you don't text when you're drunk or say things when you're upset, especially when the integrity of your words depends on the on-court performance of J.J. Hickson and Anderson Verajao.