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20 Greatest Sports Pranks of All Time

Kelsey GivensAnalyst IIJanuary 18, 2017

20 Greatest Sports Pranks of All Time

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    Pranks have been a part of professional sports for as long as they have existed.

    From fans pranking the fans of other teams to athletes messing with their fellow teammates, pranks seem to be the hilarious and mostly harmless way for fans and athletes alike to blow off a little bit of steam.

    These pranks range from rearranging another team's flip cards to spell out something different to convincing a fellow teammate he has been traded to a team in a foreign country.

    Here is a list of 20 of the greatest pranks in sports history.

20. Blue Jackets Pants Prank

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    On a video segment from the TV channel Versus, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets said one of the many pranks played on this team was when one of the guys went around and cut out the pockets on all of the team's dress pants so all their stuff just fell to the ground when they all tried to go out after the game.

    He talks about it around 20 seconds into this video clip.

19. Jon Sim Interviewed by Fake Reporter

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    In this hilarious prank, Luc Robitaille set up teammate Jon Sim to do a fake interview.

    The "reporter" doing the interview shows up late and unprepared, getting Jon's name and where he's from wrong.

    His face is priceless as he reacts to what he thinks is a real interview.

18. The Popcorn Prank

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    This is an age-old prank pulled by many athletes on other athletes throughout time.

    It's known as the popcorn prank, where teammates will steal the keys to another teammate's car and then fill the car entirely with popcorn.

    Some of the few notable names who have fallen victim to this prank are the Kings' Jason Thompson and the Nuggets' Kenyon Martin. 

    Here is a photo of Martin's car full of popcorn.

17. Signing Your Own Helmet

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    In 2005, the Bears' Olin Kreutz asked Kyle Orton—who was a rookie at the time—if he would sign a helmet for his family.

    Little did the poor, unsuspecting rookie know that he was actually signing his own helmet, which he would have to wear to practice later.

16. Pete Carroll's Arrest Prank

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    During a film viewing with his team, Pete Carroll, head coach of the USC football team, decided to prank his players.

    He set it up to look like Everson Griffen was being arrested for what the police who came in to get him called "abuse of a freshman."

    When Carroll played the tape the police had given him as the evidence for their arrest, it turned out just to be a hard hit at practice.

    The entire team laughed when they saw it was only a prank and their teammate wasn't really being arrested.

15. The Overturned Play

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    In 1982, after UC Berkeley beat Stanford in the final moments of their rivalry game with an epic returned kickoff, Stanford students decided to get back at them with a little prank.

    These students put together and distributed on the Berkeley campus a phony version of the Berkeley student newspaper. This paper's top story told readers that the NCAA had actually reviewed the last play and overturned it, giving Stanford the win, 20-19.

14. Tom Brady GQ Prank

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    After doing a sexy photo shoot for GQ, Tom Brady fell victim to a hilarious prank by the Patriots offensive line.

    After the spread ran in the men's magazine, Brady's teammates cut out pictures from the photo shoot and taped them to their backs during a practice. Needless to say, the pictures were quickly hunted down and torn off by Brady when he saw them.

13. Mark Cuban Fights a Referee

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    The funny part of this prank is that it's easy to see why so many people took it seriously at first thanks to Mark Cuban's volatile personality.

    As an April Fools joke one year, Cuban pretended to get in an epic fight with a referee on the court in the middle of a game.

12. Devean George Loves Duct Tape

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    When Devean George was a rookie for the Lakers, he seemed to be the target of all of his veteran teammates' practical jokes.

    Most of these, led by Shaquille O'Neal himself, involved George being duct-taped to things like the floor of the court or a bellhop cart, which was then rolled into an elevator and sent down to the lobby of a hotel.

11. Veteran Proves Why Rookies Need to Do as They're Told

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    It's a well-known fact throughout the sporting world that as a rookie, you need to pay your dues by doing anything and everything asked of you by your veteran teammates.

    Well, Chris Colmer apparently didn't get that memo when he decided to prank Mike Alstott by bringing him a map of where to find the Gatorade instead of actual Gatorade like Alstott had asked for.

    In retaliation, Alstott took the tires off Colmer's car and put it up on blocks, giving Colmer a map of where to find his missing tires.

10. The Lucy Liu Prank

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    The Lakers seem to really love playing pranks on their rookies.

    This time, the target was Tony Bobbitt, who kept telling his teammates during a game in Denver that Lucy Liu, who happened to be in the crowd that night, was looking at him, and he could tell she totally wanted him.

    So his more experienced teammates sent a ball boy over to Bobbitt with a note that supposedly had Liu's number on it.

    They even had a woman who worked for the team record a message on the voice mail of the phone he was calling, pretending to be Liu.

    The prank went on and on until Bobbitt was supposed to meet Liu, and all he was met with at the restaurant was his laughing teammates.

9. Berkeley Fans Fake Relationship with USC Star Player

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    Described like To Catch a Predator, this prank all started on the Internet.

    A few Berkeley fans decided to create an online dating profile for an imaginary girl named Victoria. They then starting chatting with USC basketball player Gabe Pruitt.

    These two star-crossed lovers were supposed to meet when Pruitt got home from the Berkeley vs. USC game, but instead he got the shock of a lifetime when Berkeley fans started chanting "Victoria" and his phone number during the game.

8. Charles Barkley Fake Japanese Interview

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    In this classic prank, Charles Barkley is set up for an interview with a Japanese correspondent.

    When the man starts asking him questions, they don't make any sense in either Japanese or English, and the interviewer even starts asking about the wrong teams.

    The best part of this fake interview is Barkley's face as he tries to figure out what the man is asking him.

7. Karl Powers Gets in on Manchester United Photo

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    Karl Powers is infamously known for sneaking onto the field or court of major sporting events in the UK.

    One of the most well-known of these sneaky pranks is the time he disguised himself as one of the TV workers and walked in with them before changing into a Manchester United uniform and walking onto the field to get in their pre-match team photo.

    You can even tell in this photo some of the actual players even notice the out of place Powers, but not before the actual pictures were being taken.

6. MIT Balloon Prank

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    Typically when pranks go on during a game, they're from one playing team's fans to the other. In this case, it was neither team's fans but another school entirely that pranked this Harvard vs. Yale game.

    Several MIT students were able to inflate a large weather balloon, seemingly out of nowhere, in the middle of the football field during this game that said MIT all over it before exploding from overinflation.

5. Drop the Ball

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    After winning Florida's first ever NCAA basketball championship title, head coach Billy Donovan pretends to drop the huge crystal trophy.

    Thankfully, it was a fake one, and the real one was safe and sound.

4. We Suck

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    This may be one of the most well-known pranks in sports fan history.

    During a Yale vs. Harvard rivalry game, a couple of Yale students decided to mess with the flip card directions the Harvard fans had received, making the cards spell out "We Suck" instead of their originally intended message.

3. Cal Tech Rose Bowl Hoax

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    This is another one of the most well-known sports pranks of all time involving flip cards.

    In this classic prank, 14 Cal Tech students wanted to play on the irony of the fact that their school didn't have a football team, but they still hosted the Rose Bowl every year anyway.

    So they rearranged the directions for the University of Washington fans to create a beaver instead of a husky, to spell Huskies backwards and in the end to spell out Cal Tech so everyone knew who had done the prank.

2. Ken Griffey Jr. Gives Manager Whole Steak Dinner

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    After losing a bet, Ken Griffey Jr. promised to buy his manager a steak dinner.

    So as a prank, Griffey put a live cow inside the manager's office.

    Their reaction to the practical joke can be seen at around 1:25 in this video.

1. Fake Trade to Foreign Country

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    At the No. 1 spot on this list of best sports pranks is the trading of Phillies player Kyle Kendrick to Japan.

    It seems almost everyone was in on this one, including Brett Myers, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and assistant GM Ruben Amaro. They all got together and created a couple of official-looking documents about this trade before calling Kendrick in to tell him the news.

    What really made this prank amazing was the fact that he never caught on to it, despite how ridiculous it was. His reaction to the "trade" and when he finds out it was all a joke is priceless.

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