Guilty Pleasures

Athletes Who Are Stranger Than Fiction

Sean EvansContributor IIIJanuary 14, 2014

Athletes Who Are Stranger Than Fiction

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Without an interesting cast of characters, sports would just be a humdrum exhibition in running and jumping. Thankfully, some of the world's most recognizable athletes are also some its most bizarre people (word to Mike Tyson). 

    In the spirit of celebrating individuality, I've curated a list of sports stars who behave like a Nicolas Cage acting reel personified. These guys are just as famous for their wild off-the-court episodes as they are for competing and winning.

    From the maniacal side eye of James Harrison to JaVale McGee's on-court comedy, these athletes are stranger than fiction.

Chris Andersen

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    Jordan Johnson/Getty Images

    It takes a few loose screws to style one's self as a vandalized subway car, and Chris "Birdman" Andersen looks like a perpetually tagged C train. 

    On the floor, this guy is almost as maniacal as his 5 Pointz-inspired neck. 

    Tyler Hansbrough, you've been warned. 

Jonny Gomes

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jonny Gomes graduated magna cum laude from the Major League Baseball school of dirt baggery, which means he has an expert knowledge in locker room pranks and odd superstitions

    The Boston Red Sox platoon man is a charming throwback to baseball's glory days, when hot foot was played with refreshingly open candor.

Andrew Bynum

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    David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

    In 2011, Andrew Bynum punctuated a playoff game ejection by ripping off his jersey and throwing a tantrum.

    The event serves as a poetically fitting precursor to the center's hijinks-ridden downfall.

    Today, Bynum's better known for being the world's wealthiest bowl-cut model than vaunting a dominant post presence.

Darnell Dockett

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Darnell Dockett is all kinds of crazy.

    He's a shameless exhibitionist, as demonstrated by his independently produced shower scene. He's fearless in his brazen passes at Katherine Webb. And, the Arizona Cardinals defensive end has a pet alligator.

    The guy is a veritable triple threat when it comes to insanity. 

JaVale McGee

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    Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    JaVale McGee is the Michael Jordan of weirdness. He's a once in a lifetime type of goofball.

    From his epic Instagram feed to wild on-court antics, the Denver Nuggets big man is what happens when a Benny Hill movie and a blooper reel combine to make an incredibly delicious smoothie.

Mario Balotelli

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    As demonstrated by his failed trick shots and ostentatious off-the-field style, Mario Balotelli is about as balanced as Jack Nicholson in The Shining

    If you're ever in need of a quick breakfast, simply crack an Omega-3 enriched egg on Mario Balotelli's roaringly hot head.

J.R. Smith

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    J.R. Smith, the godfather of skulduggery, is on a seemingly concerted effort to be the first athlete enshrined in the Hall of Fame while wearing a straitjacket. 

    Between shoe laces, Twitter and a bottomless appetite for New York City nightlife, Swoosh has condensed a career's worth of outrageous shenanigans into the last eight months. 

    As a cog in the 24-hour news cycle, I wholeheartedly appreciate this lovable, maniacally unhinged goofball.

James Harrison

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    John Grieshop/Getty Images

    One does not become the scariest guy in the NFL by demonstrating a Victorian era code of conduct. 

    And James Harrison shows about as much genteel grace as a bull shark on bath salts.

    Anyone with the balls to say this about his or her boss needs an emergency CAT scan.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    If Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s social media presence—which is basically a collection of digitally filtered $100 bills—is any indication of his titanic hubris, Pretty Boy is Donald Trump with an uppercut. 

    There are very few people in the world who have the reckless audacity to spend $50,000 at a strip club and walk to the ring with Justin Bieber

    Money is truly one of a kind.

Ilya Bryzgalov

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    Andy Devlin/Getty Images

    Ilya Bryzgalov is part goalie, part philosopher and entirely insane. 

    His infinitely quotable appearances on HBO's "24/7 Flyers Rangers: The Road To The NHL Winter Classic" are enough to warrant a thorough evaluation by Dr. Frasier Crane.

    Godspeed if you're at a party and this guy corners you with six hour's worth of universe origin theories. 

Brian Wilson

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    With all due respect to Mike Tyson, The Beard is the gold standard for delightfully insane athletes. 

    Brian Wilson looks like a petty criminal who lives out of an RV, and his persona isn't very far removed from his appearance.

    Keep being awesome, No. 00.

Metta World Peace

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Punching fans and half-naked talk show appearances aside, Ron Artest changed his name to "Metta World Peace," which is irrefutable evidence of his eccentricity. 

    To bolster the prosecution's case, we present to the court: that time he sent an elbow through James Harden's melon, his taste for halftime Hennessy and a bizarre run-in with Kobe Bryant.

    Case closed.

     

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