Epic Athlete Twitter Battles, Vol. 1
Don't let people tell you any different, Twitter is meant for verbal sparring matches.
All of that jargon about it being considered the modern day information highway is great and all. But at its best, Twitter is like being at a Don Rickles show.
You come to relax, watch the comedic insults and the best part is it's free.
Twitter has also given us a chance to get a better understanding of professional athletes. The ones that use this medium not only become more accessible to fans, but also to their peers.
In classic social media fashion, Twitter has played host to some of the most legendary battles amongst athletes.
Whether it's athletes vs. athletes, fans vs. athletes or even cats vs. athletes, the gamut of Twitter battles run deep like a Jodeci album.
Here's a look at some of the most epic battles we've seen so far.
Arian Foster vs. Cat Lovers
Let it be known: Houston Texans running back Arian Foster doesn't get down with felines.
Foster took to Twitter to assault the species in a battle that involved a flock of his followers—Twitter followers, not the ones Kevin Bacon hunts in his hit FOX television series.
Like most random beefs, the whole cat vs. Foster debacle got started when one of his followers voiced his displeasure with the Texans tailback.
Foster, never shy of expressing his thoughts, responded with, "Garuntee you single with a cat." Even with a spelling error thrown in for good measure, those faithful words set cat owners into a frenzy.
After that, he was bombarded with pictures of people with their cats as they tried to prove that unlike Dexter Morgan, cats are capable of displaying affection.
Foster was relentless, reaching back and shattering the hopes of cat owners like they were Roy Jones Jr.'s chin.
"Check my mentions if you like pictures of cats getting forced to take pictures by their owners to show their adorability," he tweeted with fury.
The battle eventually ended with Foster throwing out the equivalent of a Tombstone pile driver on the Internet: a picture of a woman putting her mouth around every part of a cat's body.
Clearly, cats and Foster mix about as well as a generous portion of Taco Bell and 10,000 locked bathrooms.
Matt Barkley vs. UCLA Fan
Matt Barkley currently is a quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Before he sported an Eagles helmet, he was a highly effective passer for the USC Trojans. Over his career in South California, he slung the football around for 12,327 yards and 116 touchdowns.
During the time he spent at his alma mater, Barkley battled Pac-12 rival UCLA on occasion. That's where this Twitter beef first gained its legs.
Unless you've been living like Margaret Sterling from Mad Men the past week, by now you've seen rapper 50 Cent's wretched first pitch at the New York Mets game.
Attempting to put one over the plate, the New York MC lost control of the ball and heaved it into the great abyss. As you can imagine, the Internet went into meltdown mode once they got their mitts on the footage.
One avid UCLA supporter even compared 50's atrocious first pitch to Barkley throwing a football.
Barkley didn't take too kindly to the barb. He responded the only way he knows how: by posting a video of him shredding the Bruins back in 2011 to the tune of 50-0.
Like Rick James classic album, Barkley went all Cold Blooded on that poor fan. Note to all quarterback haters on Twitter: If you want to get a rise out of a signal-caller, compare their throwing motion to 50 Cent's. It tends to strike a nerve.
A.J. McCarron vs. Darnell Dockett
Move over Brent Musberger, there's another man out there pining for A.J. McCarron's fiance.
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett chose Twitter as his vehicle of choice to express his feelings on Katherine Webb early in 2013.
The night ESPN chose to focus its attention on Webb over the savage beating that Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide handed Notre Dame, Dockett was using social media to court the former Miss Alabama winner.
Dockett's tweets have been removed, but thankfully Simon Samano of USA TODAY wrote down what he said on that fateful night.
Dockett asked Webb to meet him at Wing Stop for some grub—probably lemon pepper wings—before heading over to the prestigious gentleman's club King of Diamonds for a nightcap. He even went as far as to give Webb his digits.
Obviously, McCarron didn't take too kindly to the 290-pounder talking to his girl. Dockett continued with his antics, until McCarron fired back.
"Pro player and u gotta try & be twitter thirsty! I saw you today bro with Katherine looked dead at you & u didn't say a thing!" the former Alabama QB tweeted.
The two went back-and-forth giving blogs a lot to talk about and Webb even more attention.
It seemed like the beef had finally cooled off, until this year's NFL draft brought up old memories.
Talking on ESPN2's Highly Questionable, hosts Dan Le Batard and Bomani Jones asked McCarron about the possibility of teaming up with Dockett, per Steve DelVecchio of Larry Brown Sports.
McCarron may have responded with class, but Dockett didn't return the favor.
After a tireless battle in the trenches of Twitter, the two wound up squashing their beef. For long how long said beef stays squashed remains to be seen.
J.R. Smith vs. Brandon Jennings
The NBA's best feud on Twitter this past season came courtesy of two of the league's most polarizing guards.
Brandon Jennings of the Detroit Pistons took to Twitter to promote some talented players who haven't made it to the league, while using Chris Smith as his comedic punching bag.
For those of you who don't know, Chris Smith is the less famous, younger brother of New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith.
Jennings deleted the tweet, but Holly MacKenzie, a reporter for the Toronto Raptors, was able to retweet it so we could all relive that glorious moment.
The older Smith didn't like how Jennings went after his brother, so he fired a series of of aggressive tweets back—Adam Figman of SLAM Magazine recapped the battle in its entirety.
There's something to be said about defending your family. Smith may lay more bricks than a mason on the court, but off of it, he's not afraid to speak his mind.
Sadly, the epic battle that manifested on smartphones ended with Smith eating a $25,000 fine.
Jennings, on the other hand, may have found himself a new talent. When he's not out there on the court frustrating fans with his volatile play, he can frustrate other NBA players on Twitter with 140 characters.
Darrelle Revis vs. Richard Sherman
Revis Island meets The Sherminator.
That's either the name of a really weird comic book that involves the kid from American Pie, or it's a way to label the NFL's Twitter brawl between standout cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman.
We'll go with the latter right now.
Sherman and Revis engaged in a war of words back in 2013 that got hotter than wasabi marinated in Sriracha sauce. Glancing back on what was said, it's pretty awesome to see how quickly things change—Revis is now a mercenary who plays for the New England Patriots and Sherman is a Super Bowl champion.
The issue first arose when a fan asked Sherman about Revis. In classic Sherman fashion, the cornerback replied by hinting when Revis gets back to playing, then and only then, he would be considered in the same class.
Revis didn't take too kindly to the notion that Sherman was jawing at him on Twitter. He responded with a series of comments that sort of brushed off the Seahawks defensive back.
Sherman stuck with it and continued to belt Revis in front of the masses.
The conversation eventually came to a screeching halt, leaving both men where they first started—as two of the NFL's premier cornerbacks.
Sherman is the king of beef. His Twitter game is strong. Revis isn't a slouch himself, but as we all know, there are levels to this whole social media thing.
Dwight Howard vs. The Ringless Woman
Dwight Howard's tumultuous season with the Los Angeles Lakers created a lot of Johnny Drama amongst Lakers fans.
When he eventually walked out the door and found a new home with the Houston Rockets, fans didn't respond well.
The following fan vs. athlete battle could arguably be the shortest and best we've seen since the Reagan administration lounging in the White House.
After telling a bitter Lakers fan to "let it go," a legend using the Twitter handle @uHateBre surfaced.
The lady behind the iconic handle felt the need to tell Howard and the good people of Twitter exactly how it is.
"U ain't never getting a ring," she sniped at the Rockets center. A sensitive topic for a big man starved for an NBA trophy, Howard couldn't help it, he had to retaliate.
Without dispersing the actual verbiage, he called the woman ugly. Howard told her that "with that face" she probably wouldn't be getting a ring either.
But @uHateBre refused to back down. Taking a page out of The Sandlot, she remembered what faux Babe Ruth told Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez on a warm summer night:
"There's heroes and there's legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die."
Her response was calculated and cruel.
A year after this battle concluded, Howard's Rockets were ousted in Round 1 of the playoffs, leaving him ringless for yet another season.
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Jose Canseco
This battle is a bit of a throwback. It involves two retired professional athletes who apparently don't like each other very much.
Everyone's favorite ex-ballplayer, turned celebrity boxer, turned MMA fighter, Jose Canseco proposed a fight between him and former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal after a heated exchange on Twitter.
(The NBA on TNT broadcast the smack-talk live on the air.)
The 7'1", 325-pound Shaq Diesel came back at one half of the Bash Brothers with some of that Billy Wagner, Houston Astros era heat, telling Canseco that he would "break his jaw."
Judging by the ruthless beatings Canseco took at the hands of former NFL player Vai Sikahema and MMA fighter Hong-Man Choi, there's a better chance of CBS bringing back Bad Teacher than Canseco beating Shaq.
So far, the showdown between the two men hasn't taken place in a sanctioned ring. Hopefully that all changes in the near future and we finally get to see these former athletes engage in a battle of grown man fisticuffs.
New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings
When teams' official Twitter accounts get in on all of that social media goodness, the results can be life-changing.
The 2014 Stanley Cup final is set. It pits the New York Rangers against the Los Angeles Kings. West Coast vs. East Coast in it's purest form.
It's a championship that we can't have in professional football—for now. It's what, despite having two Scrooge McDuck-like payrolls to work with, baseball fans still haven't gotten a chance to see.
And with the New York Knicks involved, the whole New York vs. Los Angeles thing in the NBA is a lost cause.
So the battle for coastal supremacy comes down to the ice.
But that battle won't just be fought in the rink. The first stone has already been cast on Twitter.
After taking down the Chicago Blackhawks in a Game 7 thriller, the Kings' social media staff went all 90s, life is good on us. They dropped a picture of Macaulay Culkin flourishing in the back of a limo from the classic flick Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
The Rangers responded by pointing out that the picture was from Lost in New York. Get it? Because the Kings are presumably going to be lost in the Big Apple when they shuffle out of their plane and head over to Madison Square Garden.
Why even play the actual games? Let's just have both Twitter accounts duke it out with insults and jabs and have the fans determine who gets to hoist Lord Stanley's cup.