In a profession where high stakes competition and pressure are as much a part of the job description as catching passes or dunking basketballs, talking smack becomes inevitable. Athletes use any and every advantage available to them, and gaining a mental edge can prove deadly in the heat of battle. That's why notorious smack talkers are so hated—their opponents know if they aren't careful, they'll lose their focus and their edge. But sometimes, the talking can backfire. Big time. Because smack talk only works if you can back it up; otherwise, you're left looking like a fool. Here are seven of those instances.
West Virginia's Daxter Miles Comes At Kentucky . . . and Loses
It's best not to wake a sleeping giant, though anyone who watched Kentucky's men's basketball team trounce all comers during their regular season on their way to a perfect 34-0 record could say their eyes were shut. Nevertheless, West Virginia freshman Daxter Miles Jr., clearly still on a high from the Mountaineers' victory over Maryland in the previous round, poked the Big Blue wildcat with some bold comments ahead of the two teams' Sweet Sixteen matchup.
"Salute to them to getting to 36-0, but tomorrow they're going to be 36-1," Miles said.
He continued: "To me, they don't play hard. They don't play as hard as we play. Nobody is invincible, so their time will come, and I think we're going to pull it out."
The game happened, and Daxter probably should have stayed in the locker room. His final stats: 0 points and one rebound in 19 minutes. Yikes. Kentucky, who led 44-18 at the half, won the game by 39 points. Something tells me we won't be hearing Miles's name again for a long, long time.
Freddie Mitchell Calls Out New England's Cornerbacks
In the week leading up to Super Bowl XL in 2005, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, known for his mouth more than his ball skills, took aim at the New England Patriots' vaunted secondary. After informing the media that he couldn't actually name any of the Patriots cornerbacks, Mitchell told All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison that "I've got something for him."
During the Super Bowl, Mitchell caught exactly one pass for a whopping 11 yards. Rodney Harrison intercepted Eagles QB Donovan McNabb twice.
At least Mitchell will always have his cornrows.
Rasheed Wallace's Playoff Prediction Goes Terribly Wrong
With his Detroit Pistons up 2-1 in their 2006 NBA Playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit forward and talking head Rasheed Wallace felt the need to give the Cavs, an overwhelming underdog, some extra motivation.
Not only did the man affectionately called Sheed guarantee that the Pistons would win Game 4, he informed Clevelanders that the series would not be returning to Quicken Loans Arena, despite the face that a man by the name of LeBron James played for the home team.
"I know we're going to win it," said Wallace. "We're going to bust their [butts]. Tomorrow night is the last game here in this building for this year."
The Cavs weren't having it. They dispatched the Pistons in Game 4 to tie the series at 2 and guarantee a return to downtown Cleveland, then shocked everyone by winning Game 5 in Detroit. The Pistons ultimately won the series in seven games, but Sheed's claim would go down as one of the worst in sports history.
Chad Johnson Makes Cleveland Browns DBs Sick
Ahead of the Cleveland Browns' 2004 matchup with instate rival Cincinnati, Bengals wideout Chad Johnson, known for his end zone shenanigans and his way with words, sent some FedEx packages to the Browns' defensive backs. Each box contained a personal note and some Pepto Bismol.
"I sent all the Browns DBs some Pepto Bismol, to cure them of their sickness," Johnson said. "They're going to get tired of covering me."
Those bottles sat full in the lockers of Daylon Mccuthceon, Earl Little, Robert Griffith and Anthony Henry, as the Browns held Johnson to three catches for 37 yards and pounded the Bengals, 34-17.
Mike Tyson Goes Crazy on Lennox Lewis, Gets Knocked Out
What might be the most infamous soundbite of Mike Tyson's career ended in a knockout. Boxers have always spoken in hyperbole, but Tyson's boasts ahead of his 2002 fight with Lennox Lewis took smack talk to new heights.
"My style is impetuous," said Iron Mike. "My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!"
Um, say what?
Lewis wasn't fazed by Tyson's maniacal rant and knocked him out in the eighth round. Guess the child eating will happen on another day.
Matt Hasselbeck Guarantees Victory Over Green Bay
In one of the most epic smack talk fails of all time, Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck got caught up in the moment when his team went into overtime against the Green Bay Packers during their Wild Card playoff matchup in 2004.
After winning the toss, Hasselbeck announced to the Lambeau Field crowd: "We want the ball, and we're going to score."
Someone did score, but it wasn't the Seahawks. On the sixth play of Seattle's second drive of overtime, Hasselbeck threw an interception and Al Harris returned it 52 yards to the house for the win. Hasselbeck would go into hiding for six months.
Greg Little Takes Pot Shots at the Browns
Enigmatic wide receiver Greg Little, after an up-and-down stint with the Cleveland Browns, in which he seemingly dropped more balls than he hauled in, caught on with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Though he'd barely seen the field ahead of the Bengals' primetime matchup against the Browns on Thursday Night Football last season, Little felt the need to spew venom at the entire Browns organization.
"Everything about this game is personal for me and I'm going to treat it that way," Little said. "Somebody has to pay."
That someone was not the Browns, as the Bengals were crushed, while Little put up the depressing stat line of one catch for 8 yards. Perhaps he was talking about a past due bill that he owed?
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