I love sports, and I appreciate when personalities sometimes transcend the sport. Here are 12 personalities that I’ve enjoyed over the years.
1. Lou Piniella (honorable mention to Billy Martin)
I spent four years in Seattle, so I got to experience a little of Lou Piniella firsthand. This former player and baseball manager shows up on the “all time tirades” lists with his antics that included kicking dirt on the umpire and throwing first base!
He also had some great sound bites…
Statistics are like bikinis–they show a lot but not everything.
I cursed him in English and he threw me out in Spanish.
We’re fine. The only time we lose our concentration is when the umpire says, ‘Play Ball’
2. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman was a Detroit Pistons Bad Boy and Chicago Bulls forward who was a rebounding machine. He also had a thing for tattoos, wild hair colors, and wedding dresses? (photo credit http://vsb.li/m9ZZaB)
3. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq was a dominant center in the NBA for 19 years, and his poor free throw shooting lead to the Hack-A-Shaq strategy. He also had an astounding array of nicknames and is still a walking sound bite…
I’ll take 14 out of 15 any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year, any year of the century. I don’t know what comes after century.”
Our offense is like the Pythagorean Theorem. There is no answer.
But can’t nobody (mess) with me. I’m like toilet paper, Pampers and toothpaste. I’m definitely proven to be effective.
4. John McEnroe
John McEnroe was a lefty genius on the tennis court who won 7 tennis Grand Slams, and he is now a very insightful color commentator for those same Grand Slam tournaments. However, he had some of the most famous tirades of all time during his playing days. Chalk flew up…
5. Novak Djokovic
When Djokovic first entered elite status, I thought he was a gifted athlete that whined too much about not getting respect. Of course, he then goes through a historic year in 2011 with a match record of 70-6! He is a refreshing personality who likes to impersonate other tennis players. Here’s a fun video where he impersonated Maria Sharapova.
6. Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson is definitely making a mint on that beard of his. Here’s a great SportsCenter clip – Fear the Beard.
7. Chris Berman
Chris Berman set the tone for a lot of the great ESPN announcers (in fact, the current ones do not carry off the same personality). He is known for coming up with nicknames for athletes. Do any of your favorite players show up on this nickname list?
8. Mike Ditka
Iron Mike Ditka…Da Coach…now those are strong nicknames! Ditka embodied Chicago Bears football, and the NFL Films special on him really captures him as both a player and a coach. Saturday Night Live had a long-running skit dedicated to him, and he is also known for some great quotes:
If God had wanted man to play soccer, He wouldn’t have given us arms.
We have a strange and wonderful relationship – he’s strange and I’m wonderful.
What’s the difference between a 3-week-old puppy and a sportswriter? In 6 weeks, the puppy will stop whining.
9. Charles Barkley
Even though Charles Barkley is a retired basketball player, I slipped him into the football section because he is bigger than an NFL offensive lineman! I liked Barkley as the “round mound of rebound” when he was a player, but I get an even bigger kick out of his antics on Inside the NBA. He is also immensely quotable, and one of my favorites happened before he raced the ancient referee Dick Bavetta: I have nothing against old people; I want to be one myself one day.
10. Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis was a great running back before getting hampered with injuries. However, he always wears costumes in interviews. He definitely brings a lot of flavor! Which costume would you pick out of this video?
11. Jim McMahon
That 1985 Chicago Bear team had some great personalities in their prime, and Jim McMahon was just the type of strong-willed quarterback to stand-up to Mike Ditka. He was the Punky QB with the sunglasses and the headband. The NFL commissioner at the time, Pete Rozelle, once fined McMahon for wearing a headband without an official NFL logo. McMahon used a Sharpie to put “Rozelle” on the headband he rebelliously wore the next week! Here’s a great McMahon quote for business: Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking.
12. William “The Refrigerator” Perry
Keeping with the personalities of that special 1985 Chicago Bear team, I will end this list with William “The Refrigerator” Perry. He had so much personality and marketability that he created a music video:
So who would you add to this list? I would love to have somebody speak up for hockey, NASCAR, soccer or perhaps an obscure or Olympic sport! Here are the notables that did not make my short list: Joe Namath, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson (Ochocinco), Ron Artest, Gilbert Arenas and Mike Tyson.
Featured image courtesy of mag3737 via Creative Commons.
I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am very excited about our Pulse Analytics SaaS social media monitoring solution for measuring consumer sentiment and supporting social engagement. I enjoy teaching and coaching. I graduated UT-Austin.
@AmyMccTobin Have to agree with Manny....I was a fan the first time I saw him get thrown out at 2nd and as the ball boy ran his glove out to him he also gave Manny a can of Red Bull which was promptly chugged!
@dbvickery@kevjkirkpatrick My all time favorite was when the pitcher (I think Derek Lowe) turned around and there was NO left fielder because Manny was inside the Monster taking a pee. During the game.
I saw Lou throw a bat into the dugout at Earl Weaver when I was a kid. He was just a wild man. I'd like to toss Chi Chi Rodriguez's name out there. The 'Zorro' move when he'd sink a putt was priceless. Rick Dempsey also a character. His rain delay schtick was a riot.