Watch: 18 spectacular sports melt-downs

John McEnroe. The king of the hissy-fit.

John McEnroe. The king of the hissy-fit.

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Freak-outs, meltdowns, tantrums, hissy fits — call 'em what you want, but sports figures losing their cool in public is highly entertaining. From thrown chairs to ejected players, head-butts to grabbed nuts, other people's indignation never fails to draw a laugh.

Thanks to YouTube, we get to relive classic moments over and over again. That means we'll never be without John McEnroe calling a line judge a jerk, or Mike Gundy being a man who is 40, or Brian Wilson taking a bat to a Gatorade cooler in the San Francisco Giants' dugout. It's the small mercies that make being a sports fan in the digital age so worthwhile.

So, without further ado, here are 18 of the funniest sports freak-outs we could find on YouTube (presented in no particular order ... and yes, we're aware that the majority of them come from the USA. It now shall be known as the home of the sports tantrum).


* This Italian handball player instantly entered the pantheon of all-time sports meltdowns recently when he, shall we say, overreacted to a sarcastic peck from an antagonistic opponent.

* Kellen Winslow, Jr. delivers a historic rant after a controversial block when he was a star tight end at the University of Miami in 2003. His ever-so-quotable final line is pure unintentional/angry comedy gold.

* Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy was defending one of his players from negative press coverage in 2007 when he delivered this immortal quote. His full rant (Google it) actually makes some good points about media coverage of college athletes; but this mini-clip boils the speech down to its glorious essence.

* Lemme at 'em! Lemme at 'em! Milwaukee Buck Larry Sanders was ready to fight the entire Indiana Pacers team in April, running around practically the entire court in a brief fit of blind rage.

* Coaching icon and current ESPN analyst Bobby Knight's temper is the stuff of legend. This clip shows his pièce de résistance, which went down in 1985.

*Current University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari often rubs people the wrong way. Never was that more evident than during this 1994 press conference, when rival coach John Chaney had to be restrained from physical violence. Among Chaney's best quotes from the tiff: "I'll kill you," "I'm gonna kick your ass" and something about his kids hitting Calipari's kids in the mouth.

* You know a podium meltdown is pretty solid when it inspires its own commercial. Here's Dennis Green's 2006 rant following a bad loss by his Arizona Cardinals to the Chicago Bears. It was later recut as part of a Coors Light ad and goes down as one of the all-time podium tirades, sports or otherwise.

* Former tennis star John McEnroe has put together as impressive a body of whiney mid-match tantrums as anybody out there. Here's just one of his many gems.

* This McEnroe meltdown may be even better because of his stylin' outfit and hair. The petulance! The indignation! A true artist is at work here, and the only hissy-fitter to earn two spots on this list.

* Former New York Met Wally Backman was managing the minor league South Georgia Peanuts (what a name, right?) when he threw this major league fit. The remarkable audio quality, his giggling dugout and his final line really make for an astonishing performance.

* Backman's meltdown may set a high bar for NSFW language, but Atlanta Braves minor league manager Phillip Wellman had him beat on creativity points. Without a doubt, the best part is his military crawl toward the pitcher's mound and subsequent grenade toss of the rosin bag.

* Skip to the 2:05 mark of this video. That's when Brian Wilson — the San Francisco Giants great, weird and downright Galifinakian closer — narrates one of his better dugout freak-outs.

* Jim Rome is a douche, and sometimes douches have to be called out. In 1994, NFL quarterback Jim Everett was just the man for the job. Appearing on Rome's ESPN2 show, Everett charged and tackled the pundit after Rome insisted on calling him "Chris" Everett, referring to the female tennis player, Chris Evert.

* Jim Playfair, coaching a Canadian minor league hockey club, loses all control in this hilarious clip. One anchorman in this video compares the performance to WWF legend Hulk Hogan, and we find that to be apt analysis.