15 Best Heckling Moments in Sports
The world of sports is a dynamic industry and you will meet different types of people that enjoy sports. There are different types of sports personalities. There is the statistics guy that can run the numbers of a team and player like a computer. There is the inside man who seems to have the scoop on the behind the scenes information of teams and their respective leagues. Then you have the heckler. The heckler is the guy who makes it his mission to insult, distract and verbally attack players and teams whenever he can. Being a heckler can go two ways. You can be such an annoyance to your target that you get a reaction out of them and take them off their game or you can be hated by everyone around you. To be a successful heckler there is much preparation and research that needs to be done so you can have an outcome like some of these stories.
Teammates Heckle Too Golf is not an ideal sport for heckling. It is one of the most quiet sports ever played. There are more rules for the crowd than the players and vigilant officials make sure everyone is in compliance to these rules. That’s what makes this case of heckling interesting. Not all heckling involves verbal abuse. During the 2014 Phoenix Open, Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill found out heckling can be strictly visual. Hill was playing in the pro-am portion of the tournament with American golf pro, Billy Horschel when a group of his Diamondback teammates arrived at the course waving giant Fathead posters featuring his face. That can be pretty distracting
Duke Speedo Guy College students make some of the best hecklers. If your school has a decent sports program, then you may know a guy that lives to torture the opposing team. In 2003, the sports world was introduced to Duke University’s, Speedo Guy. During the rival basketball game against the North Carolina Tar Heel’s, Patrick King, in a brilliant, but disturbing display, stripped down to an all blue speedo to successfully distract Jackie Manuel from making his two free throw attempts leading the Duke Blue Devil’s to a victory.
Rex Ryan Curses at Heckler The best hecklers aren’t always the loudest person or the person with the most to say. A good heckler knows what to say, when to say it, and who to say it to, to get a reaction. Hecklers also don’t have to heckle just the opposing team. This heckler is a perfect example of getting under the skin of someone on his own team. A Jets fan yelled out to Rex Ryan, “Belichick is better than you.” That simple comment seemed effective enough to get Ryan’s blood boiling as he responded with a prompt, “F**k you.”
Heckler Legend Robin Ficker There are good players, great players and legendary players. A legendary player is so skilled that their presence changes the way a sport is played. The NBA had to change its free throw rules after Wilt Chamberlain started dunking his foul shots from the line. The NBA also had to adapt to Robin Ficker. Robin Ficker was not a player but a legendary heckler. A lifelong Washington Bullets fan, Ficker spent every Bullets home game between the years 1985 and 1997 working his way into the opponents heads by sitting behind the away teams bench and reading passages from players’ and coaches’ biographies, and generally driving opponents crazy. The league eventually had to institute a new rule forbidding fans from engaging in “verbal abuse that interferes with communication between coaches and players.”
Dwight Howard Reacts to Heckler The ultimate goal for a heckler is to get a big reaction out of a player. In order to do this , hecklers have to know what buttons to push. That means some research has to be done. A simple “you suck” doesn’t have as much impact as a jab to a players personal life. This method was used to a devastating effect on Dwight Howard in 2013 by a Dallas Mavericks fan. It’s unclear what the man said, but whatever it was hit Howard’s soft spot and made the big man throw the ball at the fan.
The “Juice” Doctor Will See You Now Alberto Contador is pretty much the only cyclist that is more disliked than Lance Armstrong. In 2010, Contador was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title after testing positive for performance enhancement drugs and served a one year suspension from professional cycling. Contador made his big return to the grand tour scene at the 2012 Tour de France and was greeted with a not so welcoming response by many cycling fans. One fan saw this as an opportunity to get under Contador’s skin by dressing as a doctor and offering him a drink that looked like steroids. Contador, obviously wasn’t a huge fan of the gesture.
The Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society A great moment in heckling history is the formation of the Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society. The SASHS was a group of men who dedicated their existence to heckling Stephen A. Smith. It is a unique scenario because Smith is a sports broadcaster and not an athlete. The SASHS has since retired, but during their three year reign, they’ve managed to attend multiple NBA Drafts and turned each one into a stage for trash talking, usually at the expense of Stephen A. Smith.
The Duncan Keith Heckler There is an art to pissing off professional athletes. It makes it even better when the athlete is a high profile player with a lot of money. A Nashville Predators fan used a bit of contractual sports knowledge to hash out Duncan Keith’s financial situation while the Blackhawks player sat in the penalty box. While Duncan Keith was out of the game, the heckler approached with a condescending remark. “You make $72 million? You’re sitting on the bench!” Keith responded by throwing Gatorade over the glass and hit the heckler in the face.
Pissed Off Joe Girardi Baseball team managers are not always the friendliest people to encounter, especially after a big loss. Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi was in no mood for the in antics in 2012 when the White Sox finished a three game sweep of the Bronx Bombers. This was the perfect time for a White Sox fans to rub it in Girardi’s face during the post game press conference. Girardi briefly left the reporters and went after the heckler, but security got to him first, escorting him away from the area.
Spike Lee Another legendary heckler is famous film director Spike Lee. Spike is an avid fan of the New York Knicks. A game at Madison Square Garden is not complete without Spike Lee sitting court side. If he isn’t jawing with one of the players on the opposing team, he’s busy standing up with his arms flailing around in excitement. One of his greatest heckling moments happened in 1994 during the NBA playoffs. The Knicks and the Pacers were playing smash mouth basketball and Spike Lee was going at it with Reggie Miller from the sideline. The Knicks were winning and Spike was letting Miller have it, verbally. The heckling only fueled the Pacer’s star player, as Miller made eight points in the last 18.7 seconds of the game leading the Pacer’s to a comeback victory, and leaving Spike Lee shocked and speechless.
Vancouver Canucks Green Men The Vancouver Canucks Green Men used green body suits to create their page in the hecklers history book. Adam “Force” Forsyth and Ryan “Sully” Sullivan are two friends that have been attending Canucks home games since December 2009. The two men had ordered their suits with the initial plan of wearing them to a Seattle Seahawks game, but a delay in shipping caused the outfits to show up late. Instead of saving them for another day, they decided to head out to a Vancouver Canucks game. These guys took advantage of the opportunity by taunting players in the penalty box by putting up signs, dancing and doing handstands against the glass.
Tony Gwynn Jr.’s Talking Glove Athletes deal with hecklers all the time and many of them have found a way to tune them out. Other athletes lean in to the heckling and sometimes turn the tables. Tony Gwynn Jr. has always received a lot of critisim for not being as good of a baseball player as his father, but he seems to deal with it well. While in the outfield during a game, a heckler was spewing verbal abuse towards Tony Gwynn jr. Instead of lashing out or ignoring the comments, Gwynn put his glove behind his back and would move it in a talking motion every time the heckler said something. The fans got a kick out of his “talking glove” routine and the heckler was pissed off.
Heckling Causes Fights Here is a case where heckling crossed the line. If you are going to participate in the art of heckling you must understand you put your self at risk of being attacked by whoever you are heckling, especially if you go past verbal taunting. Detroit Pistons fans learned that the hard way during a game against the Indiana Pacers. Ron Artest who was on the Pacers at the time stormed into the crowd and began swinging on a fan that threw a cup of beer at him. The fight became known as The Malice at the Palace and is one of the more shameful moments of the NBA.
Heckler Claim’s Sizemore Impregnated His Sister
Grady Sizemore was a player for the Cleveland Indians five years ago. While at bat a guy sitting behind the catcher yelled out “Hey Sizemore my sister told me she’s pregnant,” which makes most people believe that Sizemore had sex with his sister. If that is true, that is a devastating way to find out you have a child on the way. This heckler gets points for being creative and it was effective as Sizemore struck out. The commentators got a a good laugh out of it.
The Philly Phantic The Phanatic is baseball’s funniest baseball mascot. He has been known to terrorize opposing team players by dancing right in front of their dugouts, stomping on their helmets and destroying any type of symbol that represents their team. The Phanatic has been heckling other teams for over 30 years, and his pranks never get old.