The 35 Most Awkward Moments in Sports
Somewhere along the way, the "awkward character" in comedy became extremely popular. From Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents to Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, the awkward character is this generation's defining comedic trope.
But it doesn't really work in sports.
Sports is at its best when the performances are pristine and the execution is flawless, which is why awkward moments in sports seem so jarring. They feel unnatural, like they are somehow ruining the beauty of the moment.
Thus, I'm pleased to present 35 such instances that ruined the beauty of the moment (or at the very least made it feel really uncomfortable). From weird announcer calls and terrible interviews to wacky dancing and poor singing, I think you'll find these slides painfully amusing.
To the painful amusement!
35. John Wall's First Pitch
There are a slew of terrible first pitches, but this one is especially poor, namely because John Wall is a remarkable athlete.
"That was a bounce pass—that was fine."
"That was horrible."
34. Avery Johnson Uses Psychology and Whatnot
There are a lot of coaching rants out there, but I generally don't find unbridled rage to be awkward. Perhaps disturbing, but not necessarily awkward.
But what Avery Johnson did to this reporter made me squirm in my seat. It was akin to a kid that was used to getting teased finally snapping, tackling his antagonist and rubbing dirt in his face while yelling, "How do you like it? Do YOU think this is fun?"
33. Soccer Announcer Hates Tom Cruise
In your best Jim Gaffigan voice:
"Hey, I like Tom Cruise, you jerk."
Actually, nobody likes Tom Cruise. Sorry, Tom Cruise, but it's true.
32. Boomer Throws Dan Under the Bus
Dan Marino is thinking to himself, "Did Boomer Esiason—BOOMER FRIGGIN' ESIASON!—really just say that?"
But Boomer was trying to make the point that Peyton Manning's team put too much pressure on him to do everything and wasn't carrying its own weight, which he apparently felt Marino faced in his career as well.
Nonetheless, Marino is probably reminded that he is the best to never win a Super Bowl so often that the very mention of it is just annoying now.
31. The Missed Connection
A missed handshake is always awkward.
I can't decide if this video mocking the moment is some good old-fashioned, lighthearted fun or even more awkward.
You know what? When you feel the need to describe something as "good old-fashioned, lighthearted fun," that probably just means it's awkward.
30. A Periwinkle Sky
There is a fine line between coming up with clever catchphrases and sounding like Michael Scott on a mic.
What we have here is the latter.
29. I'm Embarrassed for You, Mr. Mayor
As though Boston mayor Tom Menino saying "ionic" wasn't funny enough, he follows with "Varitek splitting the uprights."
I'm assuming he meant to say "Vinatieri," unless he knows something about Jason Varitek's personal life he shouldn't be sharing.
28. T.O. Cries
You knew this would be on here.
To me, what makes this awkward was the point Rich Eisen brought up—T.O. has a history of throwing quarterbacks under the bus, but then he pulls this?
In that moment, I thought to myself, "Who is this man?" And I felt a little bit uncomfortable, so I laughed.
Eventually the discomfort left, and I was still laughing.
27. Gus Johnson Has "Going-to-Get-Fined" Catchphrases
But what if the cops were in cars, or on bikes, or perhaps even on horses...
Wait, that is so not the point here, is it?
26. Ron Artest Thanks His Psychiatrist
If I were an athlete, I would sign contracts with companies or services to thank them after winning championships. I would charge a fee, which of course they would only pay upon the championship "Thank You."
I would like to thank "X," my lawn fertilizer company, for making my grass super-green and incredibly dangerous to any dogs or unattended children that might chew on it.
I would like to thank the incredibly rude technician Amy at "X Pharmacy," who somehow makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed even when I'm picking up allergy medication. Seriously, it really isn't necessary to loudly ask if I'll be purchasing my favorite foot-fungus cream on today's visit just to make the cute intern guy laugh.
I would like to thank the really strange cat lady that hovers around the alley near my apartment and recently left a carefully crafted pyramid of "Cat Food X" next to my steps. Trust me, there is nothing like waking up to a cat orgy at five in the morning—so refreshing. (This is a cat food plug.)
On second thought, maybe this isn't such a good idea.
25. The Decision
"The Decision" may have been narcissistic drivel, but the interview itself was fairly pointless and at times awkward.
At one point, Jim Gray asks him "You still a nail biter?" and follows LeBron's response with, "Well, you've had everyone else biting their nails, so I guess it's time for them to stop chewing."
24. The A-Rod/Joe Torre Hug
Thankfully, the video does all the work for me, so let's just move on to the next slide.
23. Speaking of Alex Rodriguez
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
What the hell, dude?
22. Illegal Use of Hands?
21. Michael Jordan, What a Jokester
Strangely enough, I found myself thinking about how much of an honor it would be to get pantsed by Michael Jordan.
Then I felt really strange and uncomfortable, sort of like this.
20. Gary Blair Breaks the Dougie
Wait a second. He's not trying to do "The Dougie"—he's doing "The Sweaty Brow!"
Classic move right there, Coach.
19. So Does Skip Bayless
I can't even come up with what these movements should be called.
Let's go with "The Vibrating Cellphone on a Table" and just move on.
18. Shaq Doesn't Give a (Insert Bleeping Noise Here)
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
I can't embed the video here due to the profanity Shaq uses, but you can find it here.
"Shaq, we're on live."
17. Go Celebrate with Your People
If I were Jozy Altidore, I'd be like, "What do you mean MY people?"
Then I'd realize he'd also just said, "Jozy loves scoring like a fat kid loves eating cake," prompting me to shake my head and walk away.
But not before I heard this:
And then I'd be frightened.
16. Bob Knight Doesn't Dig Jeremy Schaap's Style
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The entire transcript of the now-famous interview in 2000 after Bob Knight was fired can be found here.
I've included my favorite segment, which is also the part that made this interview so famous:
Knight: Let's get back to Pat, OK. Now, with Pat and our situation where it was, now we have to find another place. But again, before you interrupted me, what I—and you have a real faculty for doing that.
Schaap: Thank you.
Knight: No, I don't think it's anything to really be real proud of myself.
Schaap: I'm sorry.
Knight: I talked about Pat—
Schaap: Bob, we came here to do an interview. I'm asking you questions.
Knight: Well, then let me finish the answer. Is that OK, Jeremy, is that fair enough? Have I interrupted your questions yet?
Knight: No, I haven't. You've interrupted my answers with your questions and then I've tried to get back. So let me finish.
Schaap: Please continue.
Knight: You've got a long way to go to be as good as your dad. You better keep that in mind.
15. Mark Madsen Dances
Mark Madsen's main move seems to be the "Cross-Country Skier."
Madsen's moves crack me up, mostly because you can tell he doesn't care whether or not he can dance and is just having fun.
But my goodness, he gyrates like one of those inflatable car dealership men that Sweet Dee loves.
14. Nicole Richie Loves Kobe
And Kobe was all like, "Wanna rendezvous in Colorado later?"
What, too soon?
(Audience does "cliché recovery joke" chuckle)
13. Ladies and Gentlemen, I Present Metta World Peace
Everything about this is poor: the video quality, the pantsing effort and especially the singing.
I'd rather listen to Yoko Ono gargle mouthwash than suffer through Ron Artest's vocal stylings.
By the way, I call that Yoko Ono video "Getting It ON (Emphasis Necessary) with a Snowman."
12. I Take You Seriously, White Guy
Cue uncomfortable silence.
11. Seriously, Bruce Pearl?
Thank goodness he didn't demonstrate how a defender should body up an opposing player trying to establish post position.
"Erin, if you could just turn away from me for a second..."
Even I just cringed.
10. Rey Maualuga, Class Act
Poor Erin Andrews.
9. Carl Lewis "Sings" the National Anthem
Here is the reason this rendition of "The National Anthem" appears on the list but Roseanne Barr's Yoko Ono (Two Yoko Ono references on this slideshow? What the hell is going on here?) impersonation during a national anthem won't:
Lewis thinks he can sing. Roseanne is definitely aware of the fact that she can't, as she laughs during the performance.
Have you ever gone to karaoke and suffered through someone who has a decent voice but thinks they have an amazing one?
It is 10 times more awkward than the person who goes up there and knows they suck but has fun with it.
(Just don't suck and have fun with "The National Anthem." People tend to get offended.)
8. Jim Gray Interviews Pete Rose
This felt a bit like an opportunistic bombardment by Jim Gray, who probably figured he wouldn't have another chance to ask Pete Rose these questions.
Journalism is journalism, and I had no problem with Gray bringing up the matter with Rose. It's newsworthy, after all.
But by persistently focusing on the topic for the entire interview, Gray took away from the other events happening that evening.
I'm not sure I would say it was unprofessional, but it was a bit distasteful in my opinion.
7. That's Not My Check to Write
Ron Burgundy would probably advise these two to work on their diction during breaks.
6. Fourth Down and Nine
This comment from 8Richmix on YouTube pretty much sums this up for me:
Anytime in my life I'm presented with an awkward situation, I'm just gonna break the silence by saying "Fourth down and nine"
5. I'm Sorry—Chris Everett
Even without the fight, I cringe every time Jim Rome calls him "Chris" to his face. It's just a really uncomfortable and, frankly, unprofessional way to handle an interview.
This isn't professional wrestling, after all.
4. Nobody Wants to Talk to Chris Bosh
Listen, if Ron Artest can change his name to Metta World Peace, why can't Chris Bosh change his name to "The Third Wheel?"
Or maybe, "I'm Still Here, Guys."
3. Gary "Sarge" Matthews Has the Talk with Phillies Fans
Can you imagine being Tom McCarthy, the play-by-play announcer who has to ignore those statements?
I would be dying in the booth, and probably unable to move smoothly over to another topic, which would exponentially increase the awkwardness created by these "Sarge-isms."
2. Boom Goes the Dynamite
Sorry, Brian Collins, but you knew this was going to be on here.
There are moments when this video is just so hard to watch—I really feel for the guy.
But I can't lie—the first time I saw this, I was rolling. Even after knowing he was a fill-in for another anchor and they were having teleprompter issues, it still kills me.
1. Joe Namath Is Druuuuuunk
I mean, Joe's smooth advances on Suzy Kolber were so absurd they inspired a blog.
I'm fairly certain that's when you've reached the apex of awkward, or "rock bottom," as other people might describe it.
Just ask Joe Morgan.
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