Sports Stars Who Love Throwing Shade

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2015

Sports Stars Who Love Throwing Shade

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    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Ronda Rousey crushed Floyd Mayweather with some serious shade at the ESPYs, and she's not the only sports star with a talent for zingers. 

    To be fair, some of the following sports figures probably don't love throwing shade all the time. However, even if they're not insult pros, they've tossed at least one haymaker big enough to get them on this list.

    Let's see who's got the best burns.

Honorable Mention: Landon Donovan

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Landon Donovan gets an honorable mention, because it's not totally clear if he meant to throw shade with a recent tweet. It sure seems like he did, though.

    When the U.S. women's national team won the World Cup ('Murica!), Donovan tweeted his congratulations: "Love the enthusiasm and veteran presence of @AbbyWambach despite not playing much. That kind of leadership is priceless during a WC."

    This may or may not have been a veiled dig at men's coach Jurgen Klinsmann who opted to leave Donovan off the World Cup team in 2014.

Honorable Mention: John Oliver

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    Charles Sykes/Associated Press

    Another honorable mention goes to comedian John Oliver. He's not exactly a "sports star," but he has taken more than one shot at the sports world as the host of HBO's Last Week Tonight. One of his favorite, and increasingly easy, targets appears to be FIFA.

    Oliver talked about corruption in the organization before and after actual charges were brought, and he was at it again recently, calling FIFA "an international crime syndicate that occasionally organizes soccer matches."

Chuck Knoblauch

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    KATHY WILLENS/Associated Press

    Chuck Knoblauch? Oh yeah, the guy who forgot to throw how to first base. He might not be the best person to be throwing stones.

    Still, he did when his former team, the New York Yankees, announced they planned to retire Andy Pettitte's No. 46. Knoblauch tweeted, "Congrats to 46. Yankees retiring his number. Hopefully they don't retire it like his HGH testimony."

    Weak and below the belt.

Tiger Woods

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    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    Jordan Spieth made history when he won the Masters at 21 years of age and tied one of Tiger Woods' records doing it. 

    When asked about Spieth's accomplishment, Woods couldn't seem to resist throwing a little subtle shade into his response. According to Max Adler of Golf Digest, he said, "With the length of the golf course, I didn't think that people would be getting that low, but they kept it soft all week. And that's something that the older guys in the clubhouse and in the Champions Locker Room were all talking about, that we haven't seen it that soft. It wasn't springy until today."

    In other words, you had it easier than I did, my friend.

Jeremy Guthrie

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    During the 2014 MLB postseason, Jeremy Guthrie of the Kansas City Royals trolled his opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, during a press conference. Instead of using his words, however, Guthrie threw wardrobe shade, wearing a T-shirt with the phrase, "These O's ain't Royal," printed on it.

    The phrase was not only a dig at the Orioles, but also a play on a Chris Brown song that could be seen as offensive. He later apologized when Baltimore fans (and others) didn't approve.

Roy Halladay

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Alex Rodriguez is a pretty easy target when it comes to ridicule. He was for retired MLB pitcher Roy Halladay, anyway. In March, Halladay tweeted, "I recorded my first strike out since retirement! Time for a comeback? She has a better swing then Arod! No steroids."

    The tweet was accompanied by a photo of an older woman at the dish.

    It looks like Halladay, like almost everyone else on Planet Earth, failed to anticipate the baller season A-Rod is having with the New York Yankees.

New England Patriots

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    Billie Weiss/Getty Images

    After the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, more than one player celebrated by mocking the opponent. Running back LeGarrette Blount poked fun at Marshawn Lynch, nicknamed "Beast Mode," with a T-shirt that read, "B---h Mode." Classy.

    Safety Devin McCourty apparently took some issue with the Seahawks secondary gracing the cover of a recent Sports Illustrated issue. He posted a photo from the victory parade and tweeted, "The NFL's BEST Secondary should have been on the cover of Sports Illustrated last week but we don't care lol (D-Mac)."

Stephen A. Smith

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    Amy E. Price/Getty Images

    Stephen A. Smith is not afraid to make bold statements. The ESPN broadcaster did just that when he called Phil Jackson "untrustworthy" on First Take. Smith took issue with Jackson's comments regarding the New York Knicks' decision to part ways with J.R. Smith.

    Smith felt Jackson had revealed too much about J.R.'s personal life with his comments. According to Charles Curtis of, Smith said on air, "…he comes across as incredibly untrustworthy and that's sad that a grown man 70 years of age can be accused of being untrustworthy."

    Untrustworthy, sad and old. Burn.

Phil Jackson

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Speaking of Phil Jackson, the man is no slouch himself. In an interview with Howard Beck, NBA Senior Writer at Bleacher Report, Jackson spoke about the status of basketball today and the tendency toward a more "individualized" game. Jackson used LeBron James as an example, throwing some (possibly unintentional) shade along the way.   

    He said:

    I watch LeBron James, for example. He might [travel] every other time he catches the basketball if he's off the ball. He catches the ball, moves both his feet. You see it happen all the time. There's no structure, there's no discipline, there's no 'How do we play this game' type of attitude. 

J.R. Smith

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    And we come full circule. Speaking of J.R. Smith, he is no one-time offender when it comes to shade throwing. Back in May, he tweeted about a suit John Wall wore to a game, and it wasn't exactly complimentary. I believe the (non)word "turrrbile" was used.

    And during the NBA playoffs, Smith jabbed at his old team, the New York Knicks, after his new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, advanced to the next round.

Richard Sherman

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Ah Richard Sherman, king of Twitter beefs. From the time he called Michael Crabtree a "sorry receiver" to throwing his stats at Patrick Peterson, Sherman doesn't pull punches. And he will remind anyone who cares to listen about his Super Bowl ring.

Scottie and Shaq

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    Scottie Pippen and Shaquille O'Neal engaged in a light-hearted Instagram beef recently that included more than a few haymakers.

    Shaq posed a hypothetical question to Instagram: Would an all-time Lakers team beat an all-time Bulls team? You can probably guess the arguments on each side—Pippen has more rings, Pippen played sidekick to Michael Jordan, Shaq didn't exactly excel in free-throw shooting, on and on.

    This was the best kind of shade throwing—light-hearted and funny banter between two sports megastars.

Kobe and Swaggy

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Nick Young (aka Swaggy P) is one of the few Los Angeles Lakers who seemingly has no problem throwing shade at teammate Kobe Bryant.

    Young once said he thought he could beat Bryant in a game of one-on-one. In a video posted by ESPN's SportsNation (h/t Nina Mandell of For the Win), Young said, "I probably could, but I don't want him to feel some type of way because I still have to play with him. He's still got to pass me the ball every now and then, so I'm going to say he could win but deep down I think we both know who could win."

    Unfortunately for Young, he's dealing with one of the best trash talkers in sports. At Lakers media day in September, a reporter asked Bryant, "Iggy Azalea or Swaggy P?" in reference to Young's now-fiancee.

    According to Des Bieler of the Washington Post, Bryant responded, "Iggy, she's been more successful in her career so far."

    Point: Kobe.

Ronda Rousey

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    Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    Ronda Rousey is no stranger to speaking her mind about opponents. However, her most epic shade moment might have been at the ESPYs, when she took a little revenge on Floyd Mayweather.

    After picking up the ESPY for Best Fighter, Rousey said, "I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once," according to Mitch Abramson of the Daily News. Ouch.

    She also addressed Mayweather's 2014 claim that he didn't know who Rousey was. "I'd like to see him pretend to not know who I am now."