Russell Westbrook’s clash with a reporter following the Thunder’s playoff loss on Sunday got a lot of attention, but it in reality, it was pretty benign when you consider the history of athlete-reporter confrontations.
There have been tons of memorable fights between sports figures and media members, but here are 10 that standout for their awkwardness and aggressiveness. Hit us up with your personal favorites on Twitter.
1. Deion Sanders vs. Tim McCarver: The Braves outfielder and Falcons cornerback was not happy with the then-CBS analyst for criticizing him for playing in an NFL game on the same day the Braves had a playoff game. After Atlanta won Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS against Pittsburgh, Sanders went after McCarver during the celebration, dumping buckets of cold water on him four times.
2. Bobby Knight vs. Jeremy Schaap: This entire list could feature clips of Knight, one of the biggest bullies in the history of sports. We like this one, though, because Schaap refused to bow down to the blowhard during an interview, even after Knight dragged Jeremy’s father, Dick, into the exchange.
3. Pete Rose vs. Jim Gray: The NBC sideline reporter went all Walter Cronkite on Rose during Game 2 of the 1999 World Series when Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team was announced. Instead of asking Rose about the ceremony, he focused all his questions about The Hit King’s ban from baseball and history of gambling issues. Rose grew frustrated with the line of questioning and let Gray know how he felt.
4. Derek Anderson vs. Kent Somers: Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson was NOT happy when the Arizona Republic reporter asked him about laughing on the sidelines during a 27-6 Monday Night Football loss in 2010.
5. Floyd Mayweather vs. Larry Merchant: Shortly after Mayweather disposed of Victor Ortiz in a 2011 bout, the real fight happened. Mayweather was not happy that the HBO boxing guru questioned him over a cheap shot and took some shots at Merchant. However, the veteran broadcaster didn’t miss a beat, telling the boxer, “I wish I was 50 years younger and I'd kick your ass!"
6. Michael Strahan vs. Kelly Naqi: Before he was coming into your homes every morning on Live with Michael and Kelly and Good Morning America, the Giants defensive end had a serious manners problem: He chewed with his mouth full of food. Strahan did this while trying to bully and intimidate ESPN reporter, Kelly Naqi, who questioned Strahan about saying a teammate had quit on a play during the 2006 season.
7. Hal McRae vs. Everybody: The Royals manager was not happy with questions from the media after a 1993 loss. The result? Tape recorders flying everywhere.
8. Mike Gundy vs. Jenni Carlson: The Oklahoma State coach snapped after a 2007 win because the Daily Oklahoman columnist had written a piece critical of junior quarterback Bobby Reid, who had been benched prior to the game.
9. Tommy Lasorda vs. Paul Olden: In a 1978 game, Cubs slugger Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in eight in a 15-inning win against the Dodgers. After the game, the radio reporter asked the Los Angeles skipper what he thought of Kingman’s performance. Then, all hell broke loose.
10. Vince McMahon vs. Bob Costas: When the HBO host asked the WWE owner about his company’s racy content during the “Attitude Era” in 2001, things got ugly, with McMahon putting his finger in Costas’ face and telling him to shut his mouth.