The 20 Most Annoying Athletes on the Planet
Sport is a great refuge when you want to let off some steam from work, school and yes, even family.
You cheer on your favorite team or player vicariously, as if the burden and weight are on your shoulders, absorbing every thrill of victory, every agony of defeat either on TV or in the stands.
So, when a player, regardless of the field or court, happens to be the one who beats your favorite team, or does something nasty like gain leverage by breaking another athlete's arm (on purpose) or by pulling someone's hair until they say Uncle!, they're on your list.
That same person continues to get your goat, to the point where you can't even seem to erase his/her goofy visage and mannerisms out of your dreams, it must mean one thing: they annoy the heck out of you.
Welcome to the 20 Most Annoying Athletes on the Planet!
20. Esa Tikkanen - Frustratin' Finn
The scrappy, pint-sized 5'8" defender from Finland constantly gave NHL greats like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman fits in the 1980s and 1990s.
Yep, that's enough to put you on this list, bud.
19. Elizabeth Lambert - Crank Yanker
In November 2009, Lambert created a lot of buzz in the women's Mountain West Conference tournament semifinal match, as the New Mexico Lobo defender got way too physical with the BYU players.
The thrown elbows, the intentional clashes, and the pulling of locks were done way before she became a YouTube sensation for slamming Kassidy Shumway to the ground.
But her dastardly deeds against Shumway put her on blast on ESPN, The Huffington Post, and, of course, among other hot spots, my 20 Annoying List!
18. Monica Seles - Grunt Work
Great Grand Slam champion whose career ended prematurely by an on-court stalker's stabbing in 1993.
But her on-court grunts were like nails scraping on a blackboard. Hunh-EEE!
17. Wayne Rooney - What a Looney
Great in Premier League play, but Rooney hasn't shown up really in two consecutive World Cups.
He is an aggressive, talented marksman. In addition to the rest of the Three Lions, has been pretty much a non-factor this time in South Africa, leaving that 1966 crown hollow for another four years.
Now you see why Ricky Gervais has gotten away with his hilarious BBC sketches of Rooney as nothing more than a farce.
16. Ron Artest - Et Tu, Rodman II?
Before joining the current NBA champion L.A. Lakers, Artest annoyed everyone from his native New York to Detroit, where he was the main instigator in the infamous Malice at the Palace in 2004, one of the lowest points in league history.
What made Artest a more quizzical player was when he had an inkling to work at Circuit City one year. Between being paid $8/hr vs. $80,000/hr is a no-brainer to us, but not to him, apparently.
Just like Rodman, Artest is NBA royalty now with his first-ever title.
15. Shawne Merriman - Flash in the Pan
At first, Merriman looked as if he was going to follow the footsteps of linebacker greats like Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas, with his quick steps and superior talent.
After knee surgery two years ago, he's not been as effective a pass rusher. These days he's known more for his annoying, celebratory dance, numerous tattoos, admission to taking some form of steroids, and, of course, the domestic violence incident involving reality TV star and then-girlfriend Tila Tequila last year.
"Lights out" indeed.
14. Michelle Larcher de Brito - Pet Sounds
Oy vey, whatta cacophony!
De Brito, a tennis brat, possesses irritating, clean-and-jerk grunts that make Monica Seles' guttural noises sound like opera.
I wonder if Mt. Vesuvius erupts even louder when she's constipated...
13. Bill Romanowski - Roming Charges
Yes, he was a Super Bowl champ for both the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.
But a real jerk, too.
From the taunting to the alleged steroid use to the spitting on, kicking, and breaking players' jaws, so many in the NFL rejoiced when his body forced him to step down from the game in 2003.
The gridiron to this day still doesn't miss No. 53. Good riddance!
12. Adam 'Pacman' Jones - I'm With Stupid
If Pacman had let his play do the talking at Tennesee, then maybe that would've prevailed instead of his boneheaded proclivity to cause trouble in stripjoints and night clubs.
But because he was "Da Man", he never became an ultimate champion in the NFL, even when he was acquired by hell-raiser owner Jerry Jones to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Speaking of Pacman, the addictive video game recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, with a spot on Google's website during the special occasion. When a yellow character gets more recognition than a has-been football player of the same name, you know that's sad.
11. Greg Paulus - Devil in a Blue Dress
There are so many Duke Blue Devils who belong here on this list, but Paulus is just the most recent and most reviled of them all from the Durham, N. Carolina college ball powerhouse.
From his in-your-face, gadfly-on-cow defense, to his flopping tactics, he made life a living hell for ACC rivals, only to be loved by the Cameron Crazies.
And to imagine at the end that he threw away his precious Duke education...to stink up the joint again, this time as a QUARTERBACK for Syracuse. Double technical right there!
10. Bill Lambeer - Stay-Puft Man
One of the best (and worst) of the Bad Boys of Detroit, who raised hell and cleared the path for Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars to get to the hoop in the 1980s and 1990s.
Definitely not loved by those in Boston and Chicago, where NBA Eastern Conference Finals took place along with Detroit, Lambeer was a nightmare for offensive players, yanking, clawing and bruising players like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird when referees weren't looking. (And did the same even when the refs WERE looking!)
9. John McEnroe - Can't Be Serious!!
A winner as well as a whiner throughout his career, Johnny Mac was known more for his rants with tennis officials than his champion-defining moments.
McEnroe has toned down considerably as he's got older, which is critical to his success as a commentator on ESPN, NBC and CBS.
8. Manny Ramirez - Manny Depressive
Ramirez got close to the Promised Land with the Cleveland Indians. He reached the mountaintop twice (2004, 2007) for Boston. And now he's trying to redeem himself on the Chavez Ravine after failing a drug test last year and serving the lengthy suspension thereafter.
During his career, Ramirez, a native of the Dominican Republic, has wowed spectators and scouts with his .313 batting average, 548 home runs and 1,822 RBI.
But he has also frustrated managers and media members alike with his sometimes sloppy play, insubordination and penchant for hefty, million-dollar contracts. His mantra ("I'm just Manny being Manny, man.") doesn't help as well.
An awesome slugger who's provided the American League and National League with both incredible talent and insanity belongs with the rest of them. Yes, that's just Manny being Manny.
7. Lleyton Hewitt - Down Under Blunder
The left-handed Aussie was a buffer for the men's game in tennis, right in between the glory days of Pete Sampra and Andre Agassi. Also included are the current reign of Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Rafel Nadal).
However, his ingratiating ways took a turn for the worse in the 2001 U.S. Open, when he implied to the chair umpire that the black sideline official who called several foot faults on Hewitt was doing so to benefit his opponent, James Blake, who is biracial.
Hewitt's irksome tactics have caused many players to serve balls directly at him. Some have even been forced to spit at him.
6. Albert Haynesworth - Fat Cat
Haynesworth was a monster defensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans, but he always gave his coaches fits, especially when it came to learning different schemes, preferring to play the game his own way.
His anger problems made him an ultimate jackarse in a game against Dallas, when he saw Cowboys center Andre Gurode on the grass without a helmet and deliberately stomped on his head.
He's become more of a drag with the Redskins, where he's taken himself out of games and looked overweight in the 2009 season. Also, despite receiving over $20 million of his signing bonus, he has embarrassed the entire franchise by not showing up to mini-camps this spring.
5. Tonya Harding - Ice Witch
Harding was never really adored as a figure skater, but became a household nuisance when she hired a hitman to attack her arch-rival and America's darling Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.
She made matters worse for her lowly career by venturing into boxing. I'm sure everyone would love to see Laila Ali knock her socks off in a ring 24/7!
4. Terrell Owens - Drama Queen
The man known as "TO" made a name for himself when he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Steve Young as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in the 1999 NFC Wild Card playoff game.
And thus a talented wideout (and pain in the rear end) was born.
Known for his theatrics in endzones after scoring touchdowns, as well as histrionics on the sidelines when dealing with extremely patient quarterbacks and coaches, TO has shown why NFL teams still remain cautious to acquire him for this 2010-2011 season.
3. Kurt Busch - Driving People Crazy
Busch was once dropped by endorsers (Newell Rubbermaid), he had refused to take a police-administered sobriety test and has threatened to fire teammates, including crew members, more than once.
As Busch, victorious in 2004 by winning the Nextel Cup Series, gave a speech at a NASCAR-sponsored team dinner, he told the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing to do something unquotable that involved his "family jewels."
2. Dennis Rodman - A Head Case
Winston Churchill famously described Russia during World War II as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
That quotation definitely applies to the cross-dressing, multi-pierced Rodman. A phenomenal rebounder, most notably as a Bad Boy for the Detroit Pistons and later as a San Antonio Spur and Chicago Bull.
I don't think that even Donald Trump wants Dennis back after his questionable diatribes on "Celebrity Apprentice" two seasons ago...
1. Barry Bonds - Inflated Eggo-Waffle Head
Great stats and was a better all-around player before the BALCO/George Mitchell Report claims.
Yet it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that before his head morphed into a basketball, Bonds was a prima donna since his college days at Arizona St.
But the news spread like wildfire that Bonds was a mercurial fellow who treated fans, haters, coaches, teammates and the media all the same, with haughty contempt.
Although he's been gone from the majors for a few years now with the home run record in his name, he'll never be able to erase the asterisk that remains with him as well.