The 25 Greatest Urban Legends In Sports History
From generation to generation, stories are passed down.
In the process of being told, details of these stories are often changed, and the truth of them is usually in doubt to begin with.
These stories vary in subject, but it's not uncommon to hear a sports urban legend.
Some of these stories sound too far-fetched to be true, while others seem extremely likely.
Let's take a look at the top 25 urban legends in the history of sports so you can judge for yourself. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention: Wade Boggs and Miller Lite
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We begin our list with one of the most talked about urban legends in sports.
According to this legend, Hall of Fame baseball player and drinker Wade Boggs once downed 64 Miller Lites on a cross country plane trip.
That's right, 64.
Boggs has denied that the number was that high, but do we really believe him? Better yet, do we really want to believe him?
Honorable Mention: Tommy Lasorda Times Two
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Former Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda is involved in two of the top legends in sports history.
The first is that Lasorda frequently got busy with prostitutes. This rumor came to light when some hooker decided to write a book on her experiences which Tommy was apparently a part of.
However, if you think that's good, then you haven't seen nothin' yet.
When managing the All-Star team one season, Lasorda allegedly made a candid comment to several coaches saying "Wouldn't you love to blow a **** on that girl's rack?" as he spotted a girl on the field.
Which was okay until one of the coaches replied with, "Not me, Tommy...that's my daughter."
Wow, go Tommy!
Honorable Mention: Edgar Renteria's Called Shot
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In this year's World Series the big blow went to Giants' shortstop Edgar Renteria as he hit the decisive three-run shot in the series-clinching game.
Before he stepped to the plate, Renteria allegedly told teammates Andres Torres and Aaron Rowand that he would go long.
This very well could turn out to be sports' next great urban legend.
25. Game 6 Of The 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals Was Fixed
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We start our list with one of the most historic yet controversial series in NBA history, the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals.
The legend goes that two unnamed referees of the game wanted to extend the series to seven games, so they fixed the game.
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was the first former referee to speak of what was already an extremely controversial series.
24. You're With Me, Leather
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Chris Berman has already been exposed as a little bit of a crazy guy when not behind the camera.
This opinion of Berman all began with one famous rumor.
According to the website deadspin.com a man was once flirting with an attractive girl in leather pants and holding a leather jacket in a bar.
Sounds normal enough, right?
Well, that was until Chris Berman walked right up to the girl and uttered what would become an immortal phrase, "You're with me, Leather."
And she left the bar with Berman.
It's safe to assume that Ms. Leather was quite intoxicated at this time.
23. Toni Braxton Broke Up The Mavericks
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Back in the mid-1990s, the three J's (Jamal Mashburn, Jason Kidd and Jimmy Jackson) were supposed to make basketball come alive in Dallas, but it never happened.
The reason? Well, there are contrasting theories, but many believe it to be the fault of singer Toni Braxton.
The story goes that singer Braxton stopped by the Mavs' hotel in Atlanta to pick up her date for the night, Jason Kidd, but left with Jimmy Jackson instead.
She then rode the ensuing publicity for all it was worth, telling a reporter who asked about the situation, "I've at least heard of them [but] as far as dating, whether it's true or not, I can never kiss and tell."
Kidd asked for a trade and was shipped to the Suns, while teammate Jim Jackson exited the team soon after.
So much for the three J's.
22. Gaylord Perry's Moon Shot
Way back in 1963 when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and Gaylord Perry chucked spitballs, a legend was born.
Perry was taking batting practice that very year and getting some nice cuts in when a reporter asked him if he thought he could ever hit a home run.
He replied by laughing and saying "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run."
Fast forward to July 20, 1969. On this day Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever step foot on the moon, but you probably already knew that.
Here's what you didn't know: Just hours later, Gaylord Perry unloaded on a pitch for his first career home run.
Just after we put a man on the moon.
Coincidence? Maybe. Great urban legend? Definitely.
21. Back to The Future II Predicted The Results Of The 1997 World Series
Remember Back To The Future II where Biff had the almanac with the results of future sporting events?
Well, it turns out that some of those predictions may be right.
It has been written about across the Internet, that when Marty went into the year 2015, there was a billboard stating that a Miami-based baseball team defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series in seven games.
The weird part? This movie was made in 1989. The even weirder part? There was no baseball team based in Miami in 1989.
Whoever wrote that movie must be one hell of a gambler.
20. Bud Selig Knew About Sammy Sosa's and Mark McGwire's Steroid Use In 1998
Back in 1998, four years after its strike, Major League Baseball was in a state of desperation.
The sport's popularity was falling rapidly and they needed something to captivate the nation, and they needed it fast.
Enter Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
These two guys both shattered the former single-season home run record in what is widely considered the greatest home run chase of all time.
They revived baseball, but they also disappointed the MLB universe years later with their admission of cheating through the use of steroids.
However, many people believe that MLB commissioner Bud Selig knew of this cheating long before it got out to the public, and he kept his mouth shut.
Considering the increase in popularity baseball received from this home run chase, it seems entirely possible, too.
19. Brett Favre and The Sext Heard 'round The World
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For years now, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has been happily married to his high school sweetheart, Deanna.
However, rumor has it that Favre has let his hormones get the best of him.
According to several sources while he was a Jet, Favre sent inappropriate pictures to employee Jenn Sterger.
But we'll never know for sure.
18. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s NASCAR Wins In 2001 Were Fixed
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Back in 2001, the most tragic event in NASCAR history, and perhaps sports history took place: Dale Earnhardt Sr. passed away.
Following his death, Earnhardt Sr.'s son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., went on to win three more races that season.
As much as we'd love to believe he did it on his own, and I really do, there have been rumors floating around the Internet saying that the races were fixed.
I sure hope not.
17. Super Bowl III Was Fixed
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Back in 1970 the NFL and AFL were about ready to merge, but people still weren't taking the AFL seriously. They thought it was inferior to the NFL.
So in 1970, when the two leagues had their annual "Super Bowl" they devised the perfect plan: fix the game so the AFL Jets win, and develop the league's first superstar in the process (Joe Namath).
Or at least that's how the legend goes, whether it's true, that's up to you.
16. The 1951 New York Baseball Giants and Sign Stealing
"THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT. THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT." ... But did they win it fairly?
Well, according to this urban legend, they did not.
The legend: The entire 1951 New York Giants team took part in sign stealing, including on that famous Bobby Thompson home run.
All of a sudden, their impossible comeback seems possible.
15. Curt Schilling's Bloody Sock Was Fake
Al Bello/Getty Images
The 2004 ALCS which featured the Red Sox legendary 3-0 comeback was capped off but one unforgettable moment: Curt Schilling's bloody sock.
This was considered one of the gutsiest and most admirable moments in sports history.
However, it has its doubters.
There are more than a few people who believe Schilling's bloody sock wasn't actually red with blood.
14. Bobby Riggs Threw The Battle Of The Sexes
In 1972, tennis players Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King faced off in a tennis match that became known as "The Battle of the Sexes."
Most people had Riggs taking the easy victory, but King ended up with the win.
But that victory didn't come without controversy. Many people believed that Riggs simply threw the match.
And his lack of hustle throughout helps the case.
I'm just saying...
13. Kevin Mitchell: Cat Killer
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From one crazy legend to an even crazier one we go.
According to Dwight Gooden's book Heat, during the Mets 1986 championship run Kevin Mitchell got angry with his then-girlfriend, and instead of yelling like most people would he decided to cut the head off her cat.
12. Josh Gibson's Godly Home Run Totals
The MLB lost a lot of guys that could have been stars due to segregation, none of those bigger than Josh Gibson.
Gibson was known as the black Babe Ruth in his heyday, but some think he was even better.
According to several unofficial stats, Gibson once homered 80 times in one season, had a career batting average over .350 and had over 800 career home runs.
And he didn't even need steroids!
11. Kevin Costner and Cal Ripken Jr.'s Wife
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Here's a classic.
In 1997 Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games streak nearly ended when he came home to find Kevin Costner in bed with his wife.
In fact, this rumor picked up even more steam when people began to say that the Orioles cooked up a power outage to keep Ripken's streak going while he was in custody for kicking Costner's ass.
But we never will know if Mrs. Ripken ever saw Costner's field of dreams.
10. Babe Ruth's Called Shot
Babe Ruth's called shot, arguably the most well known urban legend in all of sports.
Before a fifth-inning pitch in Game Three of the 1932 World Series Babe Ruth pointed his bat at the center field bleachers to declare that he would hit it there.
On the next pitch, he did.
However, with the lack of film and lack of Ruth to ask, nobody will ever know whether that was his intention when he pointed.
9. Dock Ellis and The LSD No-No
On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis tossed a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.
Fourteen years later he would admit that he was under the influence of LSD throughout the course of the game.
You can't make this stuff up, folks.
8. WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTOMBO!?
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One night at Georgetown, Dikembe Mutombo went out partying and got completely bombed.
Being that he rarely did drink, he was completely out of his mind that night.
He allegedly walked into a bar and just randomly screamed out, "WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTOMBO!?"
The entire bar erupted with laughter.
How do you not like Dikembe Mutombo?
7. Sonny Liston Takes a Dive
The second installment in the Ali-Liston series was even more anticipated than the first after that fight ended with a Liston tap out because of a shoulder injury.
However, the people at home didn't even have enough time to grab a snack as Ali knocked out Liston midway through the first round.
The punch that knocked Liston out has become known as "the phantom punch" because it definitely wasn't enough to knock out a pro boxer.
Some people believe Liston owed the mafia money, so he bet against himself and then took a dive.
6. Wilt Chamberlain and The 20,000 Mistresses
In case the title and picture didn't give it away, I will: Wilt Chamberlain has slept with a whole lot of women in his lifetime.
When I say a whole lot I mean 20,000, or at least that's what the rumors say.
Oh, what I would give to be The Big Dipper right now.
5. Jimmy Hoffa's Dead Body Is Buried at Giants Stadium
Here we have one of the craziest rumors of the 20th century.
At or around 2:45 p.m. on July 30, 1975, Jimmy Hoffa went to a Detroit restaurant to meet up with two mobsters.
Hours later, his wife began to worry about the fact that he had yet to return so she called the police.
After hours of search Hoffa's location remained a mystery. Five years later after several FBI searches, Hoffa was pronounced dead.
But where exactly his body was located was still a mystery. However, many people believe that Hoffa's body was buried beneath the surface of Giants' Stadium.
This theory became so popular that there was even an episode of Mythbusters on the topic.
4. Michael Jordan's First Retirement Was Because Of a Gambling Ban
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Do you really believe that the greatest basketball player of all time decided to ditch in his prime to play baseball?
Do you really believe that if he did somebody wouldn't try to find or make up a reason why?
According to this urban legend Michael Jordan's first retirement was not because he actually wanted to retire, but rather because he was forced to by David Stern.
A gambling suspension allegedly forced Michael Jordan out of basketball for one year, but to save face Jordan and Stern kept it a secret and used the ol' retirement excuse.
Works every time.
3. The Frozen Envelope and The 1980's NBA Draft Conspiracy
The first-ever NBA Draft lottery in 1985 didn't come without controversy. The rumor goes that in order to get the league's top market (New York) competitive again, Stern devised a plot to ensure they would get one of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, Patrick Ewing.
The plan is believed to be one of two things:
1. The envelope containing the Knicks picture was creased before being put in the spinning machine to ensure Stern would know which one had the Knicks' picture.
2. The Knicks' envelope was frozen before the draft lottery so Stern could feel which envelope was cold and choose that one.
However, that is not where the draft controversies of the 1980s end.'
Some people have dug even deeper inside the facts to see that the four biggest stars drafted in the 1980s, (Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan) went to the four greatest basketball franchises at the time- New York, Boston, L.A (Lakers), and Chicago.
2. Eight Men Out
At the conclusion of the 1919 World Series eight members of the Chicago Black Sox were given lifelong bans from baseball.
The reason: throwing the World Series for gambling purposes.
To this day, this remains one of the biggest scandals in sports history, yet it has never been proven true.
1. Delonte West and LeBron James' Mom
This summer, LeBron James bolted from Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach.
While some people believe that he left to pursue more championships, many people blame Delonte West.
What exactly did West do? Well, he allegedly had an affair with LeBron's mom.
One could only imagine how long this one will be talked about for, and it takes the top spot on our list without question.