Rihanna Versus Sports: The Thirst Strikes Back

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2015

Rihanna Versus Sports: The Thirst Strikes Back

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Rihanna may not be dating Memphis Grizzlies baller Matt Barnes, but she does have an up-close-and-personal relationship with the sports world. And we love it.

    Like any relationship, there are arguments, disagreements and the like. Today, we're going blow by blow through Rihanna's rich history of sports conflicts and deciding who can be called the "winner."

    (Hint: It's Rihanna.)

    From playful pranks to full-blows feuds, the lesson here is clear. Don't mess with RiRi. 

Rihanna vs. Floyd Mayweather

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    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Rihanna is bold, likes to laugh and likes to have fun—that's the impression she gives off, anyway. Producers at the BET Awards took advantage of that in June and had her perform a little stunt with Floyd Mayweather.

    Seated next to the champion boxer, Rihanna duct-taped his mouth shut on air. She pulled it off brilliantly—and hilariously. 

Rihanna vs. Carmelo Anthony

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    This wasn't so much an all-out battle as a harmless staredown. At the 2014 Met Gala, someone thankfully captured this photo of Rihanna with New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony lurking in the background. Look at him back there, Creepy McCreep.

    OK—maybe he wasn't creeping. Still, if the question is who wins in a smoldering eye-staring contest, guess what. It's RiRi.

Rihanna vs. Jeff Van Gundy

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    As you're probably aware, Rihanna loves to attend NBA games. Back during the 2014 playoffs, the singer was at Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals, and ESPN announcer Jeff Van Gundy mentioned her during a broadcast. In fact, he joked she might be stalking him. (He wishes.)

    Later, sideline reporter Lisa Salters asked Rihanna about the comment, and our girl RiRi revealed she didn't exactly know who Van Gundy was. (Ouch.) It sounds like it was all in good fun, though.

    Point: Rihanna.  

Rihanna vs. USMNT

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    GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

    To be fair, Rihanna is from Barbados, so it's not as if she needs to root for the U.S. in all sports, all the time. Still, she was pretty vocal about not cheering for the U.S. men's national soccer team during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    She tweeted a lot during the tournament, mainly supporting eventual champion Germany. She celebrated with them after the big W, too.

    Not everyone was thrilled about it, but, hey, girl does what she wants. 

Rihanna vs. Joe Lacob

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Rihanna attended Game 1 of this year's NBA Finals in Oakland, like she normally does. At first, she was spotted sitting right next to the Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob.

    Word is, Lacob got fed up with RiRi's not-so-shy cheering for one LeBron James and switched seats.

    The Warriors won the game, and the series, but Rihanna still wins at life.

Rihanna vs. Curry

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    Speaking of the 2015 NBA Finals, Rihanna made it perfectly clear who she was rooting for, and as Joe Lacob found out, it wasn't Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. 

    She posted this photo to Instagram and captained it, in part, "#itsaKINGJamesDay #sentbackmycurry."

Rihanna vs. Lolo Jones

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    Rachel Murray/Getty Images

    Rihanna didn't even have to get directly involved in this spat. A little background:  

    • It's no secret that Rihanna has a history of dating athletes.
    • She has also been linked to rapper Drake.
    • Drake hosted the 2014 ESPYs.

    Got it? Good.

    So, Olympian Lolo Jones decided to send out this tweet leading up to the awards show:

    It's amazing that Drake is hosting the @Espys but it's gonna be tough for him to hand out all those awards to Rihanna's ex boyfriends

    — Lolo Jones (@lolojones) April 10, 2014

    The Internet rushed to Rihanna’s defense, and to say Jones got ripped apart would be an understatement.

Rihanna vs. CBS

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    In September 2014, CBS made some changes to the Thursday Night Football broadcast in response to the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal. One change included pulling Rihanna's song "Run This Town" from the opening.

    Richard Deitsch of SI.com reported CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said, "We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage. A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone."

    Rihanna, however, did not take kindly to the news. She tweeted her frustration, and let's just say it was NSFW.

Rihanna vs. Matt Barnes

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    Matt Barnes is one of the latest athletes to get swept up in Rihanna rumors. In fact, according to what a friend of his told TMZ recently, the NBA forward and singer have been on a couple of dates. Barnes didn't exactly deny it.

    But Rihanna did. Oh did she deny it. RiRi took to her Instagram and called Barnes out, claiming she has never even met him. 

    Barnes was asked about the whole thing on The Jim Rome Show not long after, and here is what he had to say: "I'm too grown to lie, you know what I mean. It is what it is, I'm going to let this blow by like everything else blows by."

    Whether they know each other or not isn't really the point. The point is don't mess with Rihanna.

Rihanna vs. J.R. Smith

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    J.R. Smith and Rihanna reportedly dated for a minute in 2012, but a year later, things turned in the feud direction. In May 2013, Smith was struggling through a playoff series with the New York Knicks, and Rihanna posted an Instagram comment suggesting his poor play was due to a hangover.

    Fast forward to July 2014. Smith appeared to call Rihanna a bandwagon Miami Heat fan with this Instagram post.

    Fast forward again to January 2015. Smith posted some more photos of RiRi to Instagram, this time accompanied by lovey-dovey quotes. Sure, that doesn't sound very feud-like, but one of the photos also featured Rihanna's ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. It was just weird.

    Two-plus years after Rihanna's "hangover" comment, and Smith is still bringing her up on using social media. Come to think of it, the feud seems pretty one-sided these days.