The 25 Most Shocking Moments in Modern Sports History

Bill Robbins@bill_kc28Correspondent IDecember 21, 2011

The 25 Most Shocking Moments in Modern Sports History

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    Throughout sports history, there have been many shocking moments that have taken place.

    More recently, the deaths of racing stars Dale Earnhardt and Dan Wheldon, along with a plane and a bird both getting demolished during sporting events have taken the sports world by storm.

    Here is my list of the top 25 most shocking on the field and off-the-field moments in modern sports history, in no particular order.

    Also, I didn't include any of the recent scandals in this list, as they qualify more as shocking events rather than shocking moments.

Honorable Mention

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    -"Fan Man" Invades Boxing Match in 1993

    -Lawrence Taylor Breaks Joe Theismann's Leg on MNF

    -Minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh Dies After Getting Hit in the Head By Baseball

    -Bud Selig Decides to Call '02 All-Star Game after a 13-Inning Tie

    -Michael Vick Busted for Dog-Fighting Charges

Barry Sanders Retires

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    Barry Sanders was one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.

    That's why his retirement from the game of football after just 10 seasons was so shocking to everyone.

    Too many losses by the Detroit Lions eventually took their toll on the Hall-of-Fame running back.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. Dies While Racing in Final Lap of 2001 Daytona 500

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    Dale Earnhardt Sr. was one of the most iconic NASCAR drivers of his time.

    He won many races throughout his career, and his No. 3 car became known by millions of racing fans around the world.

    Unfortunately, his career and life were both cut short after a deadly crash during the final lap of the '01 Daytona 500.

Dan Wheldon Dies in Indy Car World Championships Race

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    It's hard to find anyone that didn't like Dan Wheldon.

    He was a great IndyCar driver and always friendly to anyone who approached him.

    His untimely death earlier this year shocked IndyCar fans everywhere.

Randy Johnson Demolishes Bird

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    Former starting pitcher Randy Johnson had one of the best fastballs ever.

    Unfortunately for this innocent bird, it learned this the hard way back in 2001.

Bill Gramatica Tears ACL After Making Field Goal

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    You just have to feel for former NFL kicker Bill Gramatica in this clip.

    This just proves that the saying, "it's never too early to celebrate" is indeed false.

Zinedine Zidane Headbutt in the '06 World Cup Final

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    Zidane had apparently had enough of Italy's Marco Materazzi in this game.

    He decided to headbutt Materazzi, which prompted an immediate ejection from the '06 World Cup Final game between France and Italy.

    Zidane later retired from professional football not too long after the incident.

Mike Tyson Bites Evander Holyfield's Ear During Boxing Match

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    In one of the most bizarre incidents in boxing history, Mike Tyson bit both of Evander Holyfield's ears in their second overall matchup in 1997.

    The incident earned Tyson a reputation as one of the dirtiest athletes in his sport and gave him a suspended boxing license as well.

Plane Lands on Field During Baseball Game

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    Who can say that they have ever seen a plane crash during a live sporting event?

    Well, if you were at this game back in 2003, you are one of the very few who can say that.

Roberto Clemente Dies in Plane Crash

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    Roberto Clemente was one of the most talented right-fielders to ever play in the major leagues.

    That's why his untimely death in 1972 at the age of 38 rocked all of Major League Baseball to the core.

    His legend still lives on through the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans in many ways today.

Sam Bowie Is Taken Before Michael Jordan in 1984 NBA Draft

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    Sam Bowie was one of the biggest busts in NBA history.

    Who would have ever guessed that he would have been picked before one of the greatest players that this league has ever seen?

Band Runs on Field During Stanford/Cal Game

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    It's amazing that the California Golden Bears were able to still move down the field and score the winning touchdown in this game.

    You have to think that it had to be a long day for the Stanford faithful, after first thinking that they won the game, and then realizing that they just lost.

Len Bias Dies from a Cocaine Overdose

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    Former University of Maryland star Len Bias was supposed to help the Boston Celtics bring home more championships after he was selected second overall in the 1986 NBA draft.

    Instead, he died from a cocaine overdose just two days after the draft in one of the most shocking turns of events in NBA history to date.

Pistons/Pacers Brawl in 2004

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    This classic NBA brawl is one of the worst fights to ever take place in sports history/

    It is even named "The Malice at the Palace," and for good reason.

Izzy Alcantara Goes Crazy

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    Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Izzy Alcantara was virtually unknown for most of his career.

    However, you can bet that after this moment, everyone on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons knew all about Mr. Alcantara and what he was capable of if you threw inside to him.

Dennis Rodman Kicks Camera Man

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    Former Chicago Bulls great Dennis Rodman was known for his wild behavior on and off the basketball court.

    I would have to say that kicking a cameraman is right up there with one of the craziest things that he ever did during his mercurial career in the NBA.

Pedro Martinez Throws Down Don Zimmer in Sox/Yankees Brawl

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    In one of the most disgusting and shocking events in baseball history, then-Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez threw down long-time Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer.

    I'm not for sure which is more surprising, Martinez throwing down Zimmer, or Zimmer running full speed at Martinez to begin with.

Magic Johnson Announces That He Has HIV

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    Former NBA great Magic Johnson was one of the greatest point guards in league history.

    That's why his announcement that he was HIV positive came as a shock to every NBA fan around the nation.

    Fortunately, he was able to beat the disease and lead a normal, healthy life.

U.S. Hockey Team Defeats Russia in 1980 Winter Olympics

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    The "Miracle on Ice" is one of the biggest underdog stories in sports history.

    The 1980 U.S. hockey team knocked off a powerful Soviet Union team in the Winter Olympics that year, 4-3.

    Longtime ABC sports announcer Al Michaels said it best when he asked, "Do you believe in miracles?" in the waning seconds of the United States' improbable victory over the Soviets.

Jerome Lane Breaks Backboard

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    Ever heard of the saying, "send it in big fella" by ESPN commentator Bill Raftery?

    If not, you need to watch this clip immediately.

Pete Rose Banished from Baseball

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    Pete Rose was one of the best hitters in baseball history.

    Unfortunately, he had a gambling problem as well.

    In 1989, Major League Baseball decided to permanently ban him from the game of baseball after it was found that he had gambled on the game that he loved to play for a few years.

Tonya Harding Gets Revenge on Nancy Kerrigan

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    U.S. ice skater Tonya Harding was jealous of fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan.

    After all, she was better looking, a better skater and a better overall person.

    That is still no excuse for why she decided to hire someone to attack Kerrigan before she was about to go on the ice for practice at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Michael Jordan Retires for the First Time

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    Yes, I know, NBA legend Michael Jordan retired on three different occasions.

    However, it was his first retirement in 1993 that sent shockwaves through NBA nation.

    What was even more shocking was that he decided to pursue a career in pro baseball, which ended up being a complete and utter failure.

Royals Coach Tom Gamboa Is Violently Attacked by Two Fans During a Game

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    Back in 2002, then-Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa endured one of the scariest moments of his life.

    The Royals were playing the White Sox up in Chicago when he was viciously attacked from behind by a father-and-son tandem from virtually out of nowhere.

    If you watch the video, the attack takes place at the 1:07 mark, but thankfully, Gamboa ended up OK after this very bizarre event.

OJ Simpson's Police Chase

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    Former NFL star O.J. Simpson stunned the nation with a police chase in his white Ford Bronco back in 1994.

    It was later found out that he was running from the cops because they wanted to speak with him in regards to two people who had recently been murdered, both of whom knew Simpson.

    In the end, Simpson was found not guilty for the murders in the "case of the century," but his police chase down the 405 was a big shocker to many at the time.

Howard Cosell Announces Death of Beatles Star John Lennon During MNF

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    This was one of the most epic moments in sports and television history.

    A legendary sports broadcaster announcing that one of the world's most influential people had died on one of the nation's most popular weekly television events, Monday Night Football.

    Even though I wasn't there, it still gives me chills just listening to it.