Jim Gray, Corey Pavin and the Top 10 Player-Announcer Feuds Ever

Jon StarSenior Writer IAugust 12, 2010

Jim Gray, Corey Pavin and the Top 10 Player-Announcer Feuds Ever

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    2010 Ryder Cup captain and former U.S. Open winner Corey Pavin found himself in the center of a place few athletes want to be—in a feud with the media.

    Pavin and longtime commentator and current The Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray got into a very heated battle of words over Gray's report which Pavin vehemently denied.

    This spat is just one in a long line of athletes and the media not getting along, but is this recent flareup even the worst? That can only be decided after looking at the 10 worst feuds in the history of relationships between athletes and announcers.

    If there are other feuds you've enjoyed through the years, feel free to add them to the comments section.

Corey Pavin vs. Jim Gray

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    The flareup between Pavin and Gray began when Pavin publicly denied Gray's quoted report that Pavin would select Tiger Woods to this summer's Ryder Cup team because he is the best golfer in the world.

    Pavin went before the media throng and stated that Gray's report was simply incorrect.

    After the press conference, an incensed Gray approached Pavin and called him a "liar" and said Pavin "was going down."

    Tough talk from a reporter who has suffered previous run-ins with athletes.

Pete Rose vs. Jim Gray

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    Major League Baseball's celebration of the All-Century Team prior to Game Two of the 1999 World Series was supposed to be a festive event. Instead, Jim Gray seized the opportunity to jump on a pedestal and go right after Pete Rose. 

    Rose, who that night stepped on a baseball field for the first time in the decade since his ban from baseball, was subject to an onslaught of badgering questions from Gray who appeared hell-bent on getting Rose's admission to gambling then and there.

    An increasing angry Rose swatted away Gray's incessant questioning, finally shutting Gray down by saying, "I'm surprised you're bombarding me like this,'' Rose said. ''I'm doing an interview with you on a great night, a great occasion, a great ovation. Everybody seems to be in a good mood, and you're bringing up something that happened 10 years ago. ... This is a prosecutor's brief. It's not an interview."

Chad Curtis vs. Jim Gray

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    Two days after Jim Gray attempted to dress down Pete Rose, it was former Yankees outfielder Chad Curtis who dressed down Gray.

    After hitting a game-winning home run, Curtis—who was approached on the field by Gray—publicly announced the team's decision not to conduct any interviews with the then-NBC reporter.

    "As a team, we kind of decided, Because of what happened with Pete, we're not going to talk out here on the field," he said.

    Instead, Curtis thanked his grandmother and left a visibly embarrassed Gray holding his microphone.

James Toney vs. Jim Gray

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    While we're on the Jim Gray kick, here is one last infamous interview in which an athlete cuts off Gray at the pass.

    Heavyweight boxer James Toney had just defeated Evander Holyfield, but was in no mood for Gray's seemingly snarky way of interviewing him. In the end, Toney ends the conversation with a simple swat of Gray's microphone.

    Though Toney's "I GOT MILK BABY!" is an all-time post-interview line.

Jim Everett vs. Jim Rome

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    Jim Rome has never been shy about skewering sports figures, but in this 1994 clip Rome wastes no time in attacking Everett.  Rome insinuates Everett is no more manly than former women's tennis star Chris Evert and the sparks fly in one of the most famous sports-related YouTube clips of all time.

James Blake vs. Pam Shriver

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    Announcers often criticize players during competition. However, in the majority of cases the announcers are offset in a press box which is far removed from the field of competition.

    That was not the case for ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver who paid no mind to the volume of her voice while openly criticizing struggling American tennis player James Blake.

    In this example, Shriver was practically on top of Blake in the small confines of Court 5 at Wimbledon. There, she said, "Usually, if you haven't played, or only played one or two matches, you're actually quite eager," she said during a point. "You might not be match-tough, you might miss a lot of shots, but mentally you're not burned out.''

    Blake responded, during play, that he could hear Shriver while on the court. Shriver retorted to the audience that Blake yelled at her. The problem was that she continued to speak in a loud voice. Blake again responded.

    Shriver shot back by saying, "James just yelled at me," she said, not talking any quieter, clearly wanting Blake to hear her again. "I'm way above the court, but evidently he can hear me. He's got rabbit ears."

    Blake gave her one final kick by snapping, "You have to be an ass about it, too? And act like I'm at fault?"

Mike Gundy vs. Jenni Carlson

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    Mike Gundy is a man, he was 40-years-old, and he wasn't going to take it anymore.  Gundy slammed Jenni Carlson's 2007 report on Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby Reid and unleashed one of the most epic press conference tirades in history.

Craig James vs. Mike Leach

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    ESPN college football commentator thrust himself into a fight with former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach over the apparent rough treatment of his son, Adam James, who was a receiver on Leach's Red Raiders.

    James regularly went on television denouncing Leach and his practices of discipline, slamming the former Texas Tech head coach for disregarding injury and using unorthodox, if not cruel, means of punishing the younger James.

    Leach fired back by saying James was a bitter player's father who sought out his means of discipline as an opening to have Leach fired.  Leach was ultimately dismissed but remains steadfast in his belief of Craig James' collusion in his firing.

Rafik Saifi vs. Asma Halimi

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    Saifi is a member of the Algerian national soccer team who quickly lost his cool following Algeria's loss to the United States at the World Cup.

    While heading back to the clubhouse, Saifi took out his aggression by slapping Halimi—a female reporter for Algeria's newspaper Competition—right across the face in front of a crowd of witness.

    Halimi responded in kind by slapping Saifi right back. Halimi contended she did nothing to provoke Saifi, but it was later understood that Saifi was angry with Halimi over a previous article.

Muhammad Ali vs. Howard Cosell

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    This rivalry was not as serious as others on the list and in the end it was revealed the duo actually enjoyed as strong of a bond as any athlete-announcer combination at the time. Nevertheless, Ali's mock (for lack of a better word) rivalry with Cosell endeared both to the public during a time when sports media was still a nascent part of the media market.

    Personal barbs, Ali's joke about Cosell's toupee, Cosell's challenging of Ali's manhood and skills all went to making this one of the most memorable feuds in sports history.