Besides the thrill of competition, one of the beautiful things about sports is watching the characters who inhabit the field of play. Marshawn Lynch isn’t just a wrecking ball of a running back; he also enjoys Skittles and riding around on golf carts. Chris Bosh isn’t just a tremendous jump shooter, he’s also a pristine photo-bomber. These personalities draw us even closer to the sports we love, even as some of them annoy the living heck out of us. If everyone was as nice and polite as Tim Duncan, we would never appreciate him. Guys like J.R. Smith and Cortland Finnegan add spice to the world of sports, which would be more mundane without them. So without further ado, here are the nine most obnoxious athletes in sports.
He’ll quietly untie your shoelace at the free-throw line like some sort of tennis shoe ninja, then get fined by the NBA because he can’t stop. He’ll pull your gross, sweaty headband down over your eyes without apologizing. He’ll jack up a 3-pointer just because he’s got an inch of room, even if it’s at the worst possible time. He isn’t the most interesting man in the world. He’s just J.R. Smith, possibly the most obnoxious basketball player on the planet.
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If you don’t like having your ear blown into softly during a game, don’t get on the basketball court with Lance Stephenson. The Indiana Pacer guard’s antics have been going on all year. He reportedly got into a fight with Evan Turner early in the playoffs, but a national audience caught his on-court flirtation with LeBron James during the Eastern Conference Finals. He poked, prodded and drove James to the point of insanity, so much so that Pacers president Larry Bird had to put him in timeout. At least we’ll always have this meme.
His Twitter handle is CarmBombBoom13, so we’re already off to a great start with this guy. After announcing that he would be involved in the first fight at the 2010 Winter Classic, Carcillo promptly threw down with the Boston Bruins’ Shawn Thornton. Referred to as an “agitator” on the ice, Carcillo was recently suspended for six games for shoving a lineman while being restrained during a fight. He was hit with a seven-game suspension in 2012 for slamming Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert into the boards. Throw some inappropriate tweeting into the mix, and Carcillo is the NHL’s ultimate goon.
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As good a ballplayer as Yasiel Puig is (and he’s really, really good), he’s quite deft at making otherwise patient men lose their temper. He’ll drop a routine fly ball out of pure laziness, but then throw out the runner going from first to second with his robot arm. He’ll knock an RBI-single, then, for reasons only know to Puig, try to stretch it into a double and be thrown out by the length of the Titanic. He’ll show up late to his team’s home opener. He’ll emphatically flip his bat into the air after blasting a home run, like he just hit a walk-off grand slam to win the World Series. Puig cares not for baseball and its traditions. He just does his own thing.
DeSean Jackson is good at football, and he’ll be sure to let you know it. Whether getting flagged for tossing the ball at his opponent’s bench after a big play or slowing down at the goal line to taunt defenders before he falls into the end zone, Jackson wants to make sure everyone in whatever stadium he’s in knows he can do any damn thing. Just make sure you hold on to the ball, DeSean.
If a third baseman applying a tag is enough to set Manny Machado off, how would he react to, say, getting tickled for five minutes straight? We don’t even want to know. Machado’s hot-headedness reached nonsensical levels during the Baltimore Orioles’ series against the Oakland Athletics last week, culminating in Machado intentionally launching his bat toward the third base area after swinging and missing at a pitch, clearing both benches. Take a chill pill, man.
Though the usually loquacious Perez has been mostly silent this season, the former Cleveland Indians closer said enough in the past few seasons to live on this list for life. Whether shouting obscenities at fans, chastising them for not coming out to the ballpark or ordering illegal drugs to his house under his dog’s name, Perez knows how to make enemies out of almost every single person not wearing the same uniform as him. I mean framing your dog for drugs? Come on, bro.
He talks. A lot. He’ll go on fairly racist rants after winning a fight. He’ll boast about stealing your girlfriend. He’ll wear socks with his own face on them during a fight. And in an attempt to show you just how filthy rich he truly is, the boxer will post a video of himself flushing a stack of money down the toilet, because when you have too much money, you tend to do insane things.
If you’re a wide receiver lined up across from Cortland Finnegan, there is a 97 percent chance you’ll want to punch him in the face by the end of the game. The pesky cornerback is the king of getting underneath an opponent’s skin, pummeling wide receivers to the ground for no reason, getting extracurricular to draw a frustration penalty and getting one of the most laid back players in the game to throw hands. Finnegan lives to annoy you, like that fly in your house that you spend the entire afternoon swatting at and missing because it always remains just out of reach.